Unit Four: Poetry

Tuesday, April 22
Bridges from Prose to Poem
Making Language Strange

Presentation: Lois

Assignment Due:

1. Write about or to a poem that has meant a good deal to you. What are the pleasures and perils of poetry for you? Write in any form you like, including multimedia.

Here’s what Katie, Maddie said about poetry (her snapshots are here, too).

2. Write a page of prose snapshots of the most important people from your childhood (3 or 4). Be as precise, brief and concrete as possible (a couple of sentences or so each), trying to capture each of these people at a specific, telling moment. Think concretely. Think about how last Thursday’s class on language could help you here. (Think of it as writing stranger studies about people you know, through the gauze of memory) BRING TO CLASS!
For examples, check out Katie‘s prose snapshots.

3. Add 100 words to your Personal Universe Deck– 30 for their sounds, 30 for their rhythms, 30 for the sensory images they conjure; 10 your choice. Any part of speech. Bring to class.

Skim Legitimate Dangers (H&B), exploring the different poets, their forms, their subjects. Read the introduction. From the collection, select a poem you hope we’ll read together and discuss (as writers reading writers). Bring it in.

Listen to a range of poets reading their poems.

Wednesday, April 23
Bring a poem you love–be ready to read it aloud. (Next week you have to memorize a poem, so you could think about getting started now)

Thursday, April 24
Approaches: Narrative and Not

Presentation: Mikaela

1. Snapshot Poem– Experiment with your snapshots; try turning them into verse by dividing the lines in different ways for different effects. The secret is to listen to the words and the rhythm of the thinking/feeling process going on, arranging the words and listening, and listening again. Turn one of the snapshots into an early draft of a poem–this means you can now change words, add and delete when necessary, abandoning the original prose version altogether. Bring it to class AND record it & post.

See Alex‘s and here, Katie‘s, Maddie‘s

2. Myth/Story Poem: Return to your Re-appropriation from fiction and write a poem telling the tale from the point of view of a character not ordinarily stressed. OR-take a different tale and write a poem about the tale from the perspective of a secondary character. Bring it to class. Examples from Katie, Alex and Maddie


LD: TBA & Hand-out

Tuesday, April 29

Presentation: Gregg

Due: Writing:
1. Meter Exercise: Choose one of the following :
a) List poem: Write a poem that is simply a list of things; use meter to create the mood and much of the meaning. Read Raymond Carver’s “The Car” in Oates & TBA in LD. See Alex, Maddie and Katie’s class & their collaborative list poem.

b) Lyric Poetry Exercise: Make sure you stick to the original rhyme scheme and meter. Rap songs are good as are Broadway show tunes. (See hand-out for details.) Maddie‘s (and her translation)

2. Translation Poem– Translate a poem written in a language you neither read nor speak. Write about the experience and what you tried to accomplish in your translation. Bring the original and your translation to class. Alex’s.

Wednesday, April 30
Memorize a favorite poem and be ready to recite it. Bring your early poems–copies for your group.

Thursday, May 1
Sounds and Lines/The Rhythms of Words and Lines

Presentation: Andrew

Reading: LD: TBA and hand-out.– Respond to your group!

Writing: Free-choice poem.

Other: Record one of your poems and a poem by someone else in the class. Post.

Tuesday, May 6

Presentation: Doug

Due: Writing:
1. Sonnet: Write a free-verse poem based on/in response to a specific painting or in response to a musician performing; then write a sonnet based on the same painting or performance. Katie‘s (and revised version), Maddie‘s, Alex’s

2. Recast an earlier poem as a pantoum or in unrhymed, but metered couplets. Katie’s pantoum and Maddie‘s.

Reading: Wikipedia on poetic forms LD: TBA & hand-out. Respond to your group!

Wednesday, May 7
Bring copies of poems for your workshop group

Thursday, May 8
Open Forms

Presentation: Chris

Due: Writing: Recasting prose–Take one of your essays or stories and rewrite it as a confessional poem and then as a narrative poem. Katie’s and Alex’s examples.

Reading: TBA

Friday Poetry Portfolios Due 5 p.m. Include everything, as always, including reading-as-a-writer piece, reflection on poetry.

24 hours before your evaluation conference, hand in A LONGER REFLECTION ON THE ENTIRE COURSE and your proposed grade based on the rubrics.

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