Poem Sampler

Modern Poetry with Al Filreis

The most popular poetry MOOC is up and running again.
By The Editors

Four years ago, Elliot Holt wrote an article on her experiences taking Al Filreis's massive open online course (or MOOC) on Modern & Contemporary American Poetry. Now the 10-week ModPo starts again on September 10th, 2016 on Coursera. 

The instructor, Al Filreis, might be familiar to Poetry Foundation listeners and readers as the host of Poem Talk. Filreis, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, espouses “the end of the lecture as we know it.” ModPo relies on collaborative close readings led by Filreis, seminar-style. The course, which has drawn over 40,000 participants thus far, also uses the Poetry Foundation's archive of poems and poets. 

ModPo has been created to test the proposition that there is poetic wisdom in crowds: that “collaborative close readings involving thousands of people can produce fresh interpretations of open-ended poems, and that a humanities MOOC need not be impersonal,” says Filreis. Watch this video for a taste, and click here to learn more and register.

The readings will focus on 20th century American poems, with an emphasis on poets working in the experimental mode. You can read a sampling here: 

Tell all the Truth but tell it slant” by Emily Dickinson

Danse Russe” by William Carlos Williams

Poets' work” by Lorine Niedecker

 “If We Must Die” by Claude McKay

A Supermarket in California” by Allen Ginsberg

Sea Poppies” by H.D.

truth” by Gwendolyn Brooks

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” by Wallace Stevens

If I Told Him: A Completed Portrait of Picasso” by Gertrude Stein

Incident” by Amiri Baraka

Howl” by Allen Ginsberg

I Know a Man” by Robert Creeley

Nude Descending a Staircase” by  X.J. Kennedy

Vase Poppies” by Jennifer Scappettone

Not a Cage” by Joan Retallack



Originally Published: September 4th, 2014