July 24, 2020

The last time we mentioned PoemTalk, the podcast series had just posted episode 103.

Closely associated with Kelly Writers House, PennSound, and Jacket2 magazine, PoemTalk episodes “get willing, engaged people together and ask them to talk about one poem, and see what magic happens. The poem provides magic (if chosen well, but even often if not) and the people — mostly the people — augment the magic. You never know where the conversation will go.”

Today’s episode, number 150, brings together Simone White, Dixon Li, Jo Park, and Al Filreis to discuss two poems by Terrance Hayes, “MJ Fan Letter” and “RSVP,” from his book Wind in a Box (2006).

All 150 episodes of PoemTalk are available, free, on Jacket2 and on iTunes.

meanwhile at ModPo

April 6, 2020

We’re huge fans of Modern and Contemporary American Poetry (ModPo), the massive open online course (MOOC) offered free each year through Coursera. The ten-week intensive begins each September and tens of thousands of people participate, many taking it over and over.

Perhaps you’re one of the people who has considered enrolling but just couldn’t jam in another commitment in the fall. Well, here’s some good news from instructor Al Filreis (italics added for emphasis):

The course site is open every day, all year. Come in and read some poems, watch our videos about those poems, and join the conversation in the discussion forums. You need not wait until September 5, 2020, to be part of ModPo 2020. However, please do note that starting on September 5, and running for ten weeks thereafter, we will all together move through the syllabus during what we call our annual “symposium mode.” That mode features daily office hours held by TAs, super-lively discussion forums, in-person meet-ups in various locations, and weekly live interactive webcasts on Wednesdays.

To clarify: our annual 10-week symposium mode is what our friends at Coursera think of as “a course.” But — again to clarify — ModPo is unusual in that it is an ongoing open session. Once you “enroll” you are with us, unless you un-enroll, season after season, year after year. Our syllabus expands constantly and there are always new poems and new videos to read and watch. So please stay with us!

Sign up. Your poetry may never be the same!

starting soon!

August 30, 2019

We’ve mentioned Modern & Contemporary U.S. Poetry (aka ModPo) many times before. A free Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), ModPo is a ten-week intensive that includes panel discussions, videos, reading, and, if desired, writing assignments. While course activities happen on a schedule, all of the materials remain available throughout the year, so it is entirely self-paced.

The next live 10-week session of ModPo will begin on Saturday, September 7, 2019, and will conclude on November 18, 2019. Find out more, review the syllabus, and sign up.

starting soon!

September 6, 2017

Here at The Poetry Department, we’re big fans of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), and of Modern & Contemporary American Poetry (“ModPo”) in particular. This ten-week, FREE, interactive, online poetry course is demanding and rewarding. An “introduction to modern and contemporary U.S. poetry, with an emphasis on experimental verse, from Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman to the present,” it combines readings, webcasts, video discussions, forums, and, if desired, writing assignments. The fall session begins on Saturday, September 9, 2017, and concludes on November 20, 2017. For more information and to enroll, visit the ModPo page on Coursera.

planning ahead

January 9, 2017

ModPo 2017 schedule

For those of you who like to plan ahead and have been contemplating taking — or retaking — Modern & Contemporary American Poetry (“ModPo”), here is the 2017 schedule. Enrollment is now open and you can find all the details regarding this free and very worthwhile MOOC (massive open online course) on the Coursera ModPo page.

ModPo about to begin again

August 31, 2016


This year’s Modern & Contemporary American Poetry (ModPo) Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) is about begin. Offered through Coursera, the free ten-week online course is intensive, demanding and rewarding. Taught by Al Filreis and a panel of teaching assistants, it is a combination of audio, video, live sessions, reading, forums and, if desired, writing. ModPo begins September 10, 2016 and enrollment is now open.

See our previous posts about ModPo.

listen in

July 13, 2016

Jacket 2 poemtalk

If you enjoy listening to podcasts while you’re driving, cooking or on the treadmill, you’ll find a collection of informative and intelligent conversations in PoemTalk. A collaboration of the Kelly Writers House, PennSound and the Poetry Foundation, the PoemTalk series began in 2007 and just released its 103rd episode, a conversation about “Skunk Hour” by Robert Lowell. The 45-minute episodes generally invite three poet/scholars to join producer and host Al Filreis in a discussion of a single poem.

See the complete, linked list of episodes on the Jacket2 PoemTalk page or find PoemTalk on iTunes.

ModPo 2016

April 10, 2016


If you’re interested in modern and contemporary American poetry, you might consider enrolling in the free MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), Modern & Contemporary American Poetry (“ModPo”), offered through Coursera. The ten-week online course is intensive, demanding and rewarding. Taught by Al Filreis and a panel of teaching assistants, it is a combination of audio, video, live sessions, reading, forums and, if desired, writing. ModPo begins September 10, 2016 and enrollment is now open.

See our previous posts about ModPo.

ModPo revisited

March 3, 2014


We posted about Modern & Contemporary American Poetry (ModPo) back in September. Since then, you may have participated in or heard about the U Penn course, which is a fast-moving overview that covers both familiar and lesser-known poems and poets.

Like most good classes, ModPo yields the greatest returns to those who participate fully — following the reading assignments, watching the videos, taking part in the forums, even writing the short papers. The prospectus says 5 to 10 hours a week, which is about right.

Many students repeat the course, which includes some new material and all new discussion each time around.

ModPo begins again on Saturday, September 6, 2014, and will run for 10 weeks, ending with a live webcast on Monday, November 17. The course is absolutely free. To learn more or sign up, visit Coursera.

Get thee to a MOOC!

September 3, 2013


Earlier this year, we posted about free online university courses known as MOOCs — Massive Open Online Courses. Since Modern & Contemporary American Poetry (ModPo) is about to begin, we thought this an auspicious time for an update.

ModPo, a ten-week online course offered by the University of Pennsylvania through Coursera, will be taught by Al Filreis (Kelly Professor, Univ. of Pennsylvania; Faculty Director, Kelly Writers House; Director, Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing; Publisher, Jacket2; Co-Director, with Charles Bernstein, PennSound), who says, “Many people join ModPo and experience the course by reading the poems, watching the video discussions, and participating here and there in the discussion forums. Others will want to take the quizzes, submit the four writing assignments, and respond to others’ essays with peer reviews. A relatively small group among those enrolled will want to achieve a certificate of completion. The requirements for the certificate are described in the FAQ section of the main ModPo page on the Coursera site.”

With enrollment still open, the course launches on Saturday, September 7, 2013, and the first session will be held on Sunday, September 8. The first two weeks will focus on Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman through a variety of audio, video, reading and discussion sessions.

Many participants enroll in ModPo again and again, and if the buzz among former students is an indication, the course promises to be lively, informative and definitely worthwhile at any level of involvement.

To learn more and/or sign up, go to the ModPo page on Coursera. (If you sign up, you may wish to participate in the Modern & Contemporary American Poetry group on Facebook or follow the ModPo Twitter feed.)

To see other classes offered by Coursera, visit the Coursera website.

To see a complete list of MOOCs, see the MOOC List.

So what’s massive? As of August 31, there are more than 27,000 people enrolled in ModPo.

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