Hi, this is Al and I'm going to introduce chapter one, week one. First week, we'll be talking about the poems (some poems) by Emily Dickinson and mainly Song of Myself (many sections of Song of Myself) by Walt Whitman. And the second week, as you already know, we'll be considering some more contemporary,more modern and contemporaryDickinsonians (people writing in the Dickinsonian tradition whatever that is) and several people, key people, in the Whitmanian line - William Carlos Williams and Allen Ginsberg just as examples.
At the end of each week for the first two weeks - each week of chapter one, that is - there'll be a video recording you'll see that consists of a discussion about preferences for Whitman or Dickinson. This isjust a chance to air out the distinctions and differences between those two poets. It's a silly binarism and there's no need to choose one over the other, obviously, but we find that it's useful - when looking at proto-modernism, these two remarkable and in their own way radical poets - useful to think of them as distinct enough to state preferences for one or the other. Whitman an extensive poet,Dickinson an intensive poet; Whitman a poet of long lines and Dickinson a poet of succinct, short, pithy, torqued aphorisms as lines; Dickinson mostly using the ballad form, Whitman using free verse, etc. These are distinctions and after the first week you'll see us talk about the differences between the two and and the only point of that is to invite you to participate in a discussion about thesetwo proto-modernists using the discussion forum to continue that debate.
While I'm on the topic of the discussion forums, this is where most of the action will take place in ModPo and I hope you'll go to it maybe right now while you're listening to this, you'll click to the discussion forums and you'll see that currently they are set up, a series of sub forums are set up, these are the majorplaces or sites where we'll talk. And there will always be one for the week, the current week's discussions, and then there's a spot for general discussion which can be about poetry generally or really about absolutely anything you wanna talk about. The third forum at the moment - but this will change in different positions - is the instructor and TA's forum. We may or may not stick with this, butthe idea here is to create a space where it's easy for you, in a class of thirty thousand people, to find your instructor - myself - and the TAs saying things. It's true that any individuals - and this is a virtue possibly of the MOOC - any individual comments in the large discussion forums, the open ones, can get lost and some of you will prefer to see the specific comments of your instructor, sothis is a place where students can't post and you'll be able to easily discern what the instructor and TAs are saying by way of guidance, answering questions.
The next discussion forum is for study groups and this is your chance to plan to meet up, to find affinities - linguistic, geographical affinities - really to get to know each other and I hope that there will be many study groups formedamong the ModPo people. And then below that, you'll see subforums for discussions of previous chapters. And if you click on that after the first week, you'll see that the week to week discussion forums will be made into subforums. and if the system works the way we want it to and you'll be able to go to that and look at the old discussions and continue discussing them, but we didn't want the oldweeks to clutter up the discussion forum. If you click on week one, chapter one Discussing Dickinson and Whitman you will notice that we've set up subforums for each of the poems we'll discuss and then there's the general forum for Discussing Dickinson and Whitman in general and we hope that you will help us by semi-organizing your responses to the material and to video presentations by going into...