Al Filreis

Mel Bochner at the Jewish Museum

Mel Bochner, “Strong Language,” at the Jewish Museum: link to information about the exhibit.

Poetry as accountable talk: The cMOOC & conversation theory

An essay by Raymond Maxwell

At left: Raymond Maxwell; at right: a live ModPo webcast.

In a paper by Raymond Maxwell titled "Constructivism, Accountable Talk, Conversation Theory, and Information Literacy Instruction," there is a passage — in the conclusion — mentioning ModPo:

Last year I took a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), Modern and Contemporary American Poetry, also called ModPo.  There were over 40,000 students in the course.  It was hosted by University of Pennsylvania, and live webcasts were broadcasted once a week, to which all participants were invited.  The professor used a team-teaching approach, and several videos each week featured close reads of poems with the professor at a table conversing with six teaching assistants.  The conversation was led by various team members at various times.  Each lecture was a conversation between the seven of them, piped out to over 40,000 students around the world.  The course was a grand success.  We learned the material, and a large percentage actually got certificates of completion.  In Washington, a dozen or so of us formed a weekly study group that met on Sundays at Politics and Prose Bookstore.  This year the course is being taught with the addition of some twenty community teaching assistants, embedded throughout the population of online students.  Perhaps such a model of conversation- and team-led instruction might be conceivable for information literacy instruction on a smaller level.

Ted Berrigan at Bard College, 1982

Recently we found a recording of Ted Berrigan’s reading at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, December 15, 1982: it had not been segmented yet, and naturally we were curious to know which poems he performed on that occasion. Thanks to Anna Zalokostas, Berrigan's PennSound page now includes links to the individual poems, as well as, of course, the whole recording. Here are the segments:

  1. introduction (0:52): MP3
  2. discussing his writing (15:09): MP3
  3. A City Winter (0:13): MP3
  4. A Certain Slant of Sunlight (1:29): MP3
  5. Give Them Back, Who Never Were (4:02): MP3
  6. Now that I (0:34): MP3
  7. Okay. First. ... (1:38): MP3
  8. Every day back & forth (1:07): MP3
  9. Turk (0:56): MP3
    Let No Willful Fate Misunderstand (2:01): MP3
  10. Warrior, Warrior (1:22): MP3
  11. To Sing the Song, That Is Fantastic (1:39): MP3
  12. In Your Fucking Utopias (4:26): MP3
  13. XIII (2:08): MP3
  14. The School Windows Song (3:22): MP3

The homely space

ModPo as an open course

Jeremy Knox has presented and published a paper on massive open online courses, looking at three in particular. Here is a link to the paper. Here are a few sentences from one of the sections on ModPo:

A salient example of the use of video can be found in the ‘Modern and Contemporary American Poetry’ (known as ModPo) course from the University of Pennsylvania in partnership with Coursera. As part of the introductory material, this course provided a video tour of the Kelly Writers House, a campus building associated with the instructors of the ModPo MOOC and creative writing students at the University of Pennsylvania. As a production of space, this video offers a remarkable enactment of the domestication of the MOOC, involving, I suggest, the production of familiarity and the practice of mapping. Rather than the imposing campus edifices foregrounded by the MOOC platforms, this faculty-level promotion aims at establishing a space of intimacy and community by providing a tour of the building which hosts the ModPo course. Course convenor Al Filreis hosts the tour, providing commentary as he is filmed proceeding through various rooms within the building, in which he interviews each of the ModPo Teaching Assistants (TAs) in turn. Of primary emphasis in this video is the promotion of a community at the Kelly Writers House.

We're not of this world

Jake Marmer's free jazz/poetry

Here is a video-recording of a performance of “Facts,” performed by Jake Marmer, Frank London, Greg Wall and Uri Sharlin at Cornelia Street Cafe at the release party of the Hermeneutic Stomp CD, October 14, 2013. Watch and you’ll hear the refrain, chanted by the audience: "We’re not of this world." For more about the CD, see this comment at Jewish Currents; the piece includes a link to an audio recording of "Bath House of Dreams." Frank London is of course the Grammy Award-winning trumpeter who performs with the Klezmatics.  Marmer’s first book of poems is Jazz Talmud, published by Sheep Meadow Press in 2012. He left a small provincial town in the Ukraine at the age of 15. He is co-founder of North America's first Jewish Poetry retreat at KlezKanada Festival.