Updates & notes for the end of week 1
Here are a few notes from me on this Friday of week 1 of ModPo ’18:
- WEEK ONE CONTINUES. Yes, let’s keep reading Dickinson and Whitman today and tomorrow, and let’s keep talking about them in our poem-specific discussion forums. On Sunday we turn to week 2 (see below) but for now there’s so much more to say—and to ponder—when encountering these two foundational (pre- or proto-)modernists. There are many good discussions happening. Here are two to recommend. First, Tuhin Bhowal created a thread called “Surprise Gradually?” in order to discuss the “superb surprise” in “Tell all the Truth…” Go THERE and read and maybe participate! Second rec: Ray Maxwell, Teri Rife, Christie Williamson and others are talking about “I never saw a Moor,” a ModPoPLUS poem about which we did a close reading during this week’s webcast. Go HERE to read the poem; go HERE to watch the video; go HERE to talk about it with Ray, Teri, Christie and others.
- ESSAY ASSIGNMENT #1 NEXT WEEK: Many of us will be writing short essays in response to essay assignment #1 next week. Go HERE to find out about how the four ModPo essay assignments work. (Please do NOT click “Grades” in the left-side menu. Rather, click the “essay assignments” tab in the “Resources” submenu; find “Resources” at the left of any ModPo page and click.) For ModPo repeaters: this essay, a close reading of a Dickinson poem, is about a poem we have not ever yet discussed in ModPo. Fresh stuff! Try it. (Note that the following week—during week 3—we will be reading and commenting on others’ essays. For next week many of us will be writing and posting our essays.)
- ModPoMinute: We hope you’ve noticed that we created a new ModPo YouTube series, called “ModPoMinute.” Each episode is just 5 minutes long. In that five minutes, somehow, Anna or I talk with some brilliant colleague about one short but challenging poem. Episode #16, the latest, features me and Davy Knittle talking about Evie Schockley’s poem “a one-act play.” For the series page, go HERE. Zach Carduner is our editor. We post a new episode each Monday.
- ModPoPLUS HIGHLIGHT FOR THE WEEK: Even if you are new to ModPo this year—and especially if you are returning—we hope you will take a look at ModPoPLUS. As you know, this is a parallel, supplemental syllabus of poems and videos (and other materials). ModPoPLUS week 1 includes many poems added recently. We recommend Dickinson’s “Alone and in a Circumstance.” We discuss that poem as a handwritten manuscript. It was on display at the Morgan Library in New York and our video was filmed right there at the Morgan’s Dickinson exhibit and our conversation was joined by the curator of the show! See below for the links.
- WEEK TWO COMING SOON. On Sunday, we will all turn to our week 2 poems, audio, and video. After a week with Dickinson and Whitman, we now consider a variety of later responses to these two distinctly influential poets. We read modernist responses to each, and also contemporary responses. Of course I’ll write again about week 2 soon. Count on that! If you want to take a look ahead, by all means go to our week 2 main syllabus page, read the headnote (copied below), and listen to the audio introduction (11 minutes).
As ever, if you have questions about how to use the ModPo site, post a note to our “tech help” forum or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Enjoying not being alone in the circumstance, because of you,
ModPoPLUS WEEK ONE — PART NINE: ALONE AND IN A CIRCUMSTANCE
25. read Dickinson’s “Alone and in a Circumstance”: LINK TO TEXT
26. read Dickinson’s original manuscript of “Alone and in a Circumstance”: LINK TO MANUSCRIPT TEXT
27. listen to Lee Ann Brown perform Dickinson’s “Alone and in a Circumstance”: LINK TO AUDIO
28. watch discussion of “Alone and in a Circumstance” filmed at the Morgan Library: LINK TO VIDEO [OFFSITE COPY]
HEADNOTE TO WEEK TWO
Week 2 of ModPo 2018 runs from Sunday, September 16 at 9 AM through Sunday, September 23 at 9 AM. For those doing ModPo on their own or in small groups, the week 2 materials are open and available all year.
During this week, the second half of chapter 1, we will read the work of two poets writing in the Whitmanian mode and three poets writing in the Dickinsonian mode. We will encounter our Whitmanians, William Carlos Williams and Allen Ginsberg, again later in the course—Williams as a modernist and Ginsberg as a Beat poet. The Whitman/Williams/Ginsberg connection is a strong one; Ginsberg wrote directly in response to both Whitman and Williams and saw the lineage as crucial to the development of his approach. Our Dickinsonians are more disparate in their response to Dickinson’s writing. Of the three—Lorine Niedecker, Cid Corman, and Rae Armantrout—only the last could be said to be a direct poetic descendant of Emily Dickinson’s aesthetic.
ASSIGNMENTS: During this week, there are two quizzes due and a writing assignment. Writing assignment #1 is open for submission between 9 AM on 9/17/18 and 9 AM on 9/23/18; after that, peer reviews will be submitted any time between 9 AM on 9/24/18 and 9 AM on 9/30/18. There is also a live webcast on Thursday, September 20, at noon (Philadelphia time).