To support our site, Class Central may be compensated by some course providers.

Modern & Contemporary American Poetry (“ModPo”)

All-Time Top 50

University of Pennsylvania via Coursera

students interested
  • Provider Coursera
  • $ Cost Free Online Course (Audit)
  • Session Upcoming
  • Language English
  • Effort 5-10 hours a week
  • Start Date
  • Duration 10 weeks long

Taken this course? Share your experience with other students. Write review

Sign up to Coursera courses for free Learn how

ModPo is a fast-paced introduction to modern and contemporary U.S. poetry, with an emphasis on experimental verse, from Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman to the present. Participants (who need no prior experience with poetry) will learn how to read poems that are supposedly "difficult." We encounter and discuss the poems one at a time. It's much easier than it seems! Join us and try it!

Even though we are currently in our offseason ("SloPo"), you are welcome to enroll now. You will have access to the entire ModPo site. Explore; meet some ModPo'ers who are conversing in the site year-round; read poems and watch videos. Then join us again when the intense "symposium mode" starts up again in September.

Yes, the next live, interactive 10-week session of ModPo will begin on September 8, 2018, and will conclude on November 19, 2018. Al Filreis will be in touch with you by email before the September 8 start of the course with all the information you'll need to participate. If you have questions, you can email the ModPo team at modpo@writing.upenn.edu.

During the 10 weeks of the course, you will be guided through poems, video discussions of each poem, and community discussions of each poem. And (unique among open online courses) we offer weekly, interactive live webcasts. Our famed TAs also offer office hours throughout the week. We help arrange meet-ups and in-site study groups.

If you are curious about the ModPo team, type "ModPo YouTube introduction" into Google or your favorite search engine, and watch the 20-minute introductory video. You will get an overview of the course and will meet the brilliant TAs, who will be encountering the poems with you all the way to the end.

If you use Facebook, join the always-thriving ModPo group: from inside Facebook, search for "Modern & Contemporary American Poetry" and then request to be added as a member. If you have any questions about ModPo, you can post a question to the FB group and you'll receive an almost instant reply.

We tweet all year long at @ModPoPenn and you can also find ModPo colleagues using the hashtag #ModPoLive.

ModPo is hosted by—and is housed at—the Kelly Writers House at 3805 Locust Walk on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia USA. All ModPo'ers are welcome to visit the Writers House when they are in our area. Our discussions are filmed there. Our live webcasts take place in the famed "Arts Cafe" of the House. To find out what's going on at the Writers House any time, just dial 215-746-POEM.

Taught by

Al Filreis

Class Central Charts

Related Courses

Reviews for Coursera's Modern & Contemporary American Poetry (“ModPo”)
5.0 Based on 180 reviews

  • 5 stars 95%
  • 4 stars 5%
  • 3 star 0%
  • 2 star 0%
  • 1 star 0%

Did you take this course? Share your experience with other students.

Write a review
  • 1
Anonymous
5.0 4 years ago
Jan completed this course.
This is by far the best class that I have taken in many years, both online or in person. Al Filreis is a superb teacher who has boundless enthusiasm, energy and insight. He is generous and thoughtful, inclusive and yet demanding in a positive thought provoking way. And the best part is that his love of the poems and the poets we study not only encourages all of us to draw new conclusions about material that we may have been familiar with for years, but he shows us that he also continuously stays open to new ideas that are sparked by not only his TAs but many of the participants as well. Furthe…
6 people found
this review helpful
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
S.e. I
5.0 2 years ago
by S.e. completed this course, spending 7 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
I believe I did review this course when I first completed it in 2013. I am delighted to review it again after having completed it in 2014, and also in 2015 - although this year I helped out as a Community TA, which meant I did more peer reviewing and discussing - and didn't write any assignments or quizzes. Since I earned a certificate of achievement in the first two years, this worked well for me and I was honored to be able to give something back to this very worthwhile course.

ModPo continues to draw students from all over the world - many of them, like me, "repeat offenders" -…
3 people found
this review helpful
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Christie W
5.0 5 months ago
Christie completed this course, spending 8 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be hard.
I started this course having loved poetry my whole life, written it, translated it, devoured books of it, spent as much of my life in and around it as I possibly could. Indeed I love it so much that I've never trusted a university with it. I've seen the best minds of my generation fucked up by their alma mater, and believe me I was on the watch and straight out at the first glimmer of that happening.

