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watch video on Emily Dickinson's "I dwell in Possibility"

Course video 1 of 106

<p><strong>Week 1 of ModPo 2019 runs from Saturday, September 7 at 9 AM through Sunday, September 15 at 9 AM.</strong> For those doing ModPo on their own or in small groups, the week 1 materials are open and available all year. </p><p>In this first week of our course, we'll encounter two 19th-century American poets whose quite different approaches to verse similarly challenged the official verse culture of the time. As a matter of form (but also of content), Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson were radicals. What sort of radicalism is this? In a way, this course is all about exploring expressions of that radicalism from Whitman and Dickinson to the present day. Such challenges to official verse culture (and often U.S. culture at large) present us with a lineage of ideas about art and expression, a tradition that can be outlined, mostly followed, somewhat traced. In this course, we follow, to the best of our ability — and given the limits of time — that tradition and try to make overall sense of it. </p><p>You will find that we do this one poem at a time. Here in week 1, we will explore Dickinson first, Whitman second, and then begin to sketch out the major differences between them, which, some say, amount to two opposite ends of the spectrum of poetic experimentalism and dissent in the nineteenth century. Which is to say: on the spectrum of traditional-to-experimental poetry, these two poets are on the same end (experimental); on the spectrum of experimentalism, their approaches can put them on opposite ends. In short, they offer us alternative poetic radicalisms, and their influences down the line (which we will explore in week 2) are both powerful but are also largely distinct. One question you'll be prepared to ask by the end of the course: Is the Dickinsonian or the Whitmanian tradition more ascendant and apt in today's experimental poetry? </p><p><strong>ASSIGNMENTS</strong>: During this week, there are two quizzes due (see below); there are no writing assignments or peer reviews due. There is a live webcast on Wednesday, September 11, 2019, at 3 PM (Philadelphia time).</p>

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