Professor Al Filreis says, “Poetry isn’t dead,” and 180,000 students agree

Photograph by Eric Sucar for University of Pennsylvania

John Marchese, a writer at Philadelphia Magazine, reflects on the course Modern & Contemporary American Poetry (a.k.a. “ModPo”), which is taught by Penn professor Al Filreis and offered on the digital learning platform, Coursera.

Adapted from an English course he had taught for about 25 years, Filreis says ModPo gives him the “chance to be a teacher on behalf of tens of thousands of people who would not ordinarily be my students.” Since the course’s launch in 2012, more than 180,000 students from around the world have enrolled, and Marchese notes that it’s become a movement on its own with a “charismatic leader…contingent of disciples…and a shrine: Kelly Writers House.”

Read Marchese’ article about the ModPo experience, from the poets students discover and rediscover, to the sense of cultish community that Filreis has been building since the course’s inception.

Read “Why Are 30,000 People Studying Poetry Online With This Guy?” at the Philadelphia Magazine website.