Sunday, November 18, 2012

ModPo is finished, but ongoing

It is with some sense of sadness that I note the ending of the ten week ModPo course this week. Though it does mean I can now catch up on the rapidly growing stack of alternate reading material awaiting my attention, I'll miss the guided, well-structured close readings; the immersion into the avant garde, and above all the camaraderie of poetry enthusiasts from around the world. Our discussion forum will remain open for a year, and poetrypanicked students are busy trying to set up ongoing variations on ModPo - with mini study groups, self-run podcasts, anthologies - you name it so the fun won't end. I'm excited about being involved in some of those, but also excited about now feeling capable of tackling some of the poetry already on my bookshelf that has perplexed me in the past (and writing some of my own - a deadline is fast looming...).  One resource that we've used throughout the course is Jacket2. There's a whole year's worth of amazing work and analyses to explore on that site and I urge you to go and check it out. On the front page today is a dozen of Australia's most respected poets from the ongoing "Fifty-one contemporary poets from Australia". If you aren't sure where to begin, try the wonderful Judith Bishop ("The sky/would pool in our hands"). I'll be doing a whole feature on her pretty soon (and hopefully chatting with her in person in the near future - more on that later - don't want to spill the beans before I'm allowed to). I can't begin to praise the ModPo gang enough - and in particular, the great Al Filreis, who, throughout this amazing course, has created a perfectly wonderful syllabus, recognised and remembered everyone's name, and who has always taken the time to guide us, gracefully, to our own answers. He's the kind of teacher who makes people (and by people I mean me) want to spend a lifetime studying Literature. If you missed the first ModPo, you can register sometime soon for the next class here: You won't regret it.

I'm going to end this week's Poetry Monday with Tracie Morris' "Afrika". Morris herself joined us on the forums (along with many other of the poets we were studying including Christian Bök, Kenneth Goldsmith, Jackson Mac Low, Jenna Osman, Ron Silliman, Charles Bernstein, Lyn Hejinian, oh my...I half expected Emily Dickinson to put in an appearance) and responded, with enthusiasm and warmth, to nearly every post on her work (including those that were confused and uncomfortable). Her voice on this piece is quite extraordinary - shocking and familiar all at the same time. I'm not sure I would have been able to listen to it before doing ModPo. Now, this work leaves me breathless. "It all started..."


  1. Thanks, Magdalena. I enjoyed your participation too.

  2. Wasn't Tracie Morris's poem/performance remarkable? What a way to end the course! You describe Al's teaching approach beautifully. I join with you in recommending anyone and everyone to take this course next time it's on offer. Good luck catching up with your reading. I know just what you mean!

    Warm regards,

    Sue Scheid