ModPo update: get ready for the Beats (week 6)
Week 6 starts tomorrow!
Some people have posted in the ModPo forums and on Facebook that they don’t quite know what to do about being unable to keep up with the ten weeks of the course. My short answer is: “Don’t worry about it. Do what you can, even if that’s just a poem or two during the current week. ModPo is open all year and you can always come back to read more poems and watch more videos.” That’s the short answer. A longer answer you will find in a message from me soon, tomorrow or the next day.
But, for now, back to week 6…
The contrast between our week 6 poets and those of chapters 5 and 6 of week 5 (Frost and the neo-formalists) could hardly be more dramatic. Just these two ideas alone (from Jack Kerouac’s “Belief & Technique…” list) give you a sense of the big turn we’re taking for a new generation of experimentation and innovation: (1) “In tranced fixation dreaming upon object before you / (2) Remove literary, grammatical and syntactical inhibition.” A real break from conformity. Then again, “fixation…upon object” in some ways takes the Beats back to the first generation of 20th-century modernism—to the practice of imagists.
Well, topics and issues we encounter in and through the poems of weeks 6 through 10 are going to take us back, again and again, to the poets we’ve already read and discussed—even as the later poets push innovation to its edges. Personally, I think that aspect of the second half of ModPo is especially fascinating.
Our webcast this week is on Wednesday at noon, and, as I’ve mentioned, we will be joined by Angela Carr and Rae Armantrout. (And, as I’ve also mentioned, Rae will be reading—presumably from her new book, Wobble—at 6 PM at the Kelly Writers House—an event that will of course be streamed live on “KWH-TV.”)
If you are with us for a second or third or Nth year, I urge you, with great excitement, to take a look at the ModPoPLUS syllabus for week 6, where you will find poems by and videos about Clark Coolidge, Edwin Torres, Helen Adam, Frank Lima, Elise Cowen (her Beat poem about Emily Dickinson!), ruth weiss, Bob Kaufman (some say he was the truest of Beats), Joanne Kyger, Philip Whalen & others. (A brunch of these videos were filmed “on location” in San Francisco.)
Singin’ High-Ridge hi-party Hi-Fi million-dollar findriver skinfish Rod Tong Apple Finder John Sun Ford goodby Paw mule America Song, I remain your faithful MOOC-making