Monday, December 1, 2014

Week 14

This week, the final week of classes for the semester, we will be having a class celebration on Monday (I'll be bringing a cake!) and a drop-in class on Wednesday for anyone with questions about the final exam. There is no class this Friday.

As a reminder, our final exam is on December 9th, 3:00 - 5:30 in PE2000. Be sure to show up a few minutes early, as it always takes some time to get everyone settled in. I will be keeping regular office hours until the exam, and please also feel free to get in touch with me through email. 

Finally, thanks to you all for an enjoyable semester. I wish you the best in your future studies at Memorial. I hope you have a safe and happy holiday season and look forward to seeing everyone in the new year.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Week 13

Learning Journal Activity -- End of Semester Reflections

In a paragraph or two, I would like you to consider your learning in this course and things you will take away. This is the last "official" journal activity for the course, though if you have missed entries at any point in the semester you are encouraged to catch up in the last weeks of class. For this activity, you might take up some of the following questions:
  • What insights have you gained about poetry and short fiction through your studies?
  • Which readings or course material did you find most interesting? Which did you find least interesting?
  • What are some prevalent themes that have come up in course readings?
  • What are some contentious issues raised through literature and other forms of art?
  • What insights have you gained about essay writing?
  • What things about the course were helpful for your development as a writer?
  • Do you think the essay writing workshops in the first half of the semester were helpful?
  • What are your thoughts on the blogging component of the course?
  • Any other comments or thoughts you would like to share about the course are also welcome!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Week 12

Learning Journal Activity -- How to...

For this week's activity, you are asked to write a post describing how to do a particular task. There is a virtually inexhaustible list of various sorts of things you might write about, some of which include how to cook your favorite dessert, how to fix a bike chain, how to tie your shoe, how to carve a pumpkin, how to kick a soccer ball, how to meditate, how to organize a bookshelf, how to do a load of laundry, how to organize a surprise party, and so on.

Although this activity seems relatively simple, it may be somewhat more complicated and take a bit more thought or explanation than you expect (as I learned when putting together the example below). You may find it useful to include images to guide your readers through the process of how to do whatever task or activity you decide to describe. If you have questions or comments about this activity, get in touch with me through my mun dot ca email or leave a comment on this post.

How to never lose at Tic-Tac-Toe

Tic-tac-toe is essentially a game of logic and can be understood in mathematical terms. Knowing how to never lose will make your friends think you are some sort of genius and might even help you get out of having to pick up the dinner tab. There is no sure-fire way to win every game, but there is a method that will ensure you never lose. However, if both players know the system of the game, no one will ever win. For the purpose of this description, let us assume you are playing as O. There are three main variations to be understood so you will never lose. In the description below, I have indicated the most important point in bold type, but it is also important to read a bit further into each variation to know the subsequent moves.

  • If on the first move X takes any corner (either 1, 3, 7, or 9), then O must take the center (5). Let us assume X takes the top left (1), and then O takes the center (5). In the next move if X takes the opposite corner (9), then O must take one of the side tiles (2, 4, 6, or 8) in order to force X to cut off O's potential three in a row. (i.e. assuming that O takes 6 on the second move, X must respond by taking 4 or risk losing). After this, O will then take whatever corner square will cut of X's three in a row (7, in our example), after which X will likewise cut off O (3). The players proceed in this fashion, and the game ends in a draw.
  • If on the first move X takes the center (5), then O must take a corner (1, 3, 7, or 9). Let us assume X takes the center (5), and then O takes the top right (3). If on move two X takes the bottom right corner (9), then O will simply cut off X by taking the top left (1). From this position, the game proceeds by cutting off the other player as in the earlier example. If on the second move X had taken one of the side tiles (2, 4, 6, or 8), then O would similarly proceed by simply cutting off any potential three-in-a-row.
  • If on the first move X takes a side tile (2, 4, 6, or 8), then O must take the center (5). Let us assume X takes the left side tile (4), and then O takes the center (5). If on the next move X takes a corner on the opposite side from their first move (3 or 9), then O must take a corner above or below the first X placed (1 if on the second move X takes 3, or 7 if on the second move X takes 9). The game continues, as in the variations above, with each player blocking until there is a draw.
If you are interested in testing out this strategy to never lose, have a look at this link to an online tic-tac-toe game, and if you are really adventurous you might like to go up against a poetic tic-tac-po game I put together (requires Flash and best viewed in Firefox).

