27 August 2012

ENG202 Intro to Poetry Fall 2012

Introduction to Poetry                                         Autumn 2012
ENG202                                                                      Professor Mead
                                                Class Schedule (Subject to Change)
Please have the appropriate sections of our textbook read, re-read, digested, and annotated before the class meetings.
28        T          Introduction
30        R          Poems Poets Poetry: An Introduction and Anthology, xxxix-26
 4         T          PPP, 27-76
 6         R          PPP, 27-76
11        T          PPP, 77-110
13        R          PPP, 77-110
18        T          Bluebook Exam I
20        R          PPP, 111-152
25        T          PPP, 111-152
27        R          PPP, 153-177
 2         T          PPP, 153-177
 4         R          China
 9         T          China
11        R          NO CLASS
16        T          Bluebook Exam II
18        R          Conference
23        T          PPP, 179-212
25        R          Recitations
30        T          PPP, 213-238
 1         R          Recitations
 6         T          PPP, 307-320
 8         R          Recitations
13        T          Bluebook Exam III
15        R          PPP, 323-340
20        T          PPP, 323-340
22        R          NO CLASS
27        T          PPP, 341-368
29        R          Poetry Readings
 4         T          Poetry Readings
 6         R          Evaluations.  Poetry Readings

Required Text: Poems, Poets, Poetry: And Introduction & Anthology, ed. Helen Vendler.
                        3rd Edition, Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2010.
Course Goals: You will have successfully completed this class if, after the class, you become a life-long reader of poetry.  Naturally, I cannot grade you on would you might do in the future, but I wanted you to know straight up what the goal is. 
Being able to read poetry—and being able to derive pleasure from reading poetry—is a rarer and rarer ability in the twenty-first century.  This is so for many reasons, but I will give you two to chew on.  Increasingly, the language that is thrust upon us and required of us is first level stuff:  summaries, reports, getting to the gist, like/dislike, buy/sell, a certain number of stars, etc.  This is language that only denotes the primary, surface meaning of its terms.  Second, and without trying to sound like a conspiracy nut, there is greater and greater pressure on people—and especially young people—NOT to think or read critically.  You are much easier to control if you do (and think!) what you’re told. To the people who view you only as a consumer, it is better that you purchase language of inconsequential meaning than that you ponder words that might possibly enable you to know who’s trying to determine your life choices.
Conversely, a life filled with poetry is an incalculably richer life than one without poetry.  Imagine seeing the world only in black and white, or only in two rather than three dimensions.  Imagine a flat-screen world of no depth. That is the world without poetry. Second, to learn how to read a poem is to learn how to read.  I mean that literally, because “reading” is not simply decoding letters on a page or screen; reading every word of a book is not reading.  Reading is understanding what the words mean, what they mean together, what secondary and tertiary suggestions of meaning crop up, what the contexts of the words are, and how those contexts speak to one another.  Not to completely prostitute the Muse to the Market, but being able to read a poem prepares one to read (as in really, really read:  to understand what the message is and what the message’s moral standing is) legal documents, blogs, briefs, proposals, books, claims, advertisements, directives, tweets, magazines, directions, warnings, speeches, news clips, brochures, and in short all human communication placed into language.
We will work slowly and carefully through Helen Vendler’s book Poems, Poets, Poetry:  An Introduction and Anthology, Third Edition, skipping over areas that seem to need little re-phrasing and lingering over areas that present difficulties to students.  Our main classroom goals are these:  to learn how to accept a poem on its own terms; to understand that the relationships between what is written in a poem and how it is written is what the poem means; to learn how to find new things in a poem with each re-reading; to understand that poetry, in its creation and consumption, is vital to democracy and the human spirit.
Attendance: Our class will be run very much as a workshop, requiring each student to arrive at every class prepared and ready to engage in proactive discussion, questioning, and critical conversation.  Students who miss more than three class meetings during the semester will have their final grades lowered, usually by one decrement per absence past three.  Tardiness will count as an absence.  Students who miss excessive class meetings or who are routinely tardy may be asked to withdraw from the course.  Please understand that there are no “legitimate” or “illegitimate” absences; if university responsibilities require you to miss more than three class meetings, we can probably work out an extra project to avoid your being penalized simply for being an athlete or whatever.
Students with special needs must contact the instructor as soon as possible, and he will make all reasonable accommodations.
Bluebook Exams:  With each exam, you will be given a short poem and asked to examine the poem’s technical dimensions before proposing an interpretation. 
Recitations:  Each student will memorize a poem, either one from the book or another with permission of the instructor.  The poem should be at least twenty lines long.  Students who wish to receive a high grade for this requirement (B+, A-, A) will not only memorize the poem, but recite the poem critically, musically, and/or dramatically.
Poetry Readings: Each student will write an original poem that attempts to imitate a certain quality of a poem in the textbook.  Do not merely copy a poem’s form, content, vocabulary, or other such surface elements.  Instead, try to imitate a poem’s use of syntax, line breaks, alliteration, tone, sound effects, and/or voice. Students will read their poems (they needn’t be memorized) to the class and give a brief explanation of what they were trying to imitate from the original. The poetic value of your work will be less important than the seriousness with which you pursue the technical issues of the original.  That is to say, the quality of your reading of the original poem will be more important than the quality of your written imitation.
Office Hours: Students who are interested in excelling in the course will want to meet with other students, librarians, and their instructors outside of class to deepen, gauge, and redirect their work.  I encourage you to form study groups that meet, say, once or twice a week for forty-five minutes or an hour; to make appointments with faculty librarians in order to learn more about poets and their poems; to visit the instructor to chat about particular poems or larger issues in the class.
Old Main: Room 312B MWF 10-11, TR 8:30-9:30 AND BY APPOINTMENT.
tel. 438-4336, smead@stmartin.edu. You may leave me a voice or email message, but I cannot promise to respond before the next class meeting. 
Please visit http://stephenxmead.blogspot.com/ for syllabi, handouts, policy statements on plagiarism and attendance, and useful links.
Grading:         Exam I                        1/6 Final Grade
                        Exam II                       1/6 Final Grade
                        Exam III                      1/6 Final Grade
                        Recitation                    1/6 Final Grade
                        Poetry Reading            1/6 Final Grade
                        Participation                1/6 Final Grade
Please check your university email in box regularly, as this is the only way I can contact all of you in case of timely messages, changes in syllabus, or helpful prompts.

