Friday, December 3, 2010

Poetry in Translation Assignment

Please make sure you run a poem by me as soon as possible, and then sign up for a critique slot (below). I have plenty of poems from plenty of different languages in my room. You can also check out eXchanges, the University of Iowa's online journal of literary translation, which has a good selection. And, if you are interested in reading more of my translations, they published three poems here--if you follow to the bottom, there is also a link to my "meta-cognitive".

Poetry in Translation Dec. 2010

Sign Up for you schedule in google docs (& it should show up here):

Independent Reading Book Cycle 3:

Suggested independent reading books that are particularly good for Question 3 (Cycle 3):

  • Donna Tartt’s The Secret History
  • John Steinbeck East of Eden
  • Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
  • Toni Morrison’s Beloved
  • Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude
  • Haruki Murakami’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
  • Junot Díaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

You will need to pass your book with me. I would like you to read a work of fiction that has a bit of an “epic” scope—one that is of great “literary” value that will be of particularly good use on Question 3. I have included some suggestions of books that I love that fit this category, but feel free to pick one of your own. Take note of the length of the above texts though.

For this assignment, you can either produce 100 post-it notes, or complete a Reader’s Notebook (12 extended D.J.s). In either case, I would like you to include commentary which draws from the reading strategies from the “WAYS TO ANALYZE FICTION” handout (you can find it in google docs.) You will turn in your book (with post-its) or Reader’s Notebook on January 3rd and answer a question 3 prompt in class.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Poetry Out Loud Overview & Scoring Guides

Here is the overview that everyone at MHS will be getting:

"Poetry Out Loud is the national poetry recitation contest; Malden High has sent students to the state finals for all but one year that the contest has existed. Last year, we committed to having every student in the school take part in the contest."

The basic process:

  • Student select poems from the Poetry Out Loud collections (in print and online) to study, memorize and perform.
  • Teachers support students’ selection, study, and performance.
  • Each class holds a class contest by the end of December. We will have our contest on December 16th, 2010.
  • Class winners will compete in the period contest in January.
  • Period winners will compete in the school contest shortly after the period contest. Period winners will need to select a second poem
  • The school winner will compete in the state semi-finals in early March.
And here are the Scoring Guides that we were given:

Malden High School's Poetry Out Loud Analytic Rubric

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Alice Notely’s “I the People”

You have an explication of Alice Notely’s “I the People” due. It should adhere to MLA formatting guidelines and be posted on your blog by Dec. 20th @ noon.

Please consult the following post: “democracy at 10th & A (PoemTalk #25)”—and make use of the background info and the audio clip. But when it comes to the explication, I am only interested in how the poem works to create meaning. For this style of paper, disregard anything that can not be proved with what the text provides.

You will be graded on the APE rubric and it will count in the Quizzes and Open-Response category.

Robert Duncan’s “Often I am Permitted”

Painting by Jess (Burgess F. Collins, Robert Duncan's life-long lover): The Enamord Mage, Translation #6, 1965 (the head is Robert Duncan's)

You have an explication of Robert Duncan’s “Often I am Permitted” (scroll to bottom) due. It should adhere to MLA formatting guidelines and be posted on your blog by Dec. 13th @ noon.

Please consult the following post: “the made place (PoemTalk #27)”—and make use of the background info and the audio clip. But when it comes to the explication, I am only interested in how the poem works to create meaning. For this style of paper, disregard anything that can not be proved with what the text provides.

You will be graded on the APE rubric and it will count in the Quizzes and Open-Response category.

This is a collage (paste-up) from Jess. If you want to see more of his art, go here: Narkissos: The Influential Collage Art of Jess Collins

Robin Blaser lecture, "Where's hell?" (June 19, 1999)

Robin Blaser lecture, "Where's hell?" (June 19, 1999) 65:58

"A Robin Blaser lecture titled Where's hell? Blaser reads and discusses portions of his Great companion piece on Dante Alighieri, a poetic commentary on Dante's ideas and use of language. Blaser discusses the works and ideas of other writers including James Joyce, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Ludwig Wittgenstein and Ezra Pound." (Click here for source in the Naropa Archives.)