Monday, November 10, 2014

Week 11

Learning Journal Activity -- Memes

I hope you will spend time working on Essay 3 this week, and so the journal activity is one that should not be arduous or time-consuming. For this activity you are asked to make a meme. If you'd like to have a look at samples, I recommend Know Your Memes, an internet meme database. For generating memes, you might check out, or any of the similar generators out there. You might also use just about any image editing program on your computer. I made the samples below with paint, in a different pattern than the more typical single image memes. I tried for an inversion of themes and iconography of Newfoundland as an idealized tourist destination. As with other activities throughout the course, be sure to keep it PG13 and if you have questions or comments about this activity get in touch with me at my mun dot ca email or leave a comment below.

Assigned Readings and Overview for Week 11 

This week we will be reading Timothy Findley's "Stones" (70-82), a story that deals with war and its aftermath. The story relates to Remembrance Day, in some regards, in that it comments on the psychological trauma experienced by war veterans.

Essay 3, which was previously due this coming Friday, has been extended until Friday November 21st. Please feel free to send me intro paragraphs or drafts if you want some feedback.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Week 10

Learning Journal Activity -- Quotable

This writing prompt asks you to choose three of your favorite quotations and tell us something about them. If you know who said the quote or if it relies on a specific historical context, then these are things you should obviously tell your readers (however some quotes are only attributable to "anonymous" or "unknown"). Along with any general information, you should also say something about what the particular quote means to you and why you decided to share it. Quotations can be inspirational, thought-provoking, urbane, and sometimes just plain silly, but presented on their own they can sometimes be lost on your audience unless you set the stage. Your writing on each quote does not need to be more than a few sentences, though you are certainly welcome to say as much as you like and some quotes may require providing more information.

Below is a sample I have put together using quotes from famous authors, but don't feel like you have to follow along similar lines -- the sky is the limit, but do try to keep it PG 13. If you have any questions about this activity, send me an email at my mun dot ca address or leave a comment below.


"I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying." -- Oscar Wilde

Wilde, the author of the famous book The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890), is perhaps equally well known as a Victorian era socialite and quick-wit, whose flaunting of authority ultimately landed him in hot water. He was imprisoned as a result of a libel charge he initiated against a member of the aristocracy, and the affair ended with his conviction on the charge of sodomy. During his trial, Wilde was typically flippant toward the prosecutors, and perhaps may have heeded the implicit advice in the above quote: think before you speak. After being released from prison, Wilde went into self-imposed exile in France, where he died penniless at the age of forty-five. This quote serves as a reminder that no matter how sharp we may think we are, sometimes we are our own worst enemies.


"When action grows unprofitable, gather information; when information grows unprofitable, sleep." -- Ursula K. Le Guin

Along with being a prolific, award winning author of science fiction and fantasy novels, such as The Dispossessed (1970) and The Left Hand of Darkness (1969), since her university days Le Guin has been an avid social justice advocate and activist. In recent years she has even taken on the internet giant Google over its plans for a digital library, which she feels disregards the status of authors and any copyright claims they have in their work. Although her politics is, at least in principle, against the idea of copyright altogether, Le Guin has fought on the grounds that the author's associations and guilds have given up what little control (and access to funds) writers have in the digital literary marketplace. The quote above, which originated well before the advent of the internet, is a statement on activism, but is also now a quote that can be understood in an ironic light, since Google is undoubtedly the information gatherer par excellence.


