More free online poetry, fiction and theater courses

September 21, 2014 — 2 Comments

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The MOOC (massive open online course) format must be catching on, because there are more courses coming up than I can register for and complete. I will be auditing at least one or two of these. I’ll summarize the three new courses below:

The Art of Poetry (Boston University MOOC through Edx)

“The Art of Poetry” is offered by Boston University featuring Robert Pinsky and a strong group of BU faculty and students/former students. From the course description:

The course is demanding, and based on a certain kind of intense, exigent reading, requiring prolonged— in fact, repeated— attention to specific poems.

The readings will include historical poems, as well as contemporary work. The focus will be on elements of the art such as poetry’s historical relation to courtship; techniques of sound in free verse; poetry’s relation to music; the nature of greatness—with only incidental attention to schools of poetry, categories and trends.

This course looks like it will focus on the experience of reading a poem, including an emphasis on sound. Boston University has a well-respected creative writing program, so there should be some excellent discussions in the lectures and on the forum boards. Class starts September 30th! More information here at Edx.

How Writers Write Fiction (Iowa MOOC through Writing University)

“How Writers Write Fiction” should be really good since it is taught by the same Iowa group who did the Walt Whitman class I took last spring, and the companion class “How Poets Write Poetry” that I also took. The classes usually focus on technique and inspiration, and are generative rather than workshops for pieces in progress. If you are interested in hybrid forms such as flash fiction, this might be an excellent resource. The outline for the course sessions is:

  • Opening Lines, Opening Doors
  • Putting Setting to Work
  • Learning and Building the World
  • Animating the World
  • Structures and Storytelling
  • Constraints and Styles
  • Revision and Rediscovery

More information here. Course starts September 26 (to Nov 21).

Shakespeare: On the Page and in Performance (Wellesley MOOC through Edx)

“Shakespeare: On the Page and in Performance” covers Shakespeare plays as literature and theories about how to stage the plays. The course is described as “an introduction to Shakespeare that combines literary study with theatrical analysis to understand both Shakespeare’s continuing popularity and his greatness.” Plays read will include Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado About Nothing, Othello, King Lear, and The Winter’s Tale. This looks like a very unique and creative class:

Shakespeare wrote for a popular audience and was immensely successful. Shakespeare is also rightly regarded as one of the greatest playwrights the world has known. This course will try to understand both Shakespeare’s popularity and his greatness by starting from a simple premise: that the fullest appreciation of Shakespeare can be achieved only when literary study is combined with analysis of the plays as theatre. Hence, as we delve into the dimensions that make Shakespeare’s plays so extraordinary–from the astonishing power of their language to their uncanny capacity to illuminate so much of human life–we will also explore them in performance from Shakespeare’s own theatre to the modern screen. At the same time, actors will occasionally join our effort and demonstrate ways of bringing the text alive as living theatre.

More information is here. Class begins October 1 and runs twelve weeks with an estimated workload of 4-5 hours per week.

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2 responses to More free online poetry, fiction and theater courses

  1. 

    Wow…I understand what you mean when you say there are so many classes. Since I’m not an English major I try to keep things even by taking some science/math and one English. Being a writer I often feel like there are so many amazing resources and I hope you figure out which classes work for your schedule that you will enjoy.

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