Monday, June 4, 2012

Creative Nonfiction

Hello All,

Find a work of creative nonfiction (using the links I sent through e-mail), and explain why that work speaks to you.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Short Story

Hello All,

For today's creative writing, you will write a short story based on an artwork by Walter Martin and Paloma Munoz.

Every short story has its foundation in three areas: characters, setting, and plot.

Beyond that, writers must make a number of choices:

What narrative perspective do I want to use?  First-person, Second-person, or Third-person?

What additional literary devices do I want to use?
Construct your story so that it uses at least three different types of images (visual, auditory, olfactory, gustatory, tactile), one metaphor, one simile, one example of parallelism, one example of antithesis, and one example of irony.

Finally, give your story an ambigous ending.
Have fun!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Raymond Carver

Hello All, For this weekend, read a short story by Raymond Carver, who is considered one of the masters of the American short story, and then post your reaction to your blog. Did you like the story? What did you notice about Carver's use of literary devices? If you want to read a story on the positive, uplifting side, read "Cathedral." If you want to read a story that's a little darker but still has the heart of humanity, read "A Small, Good Thing." If you want to read a dark story that will reinforce your negative views of human nature, read "Little Things." If you want to laugh (but in an awkward way), read "Why Don't You Dance?"

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

More Examples of Creative Projects

Hello All,

Here are two more creative projects from last quarter.  Needless to say, both students earned As on the assignment.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Hello All, Your assignment for this weekend is to take a photograph inspired by Gabriel Garcia Marquez's short stories. Here are two photographs (starring my son) inspired by the short story "The Sea of Lost Time."   The story features characters who travel to the bottom of the sea and visit a version of the afterlife. The ocean is a strange and holy setting, and I tried to capture the same feeling in these photographs.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Song Lyrics as Poetry

Can song lyrics be poetry?  Like many questions regarding whether "literature" is "Literature," the answer varies.  From my perspective, we can discuss the literary merits of a song's lyrics in the same way we can discuss the literary merits of a poem: does it use literary devices in an insightful, creative, thought-provoking manner?  Or does it fall into the trap of cliche and generalization (and thus be something other than Literature)? 

For this blog post, find a song's lyrics that you feel can be accurately described as poetry, and provide a brief justification of your choice.

For example, David Berman's "The Wild Kindness" is poetry.  It is packed with symbolism and metaphor (much of it ambiguous).  I especially like the metaphor of the title: kindness is not an act but a living creature (and a wild one, at that).  This theme continues with the image of the "evergreen altar," which equates nature with the sacred.

The Wild Kindness

I wrote a letter to a wildflower
on a classic nitrogen afternoon.
Some power that hardly looked like power
said I'm perfect in an empty room.

Four dogs in the distance
each stands for a kindness.
Bluebirds lodged in an evergreen altar
I'm gonna shine out in the wild silence
and spurn the sin of giving in.

Oil paintings of x-rated picnics.
Behind the walls of medication I'm free.
Every leaf in a compact mirror
hits a target that we can't see.

Grass grows in the icebox.
The year ends in the next room
It is autumn and my camouflage is dying
instead of time there will be lateness
and let forever be delayed.

I dyed my hair in a motel void
met the coroner at Dreamgate Frontier
He took may hand and said I'll help you boy
if you really want to disappear

Four dogs in the distance
each stands for a silence.
Bluebirds lodged in an evergreen altar
I'm gonna shine out in the wild kindness
and hold the world to its word.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

April 14-15

Hello All,

For this weekend's post on your blog, find a poem about spring that you like, and explain why it caught your attention/interest.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Robert Frost

Hello All,

For your first (required) blog entry, choose one poem by Robert Frost from his collection titled A Boy's Will.

Briefly explain why you chose it, and then analyze Frost's use of one literary device that we discussed in class.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Recommendations: Winter 2012

Hello All,

Here are your recommendations !

