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Course Description:

In this fast-paced course we will read and encounter and discuss a great range of modern and contemporary U.S. poets working in the ""experimental mode,"" starting with the 19th-century proto-modernists Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman and ending with 21st-century conceptual poetics. Aside from providing a perhaps handy or helpful survey and chronology of 20th- and 21st-century poetry, this course offers a way of understanding general cultural transitions from modernism to postmodernism. Some people may wish to enroll as much to gain an understanding of the modernism/postmodernism problem through a study of poetry as to gain access to the work of these many poets. Participants do not need to have any prior knowledge of poetry or poetics. The instructor, Al Filreis, rarely lectures, and frequently calls for ""the end of the lecture as we know it""; instead, most of the video-recorded lessons will consist of collaborative close readings led by Filreis, seminar-style -- offering models or samples of readers' interpretations of these knotty but powerful poems, aided by the poetry-minded denizens of the Kelly Writers House on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania.

In-course Textbooks

As a student enrolled in this course, you will have free access to selected chapters and content for the duration of the course. All chapters were selected by the instructor specifically for this course. You will be able to access the Coursera edition of the e-textbook via an e-reader in the class site hosted by Chegg. If you click on “Buy this book”, you will be able to purchase the full version of the textbook, rather than the limited chapter selection in the Coursera edition. This initiative is made possible by Coursera’s collaboration with textbook publishers and Chegg.

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Course Reviews (18)
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Carol Stephen

November 14, 2013

A fantastic experience! The teaching staff are so supportive and somehow manage individual attention to the students which would seem impossible given the number of participants. The material is well presented with lively discussion videos and high-activity discussion forums. Just an all-round in depth course, that was so good first time I took it a second time as well!

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Ellen Dillon

June 25, 2013

Modpo has changed my life, and continues to do so. It was the first, and still the best, MOOC I participated in, and this can be attributed to several factors. Firstly, the course videos are based on group readings of the poems with Prof. Al and the TAs. This format is so much more interactive than traditional lectures and 'opens up' the poems in a way that a single reading by a single lecturer could not. Secondly, Prof Filreis and the TAs seemed to be constantly present on the discussion forums, ironing out misunderstandings and encouraging students to develop their ideas to an extent that I, for one, never experienced in a more 'traditional' educational setting. Finally, the students were drawn in their thousands from all over the world, united by their shared passion for poetry. Even now, seven months after Modpo 1 'ended', many of us are still active on the FB page and the forums, sharing the poems we love and continuing discussions begun back in September. Modpo's a life-changer. In a good way.

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