"2 + 2 = 5" -- George Orwell

The novel 1984 (published 1949) by George Orwell contains many enigmas, such as the phrases "War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength." But aside from this, perhaps no other notion from the text has left such an indelible mark on the modern consciousness as the seemingly poorly done math equation that in fact turns out to be perfectly correct. It is a sample of what Orwell calls doublethink, which is part of the contradictory logic ruling the dystopian world in the text. It is a willingness to hold an irrational view in order to fit in, and extends to such a degree throughout the narrative that what is "true" becomes merely a matter of perspective. This doublethink is presented in such a convincing way that many people admit that upon finishing the book they have convinced themselves that the answer is really five (or that it makes little difference if it is "actually" four). Examples of doublethink abound in our everyday lives, though of course most of them remain within the realm of assumed, unquestioned truths. Conveniently, even if I was to indicate an example it would likely make so little sense that it would seem I am the one who has the math wrong.


Assigned Readings and Overview for Week 10 

This week we will be examining two short stories, Chinua Achebe's "Dead Men's Path" (269-71) and Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown" (163-71). The theoretical lens through which we will be discussing these stories is the extended metaphor: allegory. For some background on this concept, please have a look through the write-up on allegory posted on my blog at this link or through the tab at the top.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Week 9

Learning Journal Activity -- Flash Fiction

"Not that the story needs to be long,
but it will take a long while to make it short."
-- Henry David Thoreau

There are two options for this week's activity, one creatively oriented, the other critically oriented. The creative option asks you to write a flash fiction, while the critical option asks you to do a short analysis of a piece of flash fiction of your choice. In the write-up below is a brief description of flash fiction and links to some sites where you can find lots of samples and stories for analysis.

If you opt for the critical option, be sure to provide a link to the story you are working with. Your write-up should be two or three paragraphs. Some questions you may want to consider for your analysis include, What is the theme (or themes) of the story? How is the setting important to the story? What sorts of characters does the story have (who is the protagonist, the antagonist, any important minor characters)? Are there any significant symbols in the story? Does the story have a moral?

As always, if you have questions about this week's activity, send me an email or leave a comment on this post.

 About Flash Fiction

Including any story less than one thousand words, flash fiction is primarily distinguished by its brevity. Sometimes called the short-short story, the prose poem, the vignette, or the sketch, flash fiction has become increasingly popular in recent years. A brief prose work can create certain effects and concentrations of suggestiveness that a longer piece of writing cannot, and often in flash fiction the impact on the reader is more immediate and more intense than in a longer work. With this comes the challenge of telling a complete story while being spare with words and details. As Thoreau tells us in the quote above, by making the story shorter it may become more difficult to write. For a bit more background on flash fiction, check out this write-up by G. W. Thomas. Other websites you may like to visit to find some examples are Shortbread and Flash Fiction Online.

Because of the brevity of blog posts (or the brevity of attention span of blog readers) many bloggers have taken up flash fiction as a way to work expressively and connect with their audience. One blogger friend of mine who likes to work with flash fiction and is an excellent practitioner of the form is Pisces Iscariot. Below, is a sample by yours truly -- a piece of flash fiction I wrote a couple years ago. It's only 400 words long, but I tried to make every word and detail count. In your own writing, try to focus on a single event or remembrance, and you may be surprised where a brief story can take you. Your story does not need to be long, and one of the most famous short-short stories, by Ernest Hemingway, is only six words long ("For sale, baby shoes, never worn").

Flash Fiction Sample -- The Bus Ride

He looked at her, standing there in a fluorescent windbreaker. It hung from her body as though draped over a broken umbrella frame, the pockets weighed down, the left side white from the snow. She fumbled in her pockets, searching for change.

"Go on," said the bus driver.

She went past him and took a seat near the front, setting her Nike gym bag beside her. She had close cropped hair and dark eyes. Her face was swollen and red. Her hands looked coarse and hardened, and everyone on the bus could smell the heavy punge of living in the same clothes, of urine and booze and open fires. No sooner had the bus started moving than she closed her eyes and her head nodded to her chest.

