Essay 0

Essay 0 - “Poetry” #

Due Friday, 1/27 at 22:00
Peer Review due Monday, 1/30 at 22:00

Prompt #

We spent the first class discussing the possible meanings of “poetry” and the “poetic” and reading several different poems. Your task is to put forth your own notion of the “poetic” and to discuss how two poems of your choosing correspond to or waver from that notion. In order to accomplish this, please follow these steps:

  1. Write about what the word “poetry” means to you. It is best to invoke a specific example; try to tell a story of how you’ve encountered this term, avoid relying on impersonal or general definitions. If you don’t have personal experiences or memories to refer to, you can refer to materials from our class discussion. When you’re satisfied with what you’ve written, take a break. (1 paragraph)

  2. Pick a poem to examine, one which you like a great deal and think of as exemplary of “poetry” or the “poetic.” First, take some time to write about what it is “about”; assume your reader does not know the poem. Then spend some time discussing what you notice in the poem. You may discuss your affective response to specific words or lines—i.e., what effects do they have on your body?—and how these responses are linked to the formal structures in the poem (i.e., repetition, rhyme, meter). You may also discuss how your response to those features of the poem relates to knowledge or experiences you have of the world outside the poem. Be sure to cite specific lines in your analysis. (2-3 paragraphs)

  3. Reread what you wrote. Make sure that there is some motivation for the shift between your first and second sections—make it clear how your analysis of the poem relates to your introductory discussion of “poetry” or the “poetic.” See if you want to make any modifications or additions to anything you’ve written.

  4. Pick another poem to discuss, one which you also like a great deal, or which you otherwise find provocative and interesting in some way. Give us a basic sense of what the poem is about and what you notice in it, and then write about how it adds to, challenges, or develops the notion of the poetic you have established thus far. Be sure to cite yourself directly, by quoting something you have written about the first poem or in the introductory paragraph. (2-3 paragraphs)

(See the Canvas announcement / Slack for the list of poems discussed in class)

Further instructions #

  • You may write about poems not discussed in class.
  • It is not expected or required that you research the poems you write about, but familiarizing yourself with the author and other poems they’ve written may be helpful or relevant if you choose to write about what you notice in the poems’ relation to the “world outside the poem.”
  • 3-4 pages, 1.7 spacing, 12pt, Times New Roman, MLA style.
    • Be sure to do the citations and formatting properly, to demonstrate that you are familiar with the the MLA rules. Refer to the MLA guidelines here and check out the MLA Template under > Files > Templates on Canvas.
  • Grade: Completion grade (includes peer review)
  • Submit: Discussion Board, “Essay 0.”
  • Instructions for peer review are on the DB.

Learning Objectives #

  • One of our main preocupations in this class is on what we value in poetry, and how to better understand those values through the writing process. This essay should provides you with a good sense of what you value now, and with some of the difficulties that come with trying to share these values with others.
  • This is also a chance to practice observational writing. Taking stock of what you notice in a poem or any other object regularly will help you become more attentive to your own reading practices, sensibilities, and habits.
  • In academic writing, it’s essential to point out specific details in an object of study, and to tell vivid stories that motivate a piece of research as you present it.
Last update: 5/22/2023
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