ModPo’s offseason (November 20, 2017—September 8, 2018); aka “SloPo”

The annual “symposium mode” of ModPo ends on November 20th (this coming Monday) with our “Final Words” webcast starting at 10:30 AM Philadelphia time.

ModPo is unusual among MOOCs* for many reasons. One is that we are always open. All the poems and videos and other materials are available all year. And we will be adding new materials constantly—to ModPoPLUS, to the Teacher Resource Center (TRC), and to the CCCR syllabus (Community Collaborative Close Readings).

The next 10-week “symposium mode” week-by-week movement through the course (all of us together) will begin on Saturday, September 8, 2018.

From November 20, 2017 until that day, we are in what ModPo people like to call the “SloPo” season. During that time, groups of people tend to gather in the discussions to organize “slow” close readings through poems by (for instance) one poet, or one poem, or two poems seen in comparison, etc. Many of these discussions are organized spontaneously.

The ModPo team at the Writers House also organizes a series of “SloPo” mini-courses. Anyone is welcome to join these. If you have friends, colleagues, family members who are intrigued by these mini-courses, please by all means tell them about it—and they can simply enroll in ModPo (always free, always open any time of the year) and join us.

Many of last year’s SloPo mini-courses can be found HERE (scroll down on the main discussion forums page and click on “SloPo”).

I will announce each new SloPo mini-course as soon as details (dates etc.) are ready.

For now I’m happy to announce a few off-season ModPo mini-courses (all free, no charge)—details about dates and forum locations coming later:

  • Jake Marmer will lead a mini-course on Anne Waldman (late January)
  • Davy Knittle will lead a mini-course on Elizabeth Willis (February)
  • erica kaufman and Joe Massey will each lead mini-courses (topics and time TBA)

And here are two SloPo mini-courses for which we have all details ready. To enroll in either or both of these, send a message to

  • I (Al Filreis) will lead a 4-week discussion group—in a special forum in the ModPo site—on the short poems of Bernadette MayerDecember 4-18 and then (after a holiday break) January 3-17. Enroll by writing to giving your name & email address & be sure to mention your ModPo affiliation.
  • Max McKenna & erica kaufman will lead a 4-week discussion group on Poetry & Pedagogy—also in a special ModPo forum. See below for a description of this topic. Enroll by writing to, giving your name, email address & mentioning ModPo affiliation.

Hope to see many of you on Monday at Final Words!


further description of Max & erica’s mini-course:

This winter, Modern and Contemporary American Poetry (ModPo)’s Teacher Resource Center coordinators and ModPo TAs, erica kaufman and Max McKenna, will lead a month-long discussion on poetry and pedagogy. Building off of our rich conversations in the TRC, we will take a closer look at some of the concepts, poets, and teachers that inform ModPo’s pedagogical approach. Some of the thinkers we’ll explore will include: Joan Retallack, Juliana Spahr, John Cage, Charles Bernstein, and Amiri Baraka. We welcome all interested participants–you do not need to be a teacher to participate in this group. We encourage everyone to contribute to and join us in the TRC this fall in preparation for this off-season discussion. As always, any and all suggestions of readings and topics are appreciated! The session will be conducted inside the ModPo site. Those not already enrolled in ModPo can do so here:

[*] MOOC = massive open online course

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