Monday, October 13, 2014

Contemporary Lit. Classes


09/16 Tuesday: Dickinson in-class writing assignment

09/18 Thursday: Dickinson discussion completed.
HOMEWORK: Read A Brief Guide to Modernism
T.S. Eliot
Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

09/23 Tuesday Introduction to Modernism. Begin Eliot discussion
Read Wallace Stevens bio. 
The Snow Man
Sunday Morning

09/25 Thursday Discussion
Homework: Read William Carlos Williams bio.
Also: This is Just to Say
So Much Depends
Spring and All

09/30 Modernist discussion

Begin preparing for your Imitation assignment. The assignment (described below) will be due a week from today OCTOBER 2 and the BEGINNING of class, typed and proofread, etc.

The Imitation Poem and MANDATORY Process Letter:
Choose one of the poets whom we have discussed and write a poem (15 line minimum) that employs some of the same techniques.

In addition to the imitation, you will write a 200 hundred word minimum letter explaining the way you approached the assignment. Example: I chose to imitate Poem X. My poem is written in quatrains with a set rhyme scheme. Poem X is written in quatrains, as well, but the rhyme scheme ABAB whereas I used the ABBA pattern.....


 H  10/02 Modernist discussion continues.

T 10/07 T.S. Eliot discussion complete Begin Wallace Stevens

H 10/09  Sunday Morning discussion

T 10/14 Complete Sunday Morning, start WCM discussion

H 10/16 William Carlos Williams
Homework: Read Sonny's Blues by James Baldwin

White Angel by Michael Cunningham

And only the section called To Robby in John Edgar Wideman's book

T 10/21 Discussion of stories
Homework: Read Everyday Use by Alice Walker

H 10/23 Discussion Everyday Use and themes intersecting it and our other stories.
Homework: Read Robert Frost's bio.
 Out, Out
After Apple-Picking
Acquainted with the Night
Home Burial
Stopping By Woods...
For Once, the Something

T 10/28 & H 10/30 Dear Students:

I have made arrangements to have teachers come in and send around a roll sheet. Please be sure that you sign it.  In addition, we will be watching two videos on two literary figures. The instructions for both days are the same:

Please take down a minimum of eight quotes as you are watching the video. Choose statements that resonate for you and choose from the beginning, middle and later moments of the dvd. Write those quotes down as you hear them, they will be part of the assignment.

Type the quotes at the top of your page.

Then, using at least three of those quotes, write some sort of 200 word response. The response can be a poem, a letter, a scene where one character is the literary figure or you can write a page about how that idea factors into your own creative process. Please proofread these and have them ready to be turned-in on Thursday, November 4. 


Let's say my literary figure video on Tuesday was Ezra Pound. I begin by listing the eight quotes that I used to inspire my Tuesday writing by typing-up those handwritten quotes that I took down while watching the video in class and placing them at the top of the page.
 1. A slave is one who waits for someone to come and free him.   2. War is made to make debt  3. Literature is news that stays news  4. If a nation's literature declines, the nation atrophies and decays. 5. Your mind and you are our Sargasso Sea  6. Technique is the test of sincerity. If a thing isn't worth getting the technique to say, it is of inferior value. 7. One measure of a civilization, either of an age or of a single individual, is what that age or person really wishes to do. A man's hope measures his civilization. The attainability of the hope measures, or may measure, the civilization of his nation and time. 8. Any general statement is like a check drawn on a bank. Its value depends on what is there to meet it.

Then, I decide how I want to go about approaching the assignment. Perhaps, I want to write a prose poem/imaginary letter back to Pound.

Dear Ezra,

Your mind and you are our Sargasso Sea. The words you spoke caused you so much misery. 
What hadn't you botched? The gold confused with the dross? If literature is news that stays news, then that news was good news, but you spoke, Ezra and nations shook in their shoes for you. Not the way you intended, but the way that history holds its light straight through you so that the shadows inside you and the shadow you cast were monstrous. A slave is one who waits, Ezra, after all.

Or maybe, I've been working on a photo-series and see parallels in what he said about writing or what was said about him and my project. I might then use the quotes as take-off points to talk about my own process. 

One measure of a civilization, either of an age or of a single individual, is what that age or person really wishes to do. A man's hope measures his civilization. The attainability of the hope measures, or may measure, the civilization of his nation and time.
 I have been thinking a lot about hope lately. In some of my photography, I began to take an interest in the wear on a person's face. What it means to be worn and where in the lines there might be those formed by hope or what hope does when it leaves a body. I walk around, I take pictures. I think about hope. I look for it later in objects. What is that flower left on a fire hydrant, so posed, so deliberate, if not some measure of hope. I focus on it and try to consider the way I light it or the level of sharpness as another kind of attempt to frame hope. 

NOTE TO STUDENTS: These are just some examples I wrote quickly to show you how I might go about writing these pieces. Yours can be done employing two different techniques or using the same approach with both writers. I only ask that you have your eight quotes for EACH FIGURE at the top of the page and a minimum of 200 words used FOR EACH FIGURE. The way you go about using these ideas and words is largely open. Grammar, typing, and punctuation count.  Email me with any confusion.  

T  11/04 Frost Discussion
Homework:  Formal Poetry Examples:  Elizabeth Bishop "One Art" & "Sestina"
Dylan Thomas "Do Not Go Gentle Into that Good Night"

H 11/06 Frost & Hughes discussion continued. Intro to Formal Poetry Assignment.
Homework:  Your formal assignment will be due the Tuesday 11/18. Remember to include the 200 word minimum process sheet.  

T 11/11 Formal poetry discussion
Homework: Read A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O'Connor
and Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? by Joyce Carol Oates

H 11/13  Stories discussion.
Homework: New York School Poets & The Beats

T 11/18   Discussion
Homework: Confessionalist Poets

H 11/20  Confessionalists Discussion

T 11/25 Discussion continued.
H 11/27 NO CLASS. Happy Thanksgiving!