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Al Filreis
Kelly Professor of English, University of Pennsylvania
Faculty Director, The Kelly Writers House
Director, Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing

Pennsylvania Professor of the Year


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AL FILREIS, a specialist in modern and contemporary American poetry and the literary politics of the American 1930s and 1950s, has published an edition of Wallace Stevens's correspondence with Jose Rodriguez Feo (Secretaries of the Moon, 1986), two books on American poetry, articles on modern poetry and painting and on cold-war literary politics. Stevens and the Actual World was published by Princeton University Press in 1991. Another book, Modernism from Right to Left, was published in 1994 by Cambridge University Press. His new edition of Ira Wolfert's Tucker's People has been published by Illinois. He is currently writing a literary history of the idea of modernism in the American 1950s called The Fifties' Thirties. Aside from teaching modern American poetry, he has offered a series of courses on twentieth-century American decades, and another on the literature of the Holocaust. Here is a full curriculum vitae. He is a winner of the Lindback Award, and the Ira Abrams Award, and was chosen as the 1999 Pennsylvania Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation; he describes his pedagogy as an obsession with oppositions; he is certain that how we teach is as important as what. He also has certain convictions about what a fully integrated curriculum, using the newest technologies, would look like--founded on several assumptions about what's wrong with universities. He has long advocated a "distributed computing environment" in which computing support is actually distributed. (By 1996 the residential computing support project expanded and by 1998 had become universalized.) He has written an essay on "teaching the conflicts" in special relation to anticommunism, short pieces on frets about the death of the book and on re-reading Primo Levi, delivered a paper on cold-war poetry,
Robert Creeley as a Writers House Fellow. For more info, click the image.
wrote a short essay commemorating the work of Jerre Mangione, speculated in a Penn-wide publication on "a culture of writing", co-led a well-received collaborative Educom session with Jim O'Donnell, featuring Penn students and staff using technology as a means (it turns out) of deepening the university's intellectual community, and prepared a video presentation on why he always uses listservs in teaching. He discussed online learning in an interview for "The Best of Our Knowledge" on NPR in 2001 (a recording in MP3 format is linked here). Serving for many years as Chairman of the Provost's Classroom Facilities Review Committee he came to see potential dynamism in the traditional teaching space, and at moments of extremity calls for the end of the lecture as we know it. As part of "The Don't Be Late: 60-Second Lecture & What's for Lunch Series" he gave a lecture on this topic. His efforts at integrating pedagogy and experimental poetry were featured in an article by James O'Neill in the Philadelphia Inquirer Magazine in August 2001.

AL FILREIS also...

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