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American Poetry: Modern and Contemporary US Poetry

ENGL 1830.001
TR 1:45-3:14pm


In this fast-paced course, also known as “ModPo," 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 1830 will offer one -- we 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 entirely as a discussion, the lecture having been replaced here by online materials, by audio and video files and other info and context delivered digitally. Students will join the ModPo course, an open global online community (typically of 60,000 people!), and will engage with members of that community in conversation about our poems, will participate in several live webcast sessions, and will join other events associated with ModPo. Requirements will include many one-page "position" papers, peer-reviewing, and a wildly comprehensive final examination. The course will be held in the Arts Cafe of the Kelly Writers House at 3805 Locust Walk.

Every class sessions features 100% discussion. Our mode of investigating the poems is collaborative close reading. We will do everything together.

Students will have opportunities to participate in some of the weekly ModPo global interactive webcasts.



HERE is a link to the ModPo site, which will show you the entire syllabus, week by week, with links to the poems and our video recordings of discussions about each poem.

HERE is an overview of ModPo.

HERE is a 20-minute introductory video to ModPo.

fulfills requirements
Sector 1: Theory and Poetics of the Standard Major
Sector 6: 20th Century Literature of the Standard Major