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.

To see the basics of the new ModPo page for this, just go back to the ModPo 2014 site here—

—and have a look. There are already a few videos linked there.

To prepare for the full release of a wide range of these videos for ModPo 2015 (which starts on September 12, 2015), I am calling on any and all ModPo people to organize small groups—together near where you live (in a "meet-up") or in some way remotely/virtually—and film a ten- or fifteen-minute discussion of any ModPo poem or a poem by one of the ModPo poets you deem relevant to our discussions and themes.

The "ModPo Crowdsourced Close Readings" project page is introduced this way:

This is a new section of ModPo, in progress. It is created to parallel the ModPo main syllabus, just as ModPoPLUS and the Teacher Resources do, but here the video discussions feature ModPo people around the world doing close readings of ModPo poems.

Guidelines for those who wish to contribute videos to this project:

1) record in landscape (wide image rather than tall);
2) try to keep the recorded session short —10 to 15 minutes is ideal;
3) good audio quality is crucial, so somehow get the camera's microphone close to each speaker;
4) upload your video to YouTube and let us know where we can find it; and finally
5) please note that this is a curated collection, so for various reasons (length, technical quality, duplication of content) it might be decided that your contribution will not be included.

Once you've uploaded your video, please let us know by writing to .

Here are two examples of such videos:

1) made by a group in Edinburgh in 2012:
2) made by a group in Sri Lanka in 2014:

I'm very excited about this new potential for diversifying and further democratizing our poetry community, and hope you are excited too. So put away your modesty and try to make a video just like the ones I and the TAs have made! Take it from us: it's fun and edifying.

As of today already, there are 5,000 people signed up for ModPo '15. If you haven't re-enrolled, please consider it and here is the link: .