Monday, September 10, 2012
Thank you for registering for “Modern & Contemporary American Poetry”! We will notify you again when the class is about to start.
I am very excited about teaching this course – with, perhaps, more students participating than I’ve ever taught before all at once. For a humanities course with a focus on poetry that is particularly open-ended and innovative – where interpretation and reading strategies are of primary importance, and where “correct” answers are rare – it will be a challenge to ascertain how well everyone is doing with the material as we move through the ten weeks of the course. But we will be working together, especially in the discussion forums and when assessing each other’s short writing assignments.
While you wait for the course to begin, I can suggest some reading and listening for you. For one thing, go to PennSound (writing.upenn.edu/pennsound) and listen to poems performed by some of the poets whom we’ll discuss in our course: e.g. William Carlos Williams, Lorine Niedecker, John Ashbery, Rae Armantrout, Gertrude Stein, Anne Waldman, Amiri Baraka, Charles Bernstein. You might also like to prepare by listening to selected episodes of the radio show/podcast “PoemTalk” (jacket2.org/content/poemtalk). PoemTalk is hosted by me and each episiode features three poets talking about one poem for 30 minutes. I especially recommend the episodes on Williams, Ginsberg, Armantrout, Ashbery, Robert Creeley, Cid Corman, Kenneth Goldsmith, Jackson Mac Low, Susan Howe on Emily Dickinson, Jennifer Scappettone on H.D., Jena Osman, and Charles Bernstein.
If you want to read some poems as a way of getting started, I suggest any Emily Dickinson poems and Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself” (easily found on the web). No book purchases are required for our course, but if you are in a book-buying mood, I suggest an edition of Dickinson’s poems and a selection or collection of the poems of William Carlos Williams.
You need not do anything to prepare for our course, however. Everything you’ll need you’ll get when we start. And you need not know anything about poetry – modern poetry or any kind of poetry – to do well in and enjoy this course.
Al Filreis http://writing.upenn.edu/~afilreis
Subscribe to Posts [Atom]