The text of this is later printed as "Great Companion: Dante Alighiere" in his book The Holy Forest. You can read it here.

This is will be scored as a homework assignment and be graded on the Malden High School Open Response Rubric. Due Tuesday, December 7th @ noon. Since this is a discussion and your voice is important to the communal dialogue, late posts will lose 10 points a day. Budget your time accordingly, especially if you need the school computers to complete assignment.
  1. Listen to the lecture and take notes. Write down what you think might be interesting, important, etc. There may be things to which you do not "get" the reference or allusion and there may be things that spur your own thoughts. Write them down. Pay attention to your mind and document it.
  2. Prompt A: Post your reaction to something specific and thought provoking in the beginning, middle, and end of the Blaser lecture (though this is not a minimum, your post should be at least a few hundred words.) Feel free to ask questions in this section as well, since everyone will be reading these posts.
  3. Prompt B: You should also respond by elaborating on another comment in the stream (about the same length--a few hundred words as a minimum.)
This assignment is mostly to get your philosophic and literary minds in working. Keep this in mind when you post. I hope you enjoy this lecture as much as I do.

And here's a clip of him reading some poetry if you are interested:

Monday, November 22, 2010

Style Assignment: Short Stories

If you would rather write an extended (5 - 7 pages) analysis on either: Laura Chester's "True or Untrue, Grit" or Lavanya Sankaran's "The Red Carpet", then you may do so. You are also welcome two or three of these choices and I will grade you on which one is the best.

Assignments are to be posted on your online portfolio (as a pdf.) by class-time, 11.29.10.

STYLE Assignment Hemingway Faulkner Rewrites

Friday, October 22, 2010

Agenda for week of 10.25.10

Note the slight change in the projected schedule. (We are moving things ahead one day.)
Also, don't forget to keep on top of your reading group blogging.

10.25.10. Day 4: We will finish discussing A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen.
10.26-27.10. I am being professionally developed. You will still meet as a class and are to use the time for book club, catching up on reading, or developing an on-line portfolio of all your work. (Details to Be Announced Monday.)
10.28.10. Day 1: Long Block. Before Lunch is TBD, but will involve some sort of look at writing and how to revise. After lunch you will respond to a Question 3 prompt on
A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen.
10.29.10. Day 7:
SRD Azar Nafisi's Reading Lolita in Tehran SRD on Parts 1 & 2

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Agenda for week of 10.18.10

Thanks for the great week of Student Run Discussions on the first two Parts of Reading Lolita in Tehran. I really enjoyed listening and taking notes. I keep returning to this idea of the imagination being so crucial to empathy--many of you have addressed this in various ways throughout the discussion.

Anyway, here's the video we watched in class (as prelude to the SRDs) in case you wanted to return to it for any reason; I've watched it three times and have gotten something from it each time.

The Schedule for the week of 10.18.10:

Monday 10.18.10, Late-entry, the schedule is 7,1,2,3. No class.
Tuesday 10.19.10, Day 1 (Long Block). Before lunch you can have time in your independent reading groups, just to make sure your posting schedule is organized and shared with me. After class, we will begin the first of three classes on Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, so please make sure you have read it (at least once) before class and can access moments in the text at will. What we are doing over the next three days is my surprise. . .
Wednesday 10.20.10, Day 7. Class on Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House.
Thursday 10.21.10, Day 6. Class on Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House.
Friday 10.22.10, Day 5 , No Class, but your first (of three) book club posts will be due by midnight. Details coming soon.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Amiri Baraka

You have an explication of Amiri Baraka’s "Kenyatta Listening to Mozart" due by class time on Wednesday, October 13th.  It should be typed and adhere to MLA formatting guidelines.

Provided below are a couple helpful links to help you gain some entrance points into the poem—please make use of them.  But when it comes to the explication, I am only interested in how the poem works to create meaning.  For this style of paper, disregard anything that can not be proved with what the text provides.

You will be graded on the APE rubric and it will count in the Major Projects category.  If you would like feedback on your other explications, come and see me today (Friday) or Tuesday and I will give you feedback.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Agenda for Week of 10.11.10

10.11.10: Columbus Day: No School

10.12.10: Day 5: No Class.

