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Massachusetts universities offer Taylor Swift courses for Swifties to learn more about writing

Students at Harvard and Northeastern take Taylor Swift courses to learn more about writing
Students at Harvard and Northeastern take Taylor Swift courses to learn more about writing 02:26

CAMBRIDGE - Students at Harvard University and Northeastern University are taking classes in Taylor Swift that introduce them to poetry and improve their writing skills.

Taylor Swift dropped her new album, The Tortured Poets Department, early Friday morning and among those staying up were students in a Harvard University class dedicated to her music.

"We were losing our minds! I wish I could express to you the excitement in the room," said Harvard senior Mary Pankowski. "She's just a worldwide phenomenon."

Connecting Swift's lyrics to poetry

Pankowski attended the listening party as part of her class, Taylor Swift in Her World. The English course focuses on her songs, connecting them to other poets and novels.

"The way that Taylor connects with her fans is something that I really appreciated," said Pankowski. "We've talked a lot about how she is both relatable and aspirational in her music."

Harvard professor Stephanie Burt, who teaches the class, said when it was introduced back in October, more than 200 students signed up for it.

"More poets and novels and songs that they admire and think about they wouldn't have discovered," said Burt, describing the impact of the class on the students. "And a greater, deeper appreciation for what Taylor's doing as an artist."

Writing personal narratives inspired by Swift's music

At Northeastern University, professor Catherine Fairfield said her Swift class attracted 500 students this year. She plans to teach another this summer, called "Blank Space."

"We are focusing on how to write personal narratives by getting inspired by Taylor Swift's songwriting," said Fairfield.

For Pankowski, attending Swift's Eras tour and being surrounded by her classmates for the release of her new album are some of her greatest college experiences.

"On Monday, we are going to have so much to unpack," said Pankowski. "I'm really happy that this class got offered in my last semester. I would've been so sad if I graduated and didn't get to take it."

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