In this fast-paced course we will read and discuss a great range of modern and contemporary U.S. poets, starting with the proto-modernists Dickinson and Whitman and ending with 21st-century poetics. Aside from providing a survey and chronology of 20th- and 21st-century poetry, this version of English 88 will offer one -- I think, helpful -- way of understanding the transition from modernism to postmodernism. Thus some students may wish to enroll as much to gain an understanding of the modernism-postmodernism problem through a study of recent poetry as to gain access to the work of these many poets. Students do not need to have any prior knowledge of poetry or poetics. English 88 operates almost wholly as a discussion, the lecture having been replaced here by the web, by audio and video files and other info delivered digitally. Students will join “ModPo,” an open global online community, and will engage with members of that community in conversation about our poems, will participate in live webcast sessions, and will join other events associated with ModPo. Requirements will include many one-page "position" papers, and a wildly comprehensive final examination.
The course will be held in the Arts Cafe of the Kelly Writers House at 3805 Locust Walk.