Friday, April 10, 2015

Art of Composition--Found Poetry

Assignment #33 (for Friday April 10, Monday April 13):

First of all, what is "found poetry" and how does a writer go about creating one?
Read this article (at least the first 7 pages) for some instructions and a couple of examples:
Another example, from a story about a girl who loses her mother but remembers all the times she came home from school to smell her mother's cooking:
Read these for class 33 and bring a connected device. In class, we will work on locating prose sources for our found poems. Some from New York Times, at least one from another print source.
Here is the information for the New York Times found poetry contest, including the rules. We will write three different found poems, two of which will conform to the NYT rules, the third of which will come from another source.

Assignment #34 (due Tuesday April 14):

How to Write Found Poetry ( (Links to an external site.))
This page explains found poetry and how to write a poem using this exciting technique. At the bottom of the page, you'll find links to more creative writing lessons and tips.
How to write a found poem
A found poem uses language from non-poetic contexts and turns it into poetry. Think of a collage -- visual artists take scraps of newspaper, cloth, feathers, bottle caps, and create magic. You can do the same with language and poems.

Writing this type of poetry is a kind of treasure hunt. Search for interesting scraps of language, then put them together in different ways and see what comes out. Putting seemingly unrelated things together can create a kind of chemical spark, leading to surprising results.

You might end up rewriting the poem in the end and taking all the found language out, or you might keep the found scraps of language almost in their original form. Either way, found language is a great way to jolt your imagination.

There are no rules for found poetry, as long as you are careful to respect copyright.

Here are some potential sources of "treasure":
  • instruction books, recipes
  • horoscopes, fortune cookies
  • bulletin boards
  • science, math, or social science textbooks
  • dictionaries
  • graffiti
  • pieces of letters, post cards, phone messages, notes you've written for yourself
  • grocery lists, lists of all kinds
  • celebrity tweets (or so I've heard, having never ever in my whole entire life actually seen one)

Click here for found poem examples (Links to an external site.) by the poet Al Fogel.
Try it! Found poem ideas
Here are some ideas you can use to write your own found poetry:

1) Take parts of instructions for some appliance such as a microwave. Replace some of the words that refer to the appliance, using that words that talk about something else. For example: "Lift the memory carefully. Caution: edges may be sharp..."

Suggested poem topics:

  • falling in love
  • trying to forget something painful

2) Write a poem called "Possible Side Effects." Use phrases from the instructions for some medication in your house, and combine these with language from another source, such as newspaper headlines, advertisements, a TV guide, or a mail-order catalogue. Put these two very different elements together and see what happens.

Spend today’s class gathering samples of language. Look in some of the sources suggested above. Read the found poem adapted from the Chang-Rae Lee short story (Links to an external site.). Make sure you have read the first 7 pages of the article linked in assignment #33. Also browse the New York Times for articles. Look for pieces of prose that contain strong or evocative language, or ones that can be adapted to reveal hidden sources of humor, or drama, or which can be rewritten in condensed form to reveal surprising connections.
The assignment for this unit is to write THREE pieces of found poetry over the next week. The first may come from any source, while the second and third must contain language drawn from articles found on the New York Times website. One of these last two will be submitted to the contest, while the first allows you to practice the form using material from any source you choose.
A draft of your first found poem is due in class next time, class 34, Tuesday April 14. Bring BOTH the original text and your adapted, condensed version. We will work on the other two next week. Rules for the contest are listed here (Links to an external site.).

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

AP group assignment

Importance of Being Earnest
The big picture

Form three-person groups. Each group must complete one of the options in part I and present a partially memorized scene from part II.

I.  Choose one of the following two topics. In your three-person group, locate at least three examples that support your position. Present to the class.

A.              In the play as a whole, Wilde is largely concerned with demonstrating the difference between conventional morality (what people are supposed to do or be) and actual morality (what people really do). Thus his characters demonstrate a code of behavior that represents the reality that Victorian social convention pretends to ignore.
B.              In an interview, Wilde said the play “has as its philosophy that we should treat all the trivial things of life seriously and all the serious things of life with sincere and studied triviality.” Using THREE examples, show how this philosophy applies to ONE of the following in the play: death, politics, money, property, food, or marriage.
C.              The lovable scoundrel Algernon illustrates the author’s aesthetic principles by turning his life into a work of art.

We will present our oral "essays" in class #33 then move on to working with selected scenes, which will in turn be presented the following class. For purposes of organization and precision and to prevent randomness and vague improvising, you are encouraged to have a note card with your example and brief commentary about the relationship between your example and the position you wish to advance.

II.         Choose an excerpt of approximately two or three pages, preferably one that begins with a character’s entrance and ends with that or another character’s exit. Practice delivering the lines and prepare to present it to the class. You need not memorize the entire scene, but each member of the group must memorize at least ONE speech of at least 30 words. Presentations will take place during class #34.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

AP independent reading assignment

April 2015 Reading assignment
AP English

For this assignment, choose a book you have heard of but never had the time to read, a book you have heard everyone should read in high school, a book someone has recommended highly to you. But give this choice one particular thought: it should be a title of “literary merit,” one you could use with no embarrassment for the basis of an exam essay, one that might well be taught in an advanced high school or college literature course. The list below is a composite of different lists I have recommended over the years. Rule out anything you’ve already read, please. I’ve already ruled out novels over 500 pages, since I very much want you to complete this assignment on time. Suggest another title of “comparable literary merit” if you wish.

The assignment is to write a paper of approximately 4 pages in response to one of the prompts on this website. Yes, there are over 40 to choose from, but that means you should be able to find one that works. But read most of the book before you try to select a topic, please.

Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood (1984)
Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte (1847)
Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte (1847)
The Awakening, Kate Chopin (1899)
Lord Jim, Joseph Conrad (1900)
Moll Flanders, Daniel Defoe (1721)
Hard Times, Charles Dickens (1854)
A Passage to India or Howard's End, E.M. Forster (1924, 1910)
Jude the Obscure, Thomas Hardy (1895)
Catch-22, Joseph Heller (1961)
The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini (2003)
Obasan, Joy Kogawa (1981)
Cry the Beloved Country, Alan Paton (1948)
Native Son, Richard Wright (1940)
Pat Barker, Regeneration (1991)
Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange (1962)
Gustav Flaubert, Madame Bovary (1856)
Nadine Gordimer, July’s People (1981)
Graham Greene, The Quiet American (1955)
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World (1932)
Kazuo Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day (1989)
Yann Martel, Life of Pi (2002)
Ian McEwan, Atonement (2001)
George Orwell, 1984 (1949)
Barry Unsworth, Sacred Hunger (1992)
Edith Wharton, Age of Innocence (1920)
Reservation Blues, Sherman Alexie
Persuasion or Emma, Jane Austen
Go Tell It on the Mountain, James Baldwin
My Antonia; O Pioneers!, Willa Cather
As I Lay Dying,  William Faulkner
Tender is the Night, F. Scott Fitzgerald
Return of the Native, Thomas Hardy
A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway
Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey
Lady Chatterley’s Lover, D. H. Lawrence
Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
All the Pretty Horses or The Road, Cormac McCarthy
Song of Solomon, Toni Morrison
Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov
We Were the Mulvaneys, Joyce Carol Oates
The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien
Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys
Crossing to Safety, Wallace Stegner
Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf
Native Son, Richard Wright