The first time I took this course I got as far whatever week Stein was, and got frightened off. Not by Stein, but by the analysis. I think reading Stein is analytically challengin…
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Anonymous
5.0 4 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
ModPo is a superb course in every respect. The video discussions model collaborative close readings, which I think is a real strength of the approach, and the forums are rich with every kind of discussion. The professor, Al Filreis, and TA staff are extraordinarily active, not just technically, but substantively, in the forums and in the Facebook group, and indeed, we communicate with them directly by name and they know an extraordinary number of our names, too. The attitude is one of co-learning from all sides--an Al Filreis mantra is "the wisdom is in the room." There are numerous …
3 people found
this review helpful
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Anonymous
5.0 4 years ago
pomo58 completed this course.
I was an English major in school decades ago and leaned toward prose and theory, so I didn't give poetry any more time or effort than necessary. As a result, I was ignorant of a great deal of what it takes to appreciate poetry beyond the very basic, straightforward poem. This course has not only helped me to appreciate the poetry we studied, but given me the confidence to approach poetry not covered by this course. The approach is accessible to all regardless of background, yet is still rigorous. While the professor's views are certainly expressed, they are not put forward as "THE" w…
2 people found
this review helpful
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Anonymous
5.0 4 months ago
Anonymous completed this course.
I was not an active participant this time, but I have been an active participant and have finished twice in the past. No amount of praise would be sufficient to give Al and his program. There are at least two reasons why this course succeeds at the highest level. Number one, a very difficult and challenging body of work is addressed. The material ('Modern & Contemporary American Poetry') is approached through a team effort. What at first might seem resistant to human logic, intelligence and explication will eventually become manifest. Why is that important? Because some may argue that …
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Bob Z
5.0 a year ago
by Bob completed this course, spending 10 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
This course is GREAT! I was in the last session in 2016.

If you're going for the certificate you have to write 4 essays of at least 500 words, and review 4 essays every time you submit an essay. There are online text forums for each poem covered and you need to interact in at least one of the week's forums for each week of the class if you want to get the certificate. In the last few days of the class a bunch of comments started popping up in older forums as people raced to meet the requirement. The forums were quite lively and fun to participate in. There were weekly video sess…
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Anthony W
5.0 5 months ago
by Anthony partially completed this course.
There is a story in the New Testament of the Christian Bible where Jesus takes the disciples up to a mountain top, and there they spend the day with the long dead patriarchs of the Jewish faith, and as the day winds down, Peter asks Jesus if maybe they could build temples for these ghostly patriarchs to live in so they could come and visit forever. In that story, there is some sort of moral I never quite got, but I am reminded of the story every time I watch a video, or a podcast of Al and his TAs gathered at Kelly Writers House to discuss some old well worn beloved verse from Emily or WCW, or…
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Nicole N
5.0 4 months ago
by Nicole completed this course, spending 10 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
I cannot get over how wonderful this class was. The class has changed my life and given me a sense of hope, I was not expecting that--I just expected to learn more about poetry, it was much more meaningful than I ever imagined. I learned a lot and have so much more to learn--it will be for me a lifelong process, of staying with this course and continuing--the course was incredibly intellectually and artistically stimulating. It was very well organized and thoughtful and holistic and engaging and inclusive. Al is the most incredible instructor---he deserves every teaching award that he rece…
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Anonymous
5.0 4 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
I have been a student of one kind or other for nearly seventy years, many of those at top universities. I can honestly say that ModPo is probably the best course I have ever had the pleasure of taking. Al Filreis and his TAs are extremely well prepared, well organized, and embracing of all who come to the course. Best of all, they manage to communicate information and joy in poetry and language without reliance on the lecture format. I feel as if I'm part of a small seminar where ideas are freely exchanged, yet I have the advantage of having access also to the thousands of interesting people w…
2 people found
this review helpful
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Anonymous
5.0 4 years ago
Shirley completed this course.
Being in this class is a rewarding, enjoyable, and challenging learning adventure led by a well-organized team. Al Filreis, teaching assistants, community teaching assistants, other staff, and students (national and international) are dedicated, insightful, and knowledgeable. Not only do Mr. Filreis and the TAs provide quick and frequent feedback, they hold office hours! Besides the syllabus, discussion videos (including transcripts), and discussion forums, the course features webcasts, invitations to Kelly Writers House as well as communication with living poets via the forums and webcasts. A…
2 people found
this review helpful
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Anonymous
5.0 2 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
Modern and Contemporary American Poetry (ModPo) was the most engaging community of scholars and students actively in any online course I’ve ever taken. ModPo involves a “community" through the course materials, discussions, live television and radio shows, office hours, and mostly delving into the task of looking closely at poets and poetry in depth. A true community of learners has been ignited by Professors Al Filreis, Julia Bloch, and the entire staff who make this truly a worldwide community of engaged, interactive, and exciting learning. I can’t imagine anything better than ModPo is offer…
2 people found
this review helpful
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Agnes V
5.0 4 months ago
by Agnes completed this course.
If you are wondering what an outstanding MOOC looks like, check out Coursera's Modern and Contemporary American Poetry (MODPO) from the University of Pennsylvania. A good mix of reading, audio, videos of the professor discussing with grad students, web casts and discussion forums lets students engage with the material in a variety of ways . Aside from weekly quizzes there are four essay assignments and several peer reviews for each assignments. The course is available in an asynchronous way year round, or as a semi-synchronous version (symposium mode) once a year starting in September. Some pe…
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Anonymous
5.0 4 years ago
Raymond completed this course.
I am taking ModPo for the second time this year, as are many of my newly found ModPo friends. That is a strong indication of the excellent quality of this course. The course traces the leading trends and movements in the world of modern American poetry, trends which, in many ways, presage social and political developments in larger society. The course itself is taught in a "flipped" way, with the onus of and responsibility for learning place squarely on the student. The students who complete the course achieve a precious goal, a priceless prize, which explains why so many come back for more. No doubt, next year's offering will have many repeat "offenders." Be brave, be courageous, take ModPo! As they say at my favorite buffalo wings restaurant in Tallahassee, "you know you want some!"

