Class Central is learner-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Modern American Poetry

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign via Coursera


Twelve experienced faculty members from across the United States present their analyses of ground-breaking modern American poets in richly illustrated video lectures.

The course highlights both major poets—from Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson through T.S. Eliot, H.D., Amy Lowell, Hart Crane, Langston Hughes, Muriel Rukeyser, and many others—and influential movements. The course mixes historical overview with close readings of individual poets and poems. Most courses give only one instructor’s point of view. This one matches the diversity of US poetry with lectures by a score of talented faculty. They bring their special perspective to the material while also presenting a coherent view of more than fifty years of US poetry.

Throughout the course the lectures are illustrated with vivid images of the events, people, and places mentioned in the poems themselves. Readings by both the poets themselves and experienced faculty highlight the texts. On screen displays of text and quotations make it easy to follow the material. This is a course that takes advantage of the medium to bring you sights and sounds that would be difficult to incorporate in classroom lectures.


  • Orientation
  • Module 1
    • Reassessing Modernism's Origins
  • Module 2
    • The Difference Women Made
  • Module 3
    • Poetry's Social Voice
  • Module 4
    • Modernism's Legacies

Taught by

Cary Nelson


3.0 rating, based on 1 Class Central review

4.4 rating at Coursera based on 100 ratings

Start your review of Modern American Poetry

  • Ben Curtis
    This is a very traditional course with content read by professors from papers, not like real lectures for the most part. But some of the content was really interesting for me--I was glad to see Hart Crane and Muriel Rukeyser not being slighted as so…

Never Stop Learning.

Get personalized course recommendations, track subjects and courses with reminders, and more.