No-Comfort Zone Week ending October 7, 2012

Today marks the last day of week 4, ModPo. This course continues to be my main focus, and a challenge too. We have now handed in two assignments and studied quite a few Proto-Modern and Modern poets. We’ve looked at Imagists, including Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, eaten plums with William Carlos Williams

English: Passport photograph of American poet ...

and visited In a Station in the Metro with Ezra Pound. We’ve gone to A Supermarket in California with Allen Ginsberg. We’ve taken a look at Marcel Duchamp‘s inverted urinal,

Fountain from Marcel Duchamp

Fountain, and puzzled over his Nude Descending a Staircase.

At the next stop, we paused to read from Tender Buttons by Gertrude Stein, pondering Water Raining and Malachite, The Long Dress.

Portrait of Gertrude Stein, with American flag...


We stopped awhile to hear her as she recited If I Told Him, then continued on to a mad barroom with the Baroness Elsa von Freytag Loringhoven. We even attempted creating our own Dadaist poem following Tristan Tzara‘s instruction, before pausing to rest on a sonnet by John Peale Bishop, A Recollection. Check that one out, looking for its hidden and impolite message!

By the way, here are some  Kelly Writers House folks, shown below. Looks like it was an interesting event!

English: Participants at a Kelly Writers House...

English: Participants at a Kelly Writers House event honoring Gertrude Stein (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Next week, we review this week’s assignments before moving along to Ruth Lechlitner and Genevieve Taggard. Then we visit Countee Cullen, Claude McKay and Robert Frost. And quickly along to Richard Wilbur and  X.J. Kennedy. All of these poets are new to me, except of course for Robert Frost. But I am not familiar with the poem we ‘ll study, Mending Wall.  All in all, a busy week coming up!

All photos courtesy Wikipedia where not otherwise stated.

No-Comfort Zone Week Ending Sept. 23 2012

This week, I have continued with the Modern and Contemporary American Poetry course on Coursera, learning how to participate in a class that is bigger than my small town, at least population-wise. Al Filreisis the professor, and I send my thanks to him and to his great teaching assistants over at Kelly Writers House (and what a nice house that is!)

Kelly Writers House at the University of Penns...

Kelly Writers House at the University of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve made another small breakthrough I think. Instead of worrying about the first assignment and fretting

that it is not “perfect”, I decided that to keep sane and up-to -date (well, almost!) I would need to let it be, and hand in well before the deadline.Starting tomorrow, we have to review our fellow students’ work.  Each of us has to do at least four. It will be interesting to see the different interpretations of Dickinson’s “I taste a liquor never brewed“.

Emily Dickinson

English: Passport photograph of American poet ...

This week, we’ve tackled Allan Ginsberg, William Carlos Williams, Lorine Niedecker, Cid Corman and Rae Armantrout. Some of the poets I’ve never heard of before, so that is quite fun. For the coming week, looks like we are heavily into WCW, including Red Wheelbarrow

Little Red WheelbarrowChicken Coop

and This Is Just to Say

… I once took a silly Facebook quiz: What Poem Would You Be? and that poem is the one that is apparently me. Or I am it…

Plums in basket

Plums in basket (Photo credit: Wikipedia)