That winter was especially cruel in Edmonton, and it wasn't unusual for the temperature at night to hit 45 below. After every cold snap the story was repeated in the newspapers: homeless person found dead under bank of snow. Some days they were found in backyards or in the seats out front of the Greyhound station. Sometimes they weren't found until spring. One story emerged of a man burned to death in a dumpster because the candle he lit to keep warm had fallen over, igniting the garbage in which he slept.

Some said it was their own fault, that there were shelters and organizations to go to for help. Others said it was the responsibility of the government and that more should be done. Still others said it was drugs and social decay and a loss of religious values. But all the talk and fine words amounted to nothing on a cold night in one of the richest cities in Canada.

The bus banked around a corner and her head bumped against the window. She shot up.

"Stay away from me!" she yelled as she jumped to her feet, pulling a hunk of stone from the pocket of her windbreaker. "Don't touch me!"

The driver hit the brakes and she fell in a heap in the aisle. He got out of his seat and started towards her. She struggled to her knees, then threw the rock at him. It landed well short on the floor with a dull thud.

He grabbed her by the hair and dragged her to the front. He pulled the bar to open the door and booted her into the snow bank.

"That's what I get for trying to help you, eh!"

As the bus pulled away the passengers wiped the condensation from the windows, saw her lying face down in the snow. One of them noticed her gym bag, still sitting on the seat.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Week 8

Learning Journal Activity -- Open Letter

This week's writing prompt asks you to compose a letter to someone or something. You don't necessarily have to send the letter, and it doesn't have to be written to anyone you know. In fact, you might have some fun writing a letter to an inanimate object, or to your favorite artist, or your least favorite politician.

One example of open letters you will probably be familiar with are letters to the editor, as found in most major newspapers. You might also be interested to have a look at a blog site called The Open Letters Blog. Some of the letters on this site are addressed to Martha Stewart, toilet paper, the state of Arizona, and many others. Of course, these kinds of letters don't necessarily have to be funny, and sometimes a letter is the best way to express the thoughts and feelings you may have about something serious or an important issue of the day. 

Assigned Readings and Overview for Week 8

This week, we will be reading and discussing two stories, Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour" (172) and Alice Munro's "Boys and Girls" (149). This is the beginning of our unit on short fiction, and so this is a good time to do a refresher on some of the important literary terminology for fiction (see assigned sections for week 8 on the course schedule). Although all of the stories we are studying are relatively short, these stories are more time-demanding than poems, and you should make sure to read the stories in advance of in-class discussions.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Week 7

As your second essay is due this Friday, and as the beginning of this week is lost to mid-term break, there is no learning journal activity assigned. I hope you will spend any extra time carefully editing your paper and come prepared for the third of our essay writing workshops this Wednesday. Remember, this second paper needs to conform to MLA guidelines, which you can learn more about in our course text or through the links listed in the toolbar on the right under "MLA." Please feel free to send me a draft of your paper or your intro paragraph if you'd like some feedback.

This Friday we will also be introducing some of the concepts and terminology that will be important for the section of the course on short fiction. If you check the course schedule for the next two weeks you will notice a number of small sections of the text are assigned that will provide a good refresher on fiction.

I hope everyone is having a nice break and a happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Week 6

Learning Journal Activity -- In The News

Do you ever notice when you look in the paper or turn on the five o'clock news it's always stories of things going badly? It's always violence, crime, scandals, and corruption. And while I think it's a good idea to be informed about world events and to know what's going on in your own town, I sometimes wish there was some humor in reporting, something to lighten the otherwise gloomy and dismal mood. This writing prompt asks you to help address this shortcoming by writing a spoof news story. You can make up your own story from scratch, or use a news item you find in the mainstream media, or use one of the spoof headlines suggested below.

For the last few years I've been reading the satirical news site The Onion (I'm sure some of you will be familiar with their high-quality, hard hitting investigative journalism). The writers on this website often take a story from the mainstream media and twist it into a joke, or sometimes they just flat out make up ridiculous stories and pass them off as news. Following this lead, here are a few headlines for news stories that never made the front page. You might use one of these as a prompt for writing if you're stuck for an idea.





















