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Sanjeev Naik


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20+ years in schools, colleges, and universities did not inspire me even once like this course has in just a few weeks. THIS is what learning has to be about. The Generosity (yes.. capital G) and the sense of community that the class engenders, in no small part starts from Professor Al Filreis and his TA's, and is one of the highlights of the course. In this regard, I also want to mention the discussion forums (and the MOOC Facebook group), where the students - who come from all spheres of life and from so many different countries around the world -- add to the learnings= and build on what is "taught" in class in so many different ways. The "in-class" teaching itself is open-ended, provoking thought and never didactic. Abstract and sometimes meaningless language ("babbling", Stein, Dickinson, etc.) that can otherwise confound or at least throw up a wall of resistance now become accessible after this course because we learn to read poetry without necessarily paying attention all the time to meaning. Poetry reveals itself in new ways sometimes when you just open your minds and "listen". Or as Wallace Stevens put it: "The poem must resist the intelligence / Almost successfully." From Dickinson to Ashbery, what is not familiar is what beguiles and engages us. I resisted the opaqueness in their poetry when I read them early on but slowly, over time, I've come to appreciate the mystery. ModPo has clearly been an essential part of this awakening, if you will, and for that I will be eternally thankful. Everything I read these days, I see it through the lens of what I learn and read in ModPo -- that is definitely one big mark of impact. I have never taken a MOOC before but am encouraged by how it is possible to teach - even multiple thousands of us - via such a forum. There is nothing I dislike about the course; if only I had more time to give to it every week because there are so many aspects of the course that I wish I could delve deeper into.