NOTE: This course will be offered again in September 2014! See the coursera.org site link below to register.
There is a great 10-week course beginning September 7, 2013 for anyone interested in learning more about modern poetry. There is no cost, no text to buy, and the online videos/poems can be viewed on your own time schedule. Al Filreis, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, teaches the course. A writing friend took this same class last fall and is taking it again because she enjoyed it so much. A background in poetry is not required. I signed up and look forward to filling in gaps in my knowledge of contemporary poetry.
More about the course here including a Q & A and video: Modern & Contemporary American Poetry
Course description (from the Coursera site):
About the Course
In this fast-paced course we will read and encounter and discuss a great range of modern and contemporary U.S. poets working in the “experimental mode,” starting with the 19th-century proto-modernists Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman and ending with 21st-century conceptual poetics. Aside from providing a perhaps handy or helpful survey and chronology of 20th- and 21st-century poetry, this course offers a way of understanding general cultural transitions from modernism to postmodernism. Some people may wish to enroll as much to gain an understanding of the modernism/postmodernism problem through a study of poetry as to gain access to the work of these many poets. Participants do not need to have any prior knowledge of poetry or poetics. The instructor, Al Filreis, rarely lectures, and frequently calls for “the end of the lecture as we know it”; instead, most of the video-recorded lessons will consist of collaborative close readings led by Filreis, seminar-style — offering models or samples of readers’ interpretations of these knotty but powerful poems, aided by the poetry-minded denizens of the Kelly Writers House on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania.