Tuesday, May 1, 2012

More Poetry, Year-Round

We have bid National Poetry Month adieu for another year.  Today is May Day, a rite of spring, and also the first day of Mystery Month.

But poetry is not far away.  As noted earlier,  I am crazy about podcasts and Open University-type courses.  There are a couple of new university-level Massive Open Online Courses (or MOOCs, if ever there was a goofy acronym) in the mix this spring -- Coursera and Udacity.  As with most of the other MOOCs (like MIT and Yale), a majority of the classes are tech and science related, but Coursera is offering several Humanities classes too!

In September 2012, The University of Pennsylvania, through Coursera, is offering a 10 week class in Modern and Contemporary Poetry, taught by Penn professor Al Filreis.  The course is described as videotaped seminar-style, collaborative close readings of poetry from Dickinson and Whitman to poets of the early 21st century, with online discussion forums and occasional quizzes or short essays.

Professor Filreis is also the host of a regular podcast, Poem Talk, sponsored by The Poetry Foundation.  Each podcast is a close reading of a poem, led by Filreis, with roundtable discussion featuring a rotating groups of contemporary poets.  If you are interested in the online class, check out a couple of the podcasts, as the descriptions are very similar and you can see ahead of time if this approach works for you.

As always, an investigation into one source turns up so many other sources previously unimagined. Who knew there were so many other podcasts and online resources for studying poetry??  A short list would include

  • Restoration and 18th Century Poetry, a survey of currently unfashionable poetry, from Brandeis professor William Flesch.  Available as a collection of downloadable podcasts.
  • PBS NewsHour Poetry series -- short podcasts (under 10 mins each) that couple profiles of contemporary poets with reports on poetry news and trends. (NewsHour poetry website)

Another of the Coursera humanities courses that caught my eye is a survey of World Music, which starts in July?  Have you ever taken an online academic course?  Was it a good experience?   Your comments on online learning are welcome!

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