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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Modern American Poetry by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

53 ratings
15 reviews

About the Course

Twelve experienced faculty members from across the United States present their analyses of ground-breaking modern American poets in richly illustrated video lectures. The course highlights both major poets—from Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson through T.S. Eliot, H.D., Amy Lowell, Hart Crane, Langston Hughes, Muriel Rukeyser, and many others—and influential movements. The course mixes historical overview with close readings of individual poets and poems. Most courses give only one instructor’s point of view. This one matches the diversity of US poetry with lectures by a score of talented faculty. They bring their special perspective to the material while also presenting a coherent view of more than fifty years of US poetry. Throughout the course the lectures are illustrated with vivid images of the events, people, and places mentioned in the poems themselves. Readings by both the poets themselves and experienced faculty highlight the texts. On screen displays of text and quotations make it easy to follow the material. This is a course that takes advantage of the medium to bring you sights and sounds that would be difficult to incorporate in classroom lectures....

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1 - 14 of 14 Reviews for Modern American Poetry

By Ruth M

Apr 15, 2016

Although I'm only the first week, there are two main comments I'd like to make.

Firstly, why are the lectures sub-divided with the ridiculous, overlong, and irritating introduction for each section. In lesson one, this was repeated 11 times. What a waste of time!

Secondly, the transcripts are in rich text, which is basically unreadable, has no line breaks, which makes reading the poems impossible, and the transcripts are poorly transcribed, making them illiterate.

I feel I may not continue with the course for these reasons, even though the content is really interesting.

This is the worst presented MOOC I have encountered.....I have completed 6, and am undertaking another 2, with edxcel and with futurelearn

By Joseph W

Sep 20, 2016

This iteration of the course (August-September 2016) fizzled because so few students were actively participating. Early in the course, I worked diligently on my written contributions to the discussion forums, but then there was so little peer response that I gradually came to understand that I was mostly just talking to myself. Halfway through the course, I gave up on the forums.

But I read all the poems, viewed the videos and took the quizzes. The quizzes are lame, the poetry selection is great, and the video lectures are all worthwhile.

I had initial misgivings about some of the videos. The improvised round-table discussions of meta-poems by Dickinson, Stevens and Mullen (module 4, lesson 4) initially seemed too colloquial and not incisive, but then I realized they had value as models for how to grope into an initial understanding of a strange poem. The lecture on Hart Crane (module 1, lesson 4) was too difficult for me to follow in real-time spoken form, but then I found I could understand some of it by frequently stopping and starting the video, re-reading the lecture text in transcript, and taking long breaks for careful review of Crane's verse and for research about some of its allusions and associations. That lecture might have made more sense in purely written form, and I wonder if it was so daunting that it scared off some of the students who started the course.

As a whole, the course managed a satisfying balance between discussion of the poetry itself and discussion of the social and economic contexts in which the poetry was created and consumed. I especially appreciated the clarity of Karen Ford's many lectures and Tim Newcomb's lively and enthusiastic investigation of the role of little magazines in the 1910s & 1920s.

By AndreaC

Sep 12, 2017

Great Lectures, big content, high academic level But...

Lectures are deeply dull: all but 5 or 6 (on nearly 70) are long static videos of a lecturer speaking like he/she is reading, sometimes even robot-like speeches, no cacthy at all.

Sessions are based on Peer Evaluation, but often to find peers is a problem. I worked hard to do my assignment on time, then I had to switch sessions because no one was assessing my work.

By James T

Nov 15, 2016

A class on Modern American Poetry and Ezra Pound was only treated secondarily? Crazy!

As well, much of my time on recommended reading was spent looking for the poetry. Why are there no links to the poetry we are learning about?

By Steven P

Jul 14, 2017

I don't have time and money to complete the course but this was so enlightening and a great intro to Modern American Poetry. There were a lot of things I didn't even realize I didn't know. This makes me definitely more eager to investigate more! Thank you so much for this opportunity.

By Diana K

May 12, 2018

I am really grateful for being a part of this course. It was a wonderful experience! All professors are unique and all the lectures are thought-provoking and creative.

By Liam G

Aug 06, 2016

In depth, and eye opening to many American poets. A great mind expander and real introduction to the poetry of the Native Americans. Brilliant.

By Claude C

Jun 15, 2020

very intense but excellent a either an introduction or anyone wishing to gain more in-depth knowledge

By Nancy R

Feb 13, 2020

This course was challanging and I loved it

By Moshe S

Jun 10, 2016

Top quality lectures, so far....

By Eric O

Jun 22, 2016

A pretty good overview of modern poetry. Very high on generalities and low on details - like detailed readings of individual poems.

The fact the the majority of the instructors just read their lectures and many of them never look up at the camera at all makes this seem very lazy and impersonal. There's very little of the engagement that would really make this interesting.

By Joy S

Jan 13, 2017

Good overall review: I encountered stuff I did not know before. Just a little highbrow.

By Shabab N K

Oct 27, 2016

It was really hard to complete the course as not enough peer reviewers were there. Had to switch sessions twice.

By Ritsumei

Feb 06, 2020

I'm interested in the good, the beautiful, and the true. This course wallows in the ugly, the nonsensical, and the ribald. Pass, thanks.