Murder City: Ciudad Juarez and the Global Economy's New Killing Fields by Charles Bowden
Fight Club by Chuck Palahnuk
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
Prince Among Slaves by Terry Alfred
The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore
"Life of a Salesman" by Yellowcard
"Eyes Wide Open" by Gotye
The Stranger by Albert Camus
Saving Rachel by John Locke
Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
Blue Moon by Allison Noel
"Just My Dog" by Gene Hill
The Apology by Plato
World War Z by Max Brooks
"Because You Love Me" by Celine Dion
The Velveteen Rabbit by Marjorie Williams
"Better Way" by Ben Harper
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
A Child Called It by Dave Pelzer (Two)
The Watchmen by Alan Moore
"A Red, Red Rose" by Robert Burns
"No It Isn't" by Plus 44
"Be Drunk" by Charles Baudelaire
"To Realize the Value of" by Saffron
Oh, The Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss
"Dear Mama" by Tupac Shakur
Striking Thoughts by Bruce Lee
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
"Southbound Train" by John Forman
Children's Hour by Lillian Hellman
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chboski
Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
The Yellow Boat by David Saar
"See it Through" by Edgar Guest
"Living Dead No More" by Moreau and Yousafzai
The Inferno by Dante
The One You Love by Paul Pilkington
"Man in the Mirror" by Michael Jackson
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Myself by K. Miller

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Full Moon

I take my son to see the full moon.  One of his favorite books is Goodnight Moon ("In the great green room, there was a telephone..."), and tonight he gets to hang out with the moon a bit before going to bed.  We wave and try to count the stars.  I ask him the moon's name, and he replies, "I don't know," which is the answer I would have given as well.  If it weren't so cold, we'd go for a walk, but it is cold, so we practice our howling.  He's got good pitch, but he needs to work on his volume.  I, on the other hand, can muster the volume, but my tone is a bit crooked . . .  We'll both work on our howls, and someday the coyotes--those masters of the serenade-- will ask us for advice.  In the meantime, I tell my son to say goodbye to the moon: "Goodnight, moon, goodnight."

Monday, February 27, 2012

A Winter Walk

Hello All,

For the latest blog, write a short-short story (one paragraph) inspired by Walter Martin and Paloma Munoz's artwork entitled A Winter Walk

Remember to use one simile and one example of personfication.

While you're at their website, check out some of their other artwork.  It's imaginative and unsettling . . .

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Song Lyrics and Poetry

Hello All,

For Wednesday's post, find a song whose lyrics you would classify as poetry.  Provide a brief justification as to why this song would warrant being described as a poem.

For example, I've been listening to Leonard Cohen's new album Old Ideas, and I would classify his song "Crazy to Love You" as a poem.  Here are the lyrics:

Crazy To Love You

Had to go crazy to love you
Had to go down to the pit
Had to do time in the tower
Begging my crazy to quit

Had to go crazy to love you
You who were never the one
Whom I chased through the souvenir heartache
Her braids and her blouse all undone

Sometimes I’d head for the highway
I’m old and the mirrors don’t lie
But crazy has places to hide in
Deeper than saying goodbye

Had to go crazy to love you
Had to let everything fall
Had to be people I hated
Had to be no one at all

I’m tired of choosing desire
Been saved by a sweet fatigue
The gates of commitment unwired
And nobody trying to leave

Sometimes I’d head for the highway…

Had to go crazy to love you
You who were never the one
Whom I chased through the souvenir heartache
Her braids and her blouse all undone.

"Crazy to Love You" has rhyme, of course, but most songs use rhyme.  What makes this song a poem is the personfication ("Begging my crazy to quit"), the implied metaphors ("souvenir heartache"), the parallelism ("had to go crazy to love you/ had to let everything fall") and the antithesis ("had to be people I hated/ had to be no one at all").  Thus, I would argue with "Crazy to Love You," Leonard Cohen has written both a great song and a great poem. 

If you're interested in what the song sounds like, you can find it here.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Grimm's Fairy Tales

Hello All,

For your second required blog post, choose one of the original versions of a Grimm Fairy Tale that Anne Sexton has adapted in Transformations.  You can find those original tales here.

Copy and paste the Grimm's tale into your blog, and briefly (a sentence or two) explain why Sexton chose this tale (there are over 200 Grimm's tales, and she only adapted 17). 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

First Post for Your Blog

Hello All,

For this post, choose one stanza of William Blake's "Auguries of Innocence," and explain how one literary device functions to give that stanza meaning.  Basically, you will answer two questions: 1.  What does the stanza mean?  2.  How does Blake use a literary device to convey that meaning?
Cut and paste the stanza into your blog, and answer these questions for your first required blog post.  We'll discuss your responses on Friday.