Overview for Week 6

This week we are studying some unconventional forms of poetry, such as spoken word, sign-language poetry, and digital poetry. The "readings" for this week are available on this blog (scroll to the top and click the page tabs). Although there are no assigned readings from our text, this is a good opportunity to take a look at the sample essays and related sections on essay writing in the book, as well as the guides to essay writing linked on this blog. Of specific interest, for anyone seeking more information on essays, is the OWL Academic Writing resources. As always, if you have any questions about this week's activity, or any aspect of our course, please leave a comment on this post or send an email to my address.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Week 5

Learning Journal Activity -- Critical or Creative

You have a choice of two different activities for this week's journal entry, one of which is more critically oriented, the other more creatively oriented.

Critical -- Everyday Poetry

Identify and discuss an example of poetry in everyday life. Although it is easy to think of poetry as something that exists only as lines of text in books, poems and poetic language are quite literally everywhere. Your task is to find this everyday poetry, which is sometimes hiding in plain sight, and tell us why you think your selection is an example of poetry. Your entry does not need to be more than a few paragraphs, but if possible you should either link or somehow include a sample (or a few samples if it makes sense) of the "poetry" you are working with. As we have already completed an activity on songs, you should try to think of an example other than this; however, your particular example may contain music or other elements common to songs.

Creative -- Spatial Poetry

This Wednesday we will be looking at poems by bp Nichol, a Canadian poet who is perhaps best known for the way "space on the page" is significant to his poetry. Following in Nichol's footsteps, this creative option for this week's journal activity asks you to craft a spatial poem of your own.

Spatial poetry (often also called concrete poetry) relies on shape and typographical space to add a new dimension to language. Rather than a poem being "read" in a traditional sense, spatial poems are in many ways "viewed", as one would view a painting or a photograph. Working with digital technology (such as blogs, photoshop, paint, or word processors) allows for an increased range of possibilities when formatting text. However, these poems can also be made (often quite impressively) using paper and a pen, then taking a photo and posting it to your blog.

Below are a few samples of spatial poems I've made, which will hopefully help get the creative energies flowing:

I Sail


as the ship was heading into a storm the captain said
sometimes you can do everything right and still lose
and though it may seem that the race is finite
it's only one lap around the track
only an agon



Balance a Diamond on a Blade of Grass





Assigned Readings and Overview for Week 5

In Monday's class, we will be looking at two free verse poems, Lorna Crozier's "Poem About Nothing" and Lawrence Ferlinghetti's "Constantly Risking Absurdity". Wednesday's class, as mentioned above, focuses on bp Nichol and spatial poetry. On Friday we will be looking at spoken word poetry. As always, if you have questions about this week's activities, or any questions about our course more generally, leave a comment here or send an email to my address.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Week 4

Learning Journal Activity -- Reviews

For this week's activity you are asked to write a review, be it of a book, movie, restaurant, art work, band, product, etc. Writing a good review is a craft all its own and there is no single, steadfast formula. However, there are some fairly obvious conventions for any kind of review. It makes sense to tell the name, title, or designation of whatever you are reviewing and to describe it in detail. It's a good idea to name the writer, chef, artist, director, or otherwise important people involved. Most reviews will offer an evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of the particular subject and compare it to similar things in its particular field. However, the most important element of a good review is to say what you think, what you like or dislike, and if you would recommend this to others. After all, it's your opinion that the reader is interested in here. What follows are some links to sites that may be of interest as examples of reviews. I have linked some commercial sites and some independent reviewers for each category.

Restaurant Review Links

Restaurant Thing -- Offers thousands of reviews, but only from English speaking countries. Unfortunately this means that restaurants in France are off the list!

Burrito Blog -- Yeah, you guessed it... this blog reviews only burritos and places that sell burritos. It is not a coincidence that I put this next to the reviews of the Michelin restaurants.

7-West Cafe -- This is an unconventional review of a restaurant I worked at in Toronto.

