Week 8 begins!
Welcome to week 8, our brief encounter with the Language poets. The final three weeks of ModPo constitute what we call “chapter 9.” First chapter 9.1, week 8, is indeed about the Language poets. Then chapter 9.2, week 9, is about chance-generated or aleatory or “non-intentional” poetry. Finally, chapter 9.3, week 10, is an introduction to the wide variety of “conceptual” poetry and poetics. Below you’ll find an overview of these three weeks.
You can find the same overview, plus a headnote to week 8 in particular, at the top of the week 8 syllabus page HERE.
If you feel lost or in any way need guidance, or even just a supportive word, please stop in at the week 8 “hopelessly lost” thread HERE. We are all there to help you figure out how to deal with this open-ended, non-narrative poetry, which will strike some folks as especially “difficult.” The TAs’ office hours are also perfect, of course, for receiving guidance.
For those who are doing ModPo for a 2nd, 3rd or Nth time, I highly recommend a visit to the ModPoPLUS (supplemental) syllabus for week 8. So much there to find, including some poems and videos recently added.
During week 8 we are also offering comments on or reviews of essays ModPo people have posted in response to essay assignment #3. Our hope, as usual, is to provide at least four responses to each essays. Even if you yourself have not written an essay on Eileen Myles’s “The Honey Bear,” please, please read the poem and choose at least four essays to review.
Our live webcast this week will take place on Wednesday at 3 PM.
Mulling things over in the restless world like this is,
AN OVERVIEW OF THE FINAL THREE WEEKS OF MODPO:
We spend our final three weeks surveying three related groupings of experimental poetry, covering recent decades to the present. In week 8 (chapter 9.1), we look at the so-called “Language Poetry” movement as it emerged in the San Francisco Bay area and New York in the 1970s and early 1980s. In week 9 (chapter 9.2), we turn to chance-generated and aleatory and quasi-nonintentional writing. In week 10 (chapter 9.3), we look at the recent emergence (or resurgence) of conceptual and appropriative — supposedly ‘uncreative’ — poetry. Several of the 9.2 poets follow directly from the innovations of the 9.1 Language poets. A few of the 9.3 conceptualists see themselves as breaking away from Language poetry and embrace a “post-avant” status, while others see a continuity from modernism through Language and aleatory writing to conceptualism. The extent to which all these poets — but especially the 9.1 and 9.2 poets — show their indebtedness to modernists such as Duchamp, Stein, Williams, and the proto-modernist Dickinson does suggest that our course is the study of a line or lineage of experimental American poetry continuing out of modernism.