JULY 11, 2014 6:05AM

MOOCs: PoemTalk, a multidisciplinary approach to poetry love

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For some years now I have been absconding to PennSound (PENNSound ) and Jacket2 Magazine to listen to serious poetry.
I discovered Kelly's Writer's House and PennSound as part of my enrollment on a MOOC in Modern and Contemporary Poetry (ModPo) provided by PENN. My experience was revelatory; here was and is a mature and multi-faceted teaching approach to poetry as literary form.
Modern and Contemporary Poetry at PENN brings  in archive and audio materials from The Poetry FoundationPENNSound, and The Kelly Writer's House. ModPo even brings in working poets like Charles Bernstein to discuss poetry modules.
Some of the work involved in the ModPo Coursera occurs in real time, once enrolled the archives and audiobanks are always accessible to the student. The PENNSound and Jacket2 archives are not by any means limited to this Coursera, they are  available online, and a real trove for the writer.
I had been a regular visitor to Jacket2 Magazine, the Nomadics  site (Pierre Joris) and Harriet: The Blog (Poetry Foundation) before I decided to take the course. Al Filreis is a wonderful teacher, I left the Modpo Coursera with a desire to see multi-disciplinary teaching approaches to poetry as literary form occur in Ireland. I also left the course with a copy of My Emily Dickinson by Susan Howe, with thanks to Al.
While discussion on MOOCs is often mired in controversy, participating in ModPo showed me how poetry can be explored and taught using existent archive materials, how its reading is a continuing joy for me, and how audio archiving is invaluable to the study of poetry.
There is a PENN ModPo starting again soon, I recommmend it to those who want to see how online book groups, discussion forums, and use of already established audiobanks can reduce the narrow and conservative view of poetry promulgated by a media that seems up its own arse when it comes to review and dissemination of literary works.
In short, I recommend that those Irish editors who sit on our poetry archives and who have not thought to create an Irish audiobank, get in touch with ModPo and study how to teach and disseminate our literary heritage in a manner that cracks open poetry as form. Our archives have limited accessibility and we do not have a national poetry audiobank. In Ireland we do have the teaching materials and expertise, though doubtless hosting a MOOC on Irish Poetry would involve a steep learning curve. I suppose that the issue here is approach.
Is there a lack of generosity in how we view the teaching of poetics in Ireland ?
Or is there simply a lack of will that refuses to open up and share Irish poetry's rich heritage beyond the university campus, the narrow prevalence of the anthology periphery, and the occasional socially funded soapbox derby like Culture Night ?
I am unsure of answers to the above but I feel we are  doing a disservice to a huge part of Irish cultural history, this requires remedy before poetry becomes a pastime, a  toy-strewn sandbox based in a few limited reviews in media, and the production of the odd tourist-driven anthology. 


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Although I have enjoyed and been fascinated with the magic use of words in poetry I never started to try writing it until recently. I wonder about trying to publish. It is not a popular commercial literary form and the processes for attempting publishing seem far more troublesome than the effort is worth. Perhaps this is because my taste in form is rather old fashioned and some of the modern stuff that I see on the web is either a form of self psychoanalysis with moderate if any delight in words themselves or what seems merely a collage of unrelated impressions not too far literally from the visual experiments of Jackson Pollock. The only course in writing poetry I ever took at New York University was totally useless so I never had an honest evaluation of my output. I have put some pieces on the web but most comments, approving or otherwise were little aligned from professional points of view. That leaves me totally at sea floating in uncertainty.
Put a link up here ! I am fascinated with words and quite non-commercial in my output. I am with indy publishers which gives me a lovely playroom and experimental space.

I find traditional publishers tend toward (almost) shattered , non-narrative and piecemeal work: shards and images. There should be room for set-pieces, sequences, narrative and even epic poetry. I find the current approach to publication constrictive.
Some of my early poems can be found at http://www.poemhunter.com/members/mpoems/default.asp?show=poems
I tried that link and it didn't work.
This one seems better:

I'd like to put two or three of them onto my Poethead blog, if possible.
[r] interesting links, thanks, Christina. Will explore. best, libby
christine not christina, tired eyes.
Thanks Libby. I was *almost* Christyna' (pronounced Chris-tie-na) after my great-grandmother, but my parents relented at the font.

There are about 140 poems in that group but if you're really interested I could send you all of my stuff on a disk, near a thousand.

Feel free to use them as you will but it would please me to accredit them to me.
Hi Jan , I accredit all the poets on my index : http://poethead.wordpress.com/index-of-women-poets/