Book Review Links -- has a searchable index of thousands of book reviews.

GoodReads -- GoodReads is a site where individuals offer their thoughts on most any book you can name.

Kristin's Book Blog -- Kristin has been reviewing books on her blog since 2005. She has a fascinating project underway to review the Modern Library top 100 books of the 20th century. She is over half way there. New reviews appear on her site weekly.

Movie and TV Review Links

Internet Movie Database -- No explanation needed. This is likely the biggest movie review and information site on the internet.

Rotten Tomatoes -- Offers new movie reviews and previews

Tassoula's Movie Review Blog -- A blog maintained by an independent film critic from Seattle.

Tv-series and videos -- A site kept up by Julius, a blogger from Sweden.

Music Review Links

Pitchfork -- In-depth music reviews from a credible online source.

Metacritic -- Metacritic reviews new releases of music, as well as films, games, and television.

Rolling Stone -- Sometimes there seems to be more advertisements than reviews, but Rolling Stone is one of the industry pillars for music reviews.

MW Music Review Blog -- An independent music reviewer from Ottawa, mostly interested in Indie.

Product Reviews

DC Rainmaker -- A site maintained by a triathlete who reviews technology and products for high-performance athletes.

Car and Driver -- Reviews for most any automobiles on the road.

Of course there are many other kinds of reviews you might choose to do as well. The links above are only meant to provide some idea of the possibilities. If you have trouble coming up with a topic or have any questions about this activity, send me an email or leave a comment on this post.

Assigned Readings and Overview for Week 4

There are no assigned readings this week, as we are doing our essay writing workshops and will write essay #1 on Friday in class. That said, you are encouraged to review part I of our course text (page 1-54), which focuses specifically on the essay writing process. Some of these sections will be discussed during the workshops, but please take some time to read about any particular aspects of essay writing you may find difficult.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Week 3

Learning Journal Activity -- Image Expressive

The instructions for this activity are quite brief: post two photos you've taken (or two images you like) and tell us about them. You might want to say where the image is from, what it means to you, or why you wanted to share it. The write-ups do not have to be exhaustive (a paragraph or two will do, though you are welcome to write as much as you like). I have provided an example below to give some sense of how your post might look, but please do not feel limited by this -- feel free to get creative. If you have questions about this activity, send me an email at my account or leave a comment on this post.

Photo 1: Be Young B

This is a photo from a walking trail in Niagara Falls. The path leads to (or comes from, depending on your point of view) the Whirlpool, a place few travelers seem to go. It's a bit of a hike from the more touristy parts of the Falls, and even on the busiest days of the summer there's usually no more than a few other people. There's lots of different birds and interesting driftwood and stones along the beach.

The piece of brick you see in the photo above seemed to have been quite purposely planted in the trail by someone, and seemed to have been quite purposely engraved by someone too. I kept my eyes open for others like it, but found only this one. Go figure...

Photo 2: Phoenix 

This is a picture of me spinning fire. It's a kind of performance art or juggling known as poi. There are large wraps of Kevlar soaked in kerosene on the end of chains (about as long as a dog leash) that can be spun in various patterns for different effects. I've been practicing for about a decade now, but still I sometimes whack myself in the back of the head!

It's something I like doing because I find it takes my mind off things. I don't really like to go dancing, but for some reason find the footwork and rhythmic movement of spinning fire to be excellent fun. Some fire spinners who are much braver than me do what is called "sparkle poi" -- check this link if you're interested.

Assigned readings and overview for week 3

On Monday we will be looking at different kinds of sonnets, specifically Shakespearean, Italian, and irregular sonnets, in relation to Shakespeare's "Shall I Compare thee to a Summer's Day," Wordsworth's "The World is too Much with Us" and Shelley's "Ozymandias". The reading for Wednesday is Keats' "Ode on a Grecian Urn". On Friday we will be discussing Blake's "The Tyger" and Rich's "Aunt Jennifer's Tigers". This week we will also be gearing up for our first essay.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Week 2

Learning Journal Activity

Some  of the best known poetry in modern culture is expressed in song. Songs  have the power to move us, to entertain, to stir memories of friends and  fond days. This week's writing activity asks you to choose a  song and analyze the lyrics in terms of concepts we are discussing in the course. The choice of song is entirely up to you. Write your analysis in paragraph form using complete sentences. This activity should be posted on your blog by Friday at 11:59pm. Below, please find specific instructions for completing this activity.

