Skip to content

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

OEIT - Office of Educational Innovation and Technology

Facebooks Twitter

C Varenhorst

Al Filries: how to teach poetry to 36,000 people

December 3, 2012

On December 10, at 5:30pm in 6-120, Al Filreis will be talking about how to teach Modern & Contemporary American Poetry to 36,000 students. Filreis's talk is part of the "Purple Blurb" series co-sponsored by the SHASS Dean's Office and the Literature Department.

Professor Filreis has taught his "ModPo" course at Penn for years; in Fall 2012 he offered a 10-week version of the course online, via Coursera, to more than 36,000 students. The course, as in its previous versions, does not include lectures, being based instead on discussion - the collaborative close readings of poems. The course grows out of Filreis's work at the Kelly Writers House; he has been Faculty Director of this literary freespace since its founding in 1995. Filreis is also co-founder of PennSound, the Web's main free archive of poetry readings, publisher of Jacket2 magazine, and producer and host of "PoemTalk," a podcast/radio series of close readings of poems. In conversation with Nick Montfort, Filreis will discuss ModPo and his perspective on writing, teaching, and digital media.

Filreis is Kelly Professor of English and Director of the Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of Wallace Stevens and the Actual World, Modernism from Right to Left, Counter-Revolution of the Word: The Conservative Attack on Modernism, 1945-60, and other works. He was chosen as Pennsylvania Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation in 2000.

Co-sponsored by the SHASS Dean's Office and the Literature Section.

All Purple Blurb events are free and open to the public. The Purple Blurb series is supported by the Angus N. MacDonald fund and Writing and Humanistic Studies.


Office of Educational Innovation and Technology
Building NE48-308, Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
Phone: (617) 252-1981; Fax: (617) 452-4044