Al Filreis

Kelly Writers House 'Open Learning Teaching Fellowship'

The Kelly Writers House at the University of Pennsylvania invites applications to the ModPo Open Learning Teaching Fellowship, which will be offered for the first time in Fall 2015 and is designed to support teaching resources within the Modern and Contemporary American Poetry free open online non-credit 10-week course taught by Al Filreis and others. This Fellowship is sponsored by the Teacher Resource Center, an intrasite within ModPo.

William Meredith on poetry recordings in 1961

William Meredith’s 1961 essay about then-new recordings of poetry, published in the Hudson Review, starts out with a point I deem apt and true, and then goes on, in my view, to misunderstand pretty much every aspect of such recordings. Naturally, though, it is an important document in the not-very-long bibliography of such writings before, let us say, 1970 or so. I am thus pleased to be making it available here: PDF. His opening point: “A poet's reading of his poems is probably as near to an ingenuous commentary as he can give us about his intentions, certainly about his designs on our ears” (470). Meredith knew very well that such use of poetic intention in 1961 was fraught — in the New Critical heyday — and I'm glad he used it knowingly, because it gives the idea a slight feel of critical difference and resistance: the oral reading of a poem written for the page does "give...intentions" especially — but not only, of course — about oral (and really: aural) design. The citation: William Meredith, “New Poetry Recordings,” Hudson Review 14, 3 (Autumn 1961), pp. 470-73.

Philadelphia's 'youth poet laureate'

June 2015 - May 2016

Philadelphia’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy (OACCE) is now accepting nominations for Philadelphia’s next Youth Poet Laureate, a position complementing the city’s Poet Laureate. The Youth Poet Laureate position is open to high school students residing within the City of Philadelphia. The selected Youth Poet Laureate will serve a term from June 2015 through May 2016.

An assemblage of paradoxes in one body

Baroness Elsa von Freytag Loringhoven

Listen to a brief audio biography of the Baroness Elsa von Freytag Loringhoven. And here is a blurb I wrote for Irene Gammel’s biography:

‘The Baroness cut the most compelling modernist figure. She literally wore New York dada, thus inventing it as a pattern of aesthetic costume to be worn so tight that it was her skin, her self. She was, as Irene Gammel puts it in this remarkable biographical study, an “assemblage of paradoxes embodied in one body.” That the Baroness knew and inspired or inspiringly repelled nearly everyone associated with the rise of modernist practice in New York has been already part of the story, but it has never been so richly detailed. In Gammel's presentation the Baroness emerges as far more than an ingenue. She became a mature, self-conscious dynamic artistic force — and remarkably productive in her own right, not despite but because she exhausted herself up from the inside out.’

Crowdsourcing collaborative close readings of supposedly 'difficult' poems globally

Today I distributed the following announcement widely to 130,000 participants in "ModPo," the free, open-enrollment, noncredit 10-week course in modern and contemporary U.S. poetry:

I am very excited to announce a new aspect of ModPo that I hope will intrigue you and perhaps induce you to participate. We have created a new section of ModPo that parallels the main ModPo syllabus, "chapter" by "chapter" and week by week, and offers links to short video recordings of ModPo people around the world gathered in small groups conducting collaborative close readings of our poems — and related poems — themselves. Yes: we are now calling for crowdsourced collaborative close readings.