Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Week 3 of my Coursera modern poetry course, and I’m trying to keep up.

The material is fascinating, and there is so much of it with “ModPo.”  The instructional core comes from videos of the professor and students engaging in close readings of the poems, sitting around a table in the Kelly Writers House on the UPenn campus.  The syllabus also provides analytical articles and recordings of the poets themselves reciting their poems.  And then there are quizzes and writing assignments.

Almost every day, my e-mail inbox has updates, directions, tips, and advice for me.  One day last week I couldn’t even keep up with the updates, a disconcerting feeling for someone not used to be a laggard student.  I felt better after seeing some forum threads about not being able to read all there is to read.  Someone wrote she couldn’t resist sneaking peaks at the forum posts on her cell phone at work because the discussions are so intriguing.

ModPo study groups are springing up in Australia, Ireland, the Philippines, Russia, Chile.  And meet-up options with other Courserians are as close as Burbank and Alhambra.  One in Pasadena surely is in the offing.  My colleague Eileen, who is engaging in this experiment with me in the Coursera World History course, wants to check out a meet-up just to see who else shows up.  I told her we sounded like junior high students before a dance: “I don’t want to go by myself, so will you go with me?  I’ll go if you go.”  

In the meantime, I’ve got plenty enough to do online, following along with the dissections of Ezra Pound’s “In a Station of the Metro” and William Carlos Williams’s “This Is Just to Say.”  A rather intimidating-looking unit on Gertrude Stein is just ahead; maybe it will help if I re-watch Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris.”  

Also in the meantime, it’s week 5 at USC – how could it be almost mid-term time when it’s still so hot? – and I’m trying to keep up there, too.  But that’s another story. 

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