10.13.10: "Get Ahead Day": Long Block: Explication on Blog on Amiri Baraka "Kenyatta Listening to Mozart". Details in post above.  SRD  Azar Nafisi's Reading Lolita in Tehran SRD on Parts 1 & 2

10.14.10: Day 3: SRD Azar Nafisi's Reading Lolita in Tehran SRD on Parts 1 & 2

10.15.10: Day 2: SRD Azar Nafisi's Reading Lolita in Tehran SRD on Parts 1 & 2

Next Week:
Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House needs to be read by 10.19.10 for SRD s
You should also be doing your Independent Reading.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Agenda for week of 10.4.10

Image: Mahoning 1956, by Franz Kline Oil and paper collage on canvas, 203.2 x 254 cm —Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Purchase, with funds from the Friends of the Whitney Museum of American Art. © 2009 The Franz Kline Estate/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

10.4.10 Day 3: Guidance Visit.

10.5.10 Day 2: In class: Monthly Agenda, Poetry Explication handout, & Robert Creeley’s “I Know a Man”

10.6.10 Day 1: Long Block: Due: Explication of Charles Olson’s “Maximus to Gloucester, Letter 27 [withheld]” MLA formatting required.  You will be graded on the APE rubric and it will count in the Major Assessments category.  In class we will look at Eavan Boland’s “It’s A Woman’s World” & Erica Funkhouser’s “The Accident.”

10.7.10 Day 7: Question 1: In class explication of poem [TBD].  You will be graded on the APE rubric and it will count in the Quizzes and Open Response category.

10.8.10 Day 6: Independent Reading Project due. In class: 2nd cycle book club rotation set up.  Agenda for next week set up.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Resources & The Independent Reading Project

Please don’t take these links as the only places to look on “the inter-nets”, but if you are at a loss for where to begin or just need some places to get your brain moving, then feel free to check out the following sites.

Helpful Resources:

First, your Malden Library Card gives you access to the Boston Public Library database.  One of my main objectives is to get you to use this site.  So, if you have not been exposed to how to use this resource, visit your local librarian (who happens to be phenomenal at her job!)

For audio files and poetry-related stuff:
PennSound: Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing
Naropa Poetics Audio Archives
You can also check out any news organization (and a million other places) for audio files.

For audio / video avant-garde poetry and art:


For interesting Video Lectures & Talks:
T.E.D talks

And for Poetry:
The Poetry Foundation

There’s a million other places that I think would be interesting—but I’m trying not to overwhelm you.  You could get lost in any of these sites for a few years.

Scoring Guide for Annotated Bibliography Independent Reading Project                                                              

Due Friday October 8th, in class.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Agenda for week of 9.27.10

Note--you should really try and finish your independent reading book by the middle of the week if you want to leave yourself enough time to do the assignment with the attention it requires--details to be given on Wednesday.

9.27.10 Day 1, In class, we will watch "Polis is This; Charles Olson and the Persistence of Place" by Henry Ferrini and prepare ourselves for the SRD on Tuesday - Wednesday.

9.28.10 Day 7, SRD on Charles Olson.  Click here for details.

9.29.10 Day 6, SRD on Charles Olson continued. (Please note the schedule change.)

9.30.10 Day 5: No class.

10.1.10 Day 4, Olson blog due. Independent Reading & College Essay workshop time.

Next week:

Independent reading Project will be due Monday, Oct 4th.  We will move on to a new unit after this.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Charles Olson (online) reader and links

Please read / watch / listen to all of the following items for the SRD on Tuesday, September 28th.  Note: Some of these things may require you to read more than once, mark up / take notes, etc. so that you can have something specific, probing, and sophisticated to say in class.

Charles Olson reads "Maximus to Gloucester, Letter 27 [withheld]"

Print and read all of the following for class discussion:

Finally, you have 48 hours (from the end of Tuesday's class) to make a comment in the comment stream that continues the class discussion:
recommended minimum: 700 words

Post your reaction to something specific and thought provoking from a classmate's comment in the SRD and elaborate on how it could be used to further explicate the poetry of Charles Olson--please be specific and original--this is not the place to be restating ideas, but furthering them . . .

