Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Benjamin Anastas Make-Up Work

Select a piece from Todd Slaughter's American Primitives and discuss how it might suggest some of the principles of Emerson or Anastas. Remember to extend the conversation, by making your own observations.  200 words minimum

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Writing Fiction Update

As you all know, Tuesday marks the beginning of our next round. Group One will distribute on that day and we will go over the stories and give back our fully-developed notes and letters to the authors on that day. (Sound here of a throat being cleared) Won't we?

Also, I would like for you to have read and be ready to discuss (or have a quiz on) the following pieces:

On experimental prose or micro fictions:
Michael Martone's Contributor's Note
Review of Michael Martone's Project: Four for a Quarter.
The Russel Edson pieces here:  (All)

Also, please read (all of these titles can be found in the above link.
A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner
A Clean, Well-lighted Place by Ernest Hemingway
There Will Come Soft Rains by Ray Bradbury

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Types of Meter

n poetry, a foot is a measure used when two or more beats get together in a recognizable pattern. Here are some of the most common:
  • Iamb: one-two
  • Trochee: one-two
  • Anapest: one-two-three
  • Dactyl: one-two-three
  • Spondee: one-two
There's a little poem I learned to remember the first four:
The iamb saunters through my book
Trochees rush and tumble
While the anapest runs like a hurrying brook
Dactyls are stately and classical
It takes a little more work to use a spondee, since you have to choose words that can't be unaccented in a line. For example, the phrase "dead weight," which generally can't be shortcutted to deadweight or deadweight but will be read dead... weight.


The one everyone knows the name of is Iambic Pentameter. Since "penta" means "five," this means "a line with five iambic feet." William Shakespeare was known for using this one in English free verse, which means the rhythm stayed pretty steady but there were few to no specific rhymes. Bear in mind, too, that just because you set out to write Iambic Pentameter (or any other meter) doesn't mean that you have to use an iamb as every single foot. Shakespeare certainly didn't! You can substitute a trochee at times, or a spondee for emphasis; you might even add some syllables to make one of the longer feet. The number of stressed beats per line, and the major pattern staying iambic, that's what makes Iambic Pentameter. But what you're aiming for is a line that sounds as if someone were actually talking - nothing forced or unnatural about it. That's what's really great about Iambic Pentameter: It sounds a lot like just regular ol' English. Now, as far as other meters: Just pick the number of feet you want. There are names for each (Tetrameter - four; Hexameter - six), but you don't need to worry about the names too much. Now, as far as common usage, a couple good ones are:
  • Four feet per line
  • Four feet the first line, three feet the next line
    • This one forms the basis of many hymns
  • Six feet per line
  • Six feet the first line, five feet the next line

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Contemporary Lit. Dates Clarified

1. Your formal poem assignment will now be due on Tuesday 10/16 and your Emerson project (see below) will be due on the 23rd.   Look over these forms:  sestina, sonnet, and villanelle, and begin to decide which you will imitate (and discuss in a 300 word minimum formal letter to your readers).  We will look over some examples for both components of this assignment.

2. EMERSON PROJECT: (Due 10/23) Using the writings of Emerson. Write a letter to the editor of an imaginary newspaper as an invented character responding to the work directly or the way the notions behind it or Rand (or I can even allow for Thoreau, if you’d like) are working for or against “you” (as your character). We’ll flesh out this idea more in class, but plan on a 500 word minimum where your “character” tells a bit about him/herself and how the ideas in one of those works or in other more recent writings have impacted him/her.  If you’re using another speech or text, make sure you provide the original or a source for it. Then, you will be inventing a second character, one with a very different or contrasting, even opposing viewpoint, to respond to your original character. (250 words or more) Have fun with this. Name your newspaper, your town, really try to imagine these lives. For inspiration, consider Lynch’s  Interview Project: