No-Comfort Zone Week ending Oct. 14

For this week, of course, the challenge continued to be ModPo. We began with Ruth Lechlitner and Genevieve Taggart, and then proceeded to Harlem Renaissance poets Countee Cullen and Claude

Portrait of Countee Cullen in Central Park. Ju...

McKay. And Gwendolyn Brooks.

Next we went in a slightly different, rather Anti-modernist direction with Robert Frost’s Mending Wall. We watched a YouTube discussion about that with Bob Perelman, Rachel Blau Du Plessis, John Timpane and Taije Silverman, ably hosted by Professor Al Filreis.

I haven’t quite finished up Week 5 yet, as I still have two videos to watch. One is a discussion of Richard Wilbur‘s Cottage Street, 1953 and then X.J. Kennedy‘s ekphrastic poem on Duchamp’s painting by the same name, Nude Descending a Staircase.

Robert Frost, Dartmouth 1896.

Robert Frost, Dartmouth 1896. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is the stone wall at Frost's farm in Derr...

This is the stone wall at Frost’s farm in Derry, New Hampshire, which he described in “Mending Wall.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But I have done Wilbur’s The Death of a Toad, (1950).

Looking forward to the coming week as we begin to look at The Beats.

Also this week I am restarting the Complete Health Improvement Program, CHIP, originated by Dr. Hans Diehl. Need a refresher, and need to be more focused this time around.

Haven’t managed to keep up with The Southeast Review’s 30-day Regimen, but that will be waiting for me when I am done the ModPo course. Then it will be time to get back to my own writing!


Carol A. Stephen

This week my challenge was to start a 10-week course through Coursera

on Modern and Contemporary American Poetry given through the University of Pennsylvania. (ModPoPenn). This is a free course offered via a MOOC platform, or Massive Open Online Course.

Why massive? Well, there are more than 20,000 registered students. Yes, that’s right. Twenty thousand.

I had read about this back sometime in the early summer, and it sounded like a good course that would fill in the many gaps I have in my knowledge of American Poetry. I’ve heard of various schools like the Language Poets, the Post-Moderns, the Experimental.

But I wasn’t clear on what those were, or who belonged to which group.A week in now, and it has been wonderful, amazing, somewhat overwhelming. The number of discussions and posts going on make it hard to know where to focus, but I think I have a better idea how things will go from now on. Certainly I can’t read or respond to every post. So I will have to choose among them.

Already I have learned yet another term, proto-modernists, as we study Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

and Walt Whitman. They are leading us into

Steel engraving of Walt Whitman. Published in ...

Steel engraving of Walt Whitman. Published in 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Modern Poetry. In spite of how well-known these poets are, I have to admit to not reading them before. So it is interesting to read two different poets, both of whom were moving away from what was then the popular approach to writing poetry.

Thanks to Professor Al Filreis and the TA’s who are looking after us and guiding us along through the maze of the MOOC and the labyrinths of these two amazing poets!