To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.

A robin redbreast in a cage
Puts all heaven in a rage.

A dove-house fill'd with doves and pigeons
Shudders hell thro' all its regions.
A dog starv'd at his master's gate
Predicts the ruin of the state.

A horse misused upon the road
Calls to heaven for human blood.
Each outcry of the hunted hare
A fibre from the brain does tear.

A skylark wounded in the wing,
A cherubim does cease to sing.
The game-cock clipt and arm'd for fight
Does the rising sun affright.

Every wolf's and lion's howl
Raises from hell a human soul.

The wild deer, wand'ring here and there,
Keeps the human soul from care.
The lamb misus'd breeds public strife,
And yet forgives the butcher's knife.

The bat that flits at close of eve
Has left the brain that won't believe.
The owl that calls upon the night
Speaks the unbeliever's fright.

He who shall hurt the little wren
Shall never be belov'd by men.
He who the ox to wrath has mov'd
Shall never be by woman lov'd.

The wanton boy that kills the fly
Shall feel the spider's enmity.
He who torments the chafer's sprite
Weaves a bower in endless night.

The caterpillar on the leaf
Repeats to thee thy mother's grief.
Kill not the moth nor butterfly,
For the last judgement draweth nigh.

He who shall train the horse to war
Shall never pass the polar bar.
The beggar's dog and widow's cat,
Feed them and thou wilt grow fat.

The gnat that sings his summer's song
Poison gets from slander's tongue.
The poison of the snake and newt
Is the sweat of envy's foot.

The poison of the honey bee
Is the artist's jealousy.

The prince's robes and beggar's rags
Are toadstools on the miser's bags.
A truth that's told with bad intent
Beats all the lies you can invent.

It is right it should be so;
Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know,
Thro' the world we safely go.

Joy and woe are woven fine,
A clothing for the soul divine.
Under every grief and pine
Runs a joy with silken twine.

The babe is more than swaddling bands;
Every farmer understands.
Every tear from every eye
Becomes a babe in eternity;

This is caught by females bright,
And return'd to its own delight.
The bleat, the bark, bellow, and roar,
Are waves that beat on heaven's shore.

The babe that weeps the rod beneath
Writes revenge in realms of death.
The beggar's rags, fluttering in air,
Does to rags the heavens tear.

The soldier, arm'd with sword and gun,
Palsied strikes the summer's sun.
The poor man's farthing is worth more
Than all the gold on Afric's shore.

One mite wrung from the lab'rer's hands
Shall buy and sell the miser's lands;
Or, if protected from on high,
Does that whole nation sell and buy.

He who mocks the infant's faith
Shall be mock'd in age and death.
He who shall teach the child to doubt
The rotting grave shall ne'er get out.

He who respects the infant's faith
Triumphs over hell and death.
The child's toys and the old man's reasons
Are the fruits of the two seasons.

The questioner, who sits so sly,
Shall never know how to reply.
He who replies to words of doubt
Doth put the light of knowledge out.

The strongest poison ever known
Came from Caesar's laurel crown.
Nought can deform the human race
Like to the armour's iron brace.

When gold and gems adorn the plow,
To peaceful arts shall envy bow.
A riddle, or the cricket's cry,
Is to doubt a fit reply.

The emmet's inch and eagle's mile
Make lame philosophy to smile.
He who doubts from what he sees
Will ne'er believe, do what you please.

If the sun and moon should doubt,
They'd immediately go out.
To be in a passion you good may do,
But no good if a passion is in you.

The whore and gambler, by the state
Licensed, build that nation's fate.
The harlot's cry from street to street
Shall weave old England's winding-sheet.

The winner's shout, the loser's curse,
Dance before dead England's hearse.

Every night and every morn
Some to misery are born,
Every morn and every night
Some are born to sweet delight.

Some are born to sweet delight,
Some are born to endless night.

We are led to believe a lie
When we see not thro' the eye,
Which was born in a night to perish in a night,
When the soul slept in beams of light.

God appears, and God is light,
To those poor souls who dwell in night;
But does a human form display
To those who dwell in realms of day.