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Celeste Budwit-Hunter


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Modern & Contemporary American Poetry (ModPo) will help spark your curiosity, support your learning, and invite you into a world-wide community. There are no lectures in ModPo. Not one. What you view are discussions with a few students, expertly facilitated by Al Filreis, who trusts "the wisdom in the room" to elucidate key features of each poem. There are live webcast discussions (with "real" poets) that help enrich each week's material. Everything is recorded so you can participate when you have time. The cheerful discussions help you think through a close-reading process. I found it confusing at first, but I grew to absolutely love it. I learned how to really read poetry. You study a few poems a week. The syllabus looks intimidating, with maybe 20 or more items to do each week, until you see that each item is a small task. You can get through the entire course one bite at a time. The quizzes are directly related to the content and designed to help you review the material, not trick you. If you want to get the full Monty and complete the course, you can write four essays. If you keep up with the material, they’re very doable and an effective way of learning and getting feedback. You write—and receive—peer reviews for each round of essays, which are so helpful. You share feedback with your fellow students. You begin to see the rich variety of students taking the course, and you learn from everyone. I spent 5-7 hours on the course each week, and would have loved to have given more time to it. One thing I will do when I repeat this course next year-- apparently lots of ModPo'ers can't get enough of it--is spend more time in the discussion forums. That's where you can express your confusion and enthusiasm, complain and get help, share your insights, and feel a part of the community. You will be surprised how connected you can feel to 40,000 fellow poetry- loving students.