1.  Choose a song. Include the lyrics of the song somewhere in your post.  You can either transcribe the lyrics, get them from an album cover, or  find a copy of the song lyrics online. You may also want to embed a video of the song in your blog post.  YouTube videos, for example, can be easily embedded in blog posts by  clicking the "insert video" button in the post creation window. Likewise, you can take the embed code from beneath the video on YouTube and drop it in the body of your post.

2. Write a  paragraph in which you discuss the form of the lyrics, just as you would  analyze the form of a poem. You may want to mention the stanza  organization, refrains, rhyme scheme, meter (syllable count), and poetic  syntax. For definitions of these and other terms that may be of use in  your analysis, check pages 388-395 of Literature and the Writing Process.

3.  Write a paragraph in which you discuss stylistic elements of the  song. Who is the speaker or the addressee? What is the tone of the  lyrics? Are there any examples of poetic language such as symbolism,  imagery, metaphor, simile, personification, paradox, etc.? For  definitions of various kinds of poetic language, please see pages  370-373 of Literature and the Writing Process.

4.  Write a paragraph in which you discuss the content of the song.  You may want to consider cultural, social, or political implications of  the song. What does the song "say" to you? Why do you like it? If other groups or artists have covered this same song, does the message seem to change in different versions?

Overview and Readings for Week 3

On Monday we will be discussing two poems, Roethke's "My Papa's Waltz" and Parker's "One Perfect Rose" with reference to persona, tone, and irony. On Wednesday we will discuss concepts of poetic language, through examination of our only Shakespeare poem for the semester, "Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day?" On Friday we will be reading Dylan Thomas' “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night” in relation, once again, to the concept of poetic form. Questions or comments about this week's activity or readings, drop by my office hours, send me a note through my email address, or leave a comment on this post.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Week 1

Welcome to English 1080. This blog is an online teaching and learning resource for our course. A new post will appear every Monday with a brief overview of the material we will cover that week, important concepts and literary terms, as well as the writing activity or prompt for your learning journal entries (you can find the first blog activity below in this post).

Once you have set up your own blog, send me an email with the URL and your name (also include the screen name you will use if different from your given name). I will then add a link to your page in the "English 1080 Bloggers" link list. In the toolbar on the right you will also find a link to the course outline, the website for the course text, links to poetry and prose related sites, and some links to useful online writing tools.

Please try to pick up the course text as soon as possible and begin reading (you can find the schedule for readings in the course outline). There is lots to cover and it is never a bad idea to get a head start on a course.

Learning Journal Activity -- Introductions

For your first post, please write an introduction in which you tell your readers a bit about yourself. This might include where you are from, what kinds of music you like, what sorts of books you like to read, movies you love (or hate), favorite foods, your thoughts on politics and the pressing issues of the day, any hobbies you have, sports you like to play or watch, or any other such topics you want to write about. You might also write about what program you are interested in pursuing at university, or what you hope to learn in English 1080. Basically, you should aim to provide your readers with some background so they can know something about you beyond just your screen name.

Once you have written your post, take a few minutes to visit some of your classmate's blogs (see the "English 1080 Bloggers" link list). As the semester progresses, you might also consider creating a link list on your blog to acknowledge your most frequent readers or those blogs you most enjoy visiting. In all your online writing for our course, whether your own posts or comments you leave for others, strive to write well constructed, grammatically sound sentences, and always make sure to be respectful and polite.

If you have questions about this activity, about blogging, or about any aspects of our course, please feel free to send me an email at my address, leave a comment on this post, or visit during office hours. Once again, welcome to English 1080.