This post will be graded on the Malden High Open Response Rubric and counted as a homework grade.  Because of the nature of the assignment, late credit will not be granted.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

College Essay Scoring Guide

50 points--Grammar, mechanics, typos, spelling, & usage. Remember, this is your only impression to show yourself through language. No matter the content of your essay, careless mistakes make you seem--well, careless. And you do not want the college admissions team to think you are apathetic. I expect you to make sure the essay is flawless. I would be happy to suggest how to phrase things better, but I should not be spending my time fixing your careless typos and spelling errors (and I won't).

  • 50 points--Writer demonstrates control of sentence structure, grammar, and usage.
  • 40 points--Errors do not interfere with communication. There are few errors relative to length.
  • 30 points--Errors interfere with communication.

50 points--Insight and creativity, readability, and is your essay compelling? A note to remember your audience here and the purpose of your essay: All writers do this on some level--we consistently look at audience and purpose when we analyze writing. If you are using this to apply to college, keep in mind that the admissions officers are looking for intelligent and motivated students who will be successful at their school. Your essay should:
  • Be personal (instead of general)
  • Be concrete (instead of abstract--can you make your reader "see" your world?)
  • Include anecdote (instead of summary--this is not a resume)
  • Include a hook or lead
  • Have sophisticated and / or subtle organization
  • Show a sophisticated or subtle mastery of language
In order for me to work on your essay, you also need to write me a letter:
  1. Describe yourself: where are you from, where have you lived, languages, cultures, etc.  “Surface level stuff.”
  2. Describe yourself as a reader.
  3. Describe yourself as a writer.
  4. Describe yourself as a student.
  5. Describe yourself as a friend.
  6. Describe yourself as a thinker.
  7. What else should I have asked you to describe and why?
  8. What you were trying to do in your college essay.


College Essay Prompts

image: Jay DeFeo The Veronica, 1957; painting; oil on canvas, 132 in. x 42 3/8 in. (335.28 cm x 107.63 cm); Collection SFMOMA, Gift of Irving Blum; © Estate of Jay DeFeo / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

The prompts provided are often a starting point—it’s not really about which prompt you choose to answer, but HOW you use the topic to write an essay.

Remember Borges, “people tend to prefer the personal to the general, the concrete to the abstract”. You will notice that the questions are vague, repetitive, and general. You could almost adapt any good essay to fit a prompt.

Anyway, here are the common application prompts:

Personal Essay: "Please write an essay (250 words minimum) on a topic of your choice or on one of the options listed below, and attach it to your application before submission. Please indicate your topic by checking the appropriate box. This personal essay helps us become acquainted with you as a person and student, apart from courses, grades, test scores, and other objective data. It will also demonstrate your ability to organize your thoughts and express yourself."
  • Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.
  • Discuss some issue of personal, local, national, or international concern and its importance to you.
  • Indicate a person who has had a significant influence on you, and describe that influence.  Describe a character in fiction, a historical figure, or a creative work (as in art, music, science, etc.) that has had an influence on you, and explain that influence.
  • A range of academic interests, personal perspectives, and life experiences adds much to the educational mix. Given your personal background, describe an experience that illustrates what you would bring to the diversity in a college community, or an encounter that demonstrated the importance of diversity to you.
  • Topic of your choice.

Image of Jay Defeo working on an early draft of "The Rose."

Monday, September 20, 2010

Agenda for week of 9.20.10

Image is Three Studies for a Self-Portrait (1976) by Francis Bacon (the 20th century painter, not the Renaissance thinker.)

 9.20.10, Day 6: In class: Workshop of draft of  “Heart of Darkness found poem”.

9.21.10, Day 5: No Class due to rotation.

9.22.10, Day 4:  Heart of Darkness found poem” & meta due.  In class: Introduction to College Essay

9.23.10, Day 3: In Class: Lecture on Ted Berrigan’s Red Shift

9.24.10, Day 2: In class: College Essay workshop and / or Independent Reading Research Day.

By Friday at the latest, you should have selected (and made some progress in reading) your independent reading book.  Please see me for consultation if you want or need suggestions.  When you have selected your book, please post the author and title of the book in the comment stream (for posterity) and link to a description of the book online.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010