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
5 people found
this review helpful
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Jackie L
5.0 3 years ago
by Jackie completed this course.
The only mooc I have come across where the teacher and the tracing assistants are easily available, are part of the discussions, always active, and always open to all participants who ask. The focus on modern and contemporary America. poetry centers this very large group of participants whi, in turn, bring a wealth of original, creative, thoughtful ideas in the very active forums. Lectures, webcasts, meet-ups, office hours, this is an online community where you find real friends in real life. And to bring this particular poetry to life in these days is a huge free gift to the intellect of all those who pass through the course. Imagine if the education systems could generate such a love of learning, discussion, debate. The credit goes to Professor Al Filreis who is the motor of the mooc. He, and his team, have made a growing source course of inspiration regardless of your profession or way of life or where you are in the world.
2 people found
this review helpful
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Dilip B
5.0 a year ago
by Dilip completed this course.
Yes. I have completed the ModPo course hosted by the University of Pennsylvania through Coursera app. It is a great course and I would like to recommend it for all students of literature and poetry. It is not merely a course but a rich amalgamation of audio, video and text materials. Allen Filreis and his team make a good effort to make the course interesting, appreciative and enlivening. The unique thing about the course is that it runs throughout the year. I could do it within 8 weeks and getting 100 out of 100 Grades. More than the achievement in terms of Marks and Grades, I have thoroughly enjoyed the MOOC experience at ModPo. I'm greatly indebted to Al Filreis and his team for ingraining, nurturing, fostering a genuine interest among all the learners. He's more than a teacher. You feel more confident and comfortable with all the mentors and teaching fraternity at the ModPo. I heartily congratulate the Team.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Anonymous
5.0 4 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
"When a hundred men stand together, each of them loses his mind and gets another one." - Friedrich Nietzsche

Watching the introduction video, to what this class Promised to offer, I believed signing up would give me everything I was looking for and more. Zero doubt.

At the time, I was writing poetry, again. This time as an adult, yet uneducated in reading and form. Intuitively called to read and learn, I had just begun my studies, when I discovered ModPo.

Now I am here, at the beginning of week 10. My time schedule allowed me to participate in about 45% of the course -- so far, as the accesses to these master teachings are available to me always.

In ModPo, I found myself is amongst free thinkers. Myself, I was inspired (and encouraged), to study and explore within the tremendous syllabus, and to investigate other sources of knowledge.

The promise was delivered and keeps on giving.
1 person found
this review helpful
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Anonymous
5.0 4 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
at 62 this course changed my life when i took it last year and i am looking in still this year. i have health challenges but was able to enrich my life and jump start my brain from home. i am educated, former english and journalism teacher and attorney, but now feel cultured. Art, history, politics, etc. it helped my poetry writing but more-so my reading enabling appreciation of various periods of american poetry and better ability to critique others' poems in online workshop. i have my certificate framed and am very proud to have met the demands of this challenging course. Al and his TAs astound! They are intelligent and organized and somehow manage to stay in communication with the students on fb and the message boards. The diversity and sharing of knowledge and insight cannot be beat IMHO. Feeling a part of this class and Kelly Writer's house is a gift.
2 people found
this review helpful
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Radwa R
5.0 2 years ago
by Radwa completed this course.
I've read various reviews before I write mine and I almost agree with every review. I just feel inclined to add that the art of poetry is the real perseverance for any language in the world. I consider it stronger than corpus [ for those who are not aware of corpus; it is a tool used by linguists to preserve language]. In addition, although I love poetry, I mostly love hearing it rather than reading it. I've got this chance from the recordings of the poems on Modpo website. I also love discussing my thoughts when I read a poem. Thus, Modpo videos have given me the sense that I am in a good company. The presence of TAs hours around the clock that suits all regions of the world has made it easy for me to interact and ask my persistent questions. Influenced by Al, I like to say I ballyhoo AI and the whole Modpo team for this-
2 people found
this review helpful
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Anonymous
5.0 4 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
Best class... if you're hesitating at all, just take it, Even if you never finish or get the certificate, I promise you will find something to take away from the experience. The professor and TA's are awesome, and all the videos feature them analyzing a poem together in a discussion format. The TA's and Al are very accessible and always willing to respond to your ideas or questions on the poems you read. It is impressive that they have managed to create such a sense of community in such a large class. To be honest, I think they have created a tighter sense of community among thousands of students than the sense of community I get in some of my thirty person high school classes. This class has introduced me to so many new poets, poetry, and most importantly to a new outlook on how to approach the reading and analysis of poetry.
2 people found
this review helpful
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
  • 1

Class Central

Get personalized course recommendations, track subjects and courses with reminders, and more.