ENG102 College Writing II Fall 2012

                                      College Writing II                            ENG102    
                                       Professor Mead                      Autumn 2012

Outcomes: Students will
HOCs  Understand the difference between an argumentative thesis and a descriptive thesis;
Understand what makes a thesis interpretive or significant;
Understand that each paragraph conveys a single idea that directly supports the thesis;
Understand that every paragraph requires a topic sentence that unifies the paragraph and connects it to the thesis
Understand why and how paragraphs proceed in a particular order;
Have demonstrated a growing, professional prose voice;
Have demonstrated significant progress in the ability to read critically, using techniques of close reading for primary sources and resource evaluation for secondary sources
Have demonstrated significant progress in the ability to use secondary sources for support, analysis, background, antithesis, and comparison;
LOCs   Learn to self-edit all recurrent errors in usage, grammar, and punctuation;
Demonstrate attention to verb-centered prose;
Perfect use of MLA-style format for research papers;
 Demonstrate progress in achieving a larger vocabulary;
Demonstrate progress in “cutting the fat” in every sentence.

        Syllabus (subject to the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune)

            29 W  Introduction
            30 R  MASS OF HOLY SPIRIT
            31 F  The Things They Carried, 1-84
             3 M  NO CLASS
             5 W  The Things They Carried, 85-148
             7 F  The Things They Carried, 149-207
            10 M  The Things They Carried, 208-233
            12 W  Catch-up
            14 F  The Iliad, Book 1
            17 M  The Iliad, Book 2
            19 W  In-class Paper drafting
            21 F  Edit Session
            24 M  Paper #1 Due.
            26 W  The Iliad, Books 3-4
            28 F  The Iliad, Books 5-6
             1 M  The Iliad Books 7-9
             3 W     In-class Paper Drafting*
             5         F          Edit Session*
             8         M         Paper #2 Due.*
            10        W         The Iliad, Books 10-11*
            12        F          NO CLASS
            15        M         The Iliad, 12-14
            17        W         The Iliad, 15-16
            19        F          The Iliad, Books 17-18
            22        M         The Iliad, Books 19-21
            24        W         The Iliad, Books 22-23
            26        F          The Iliad, Book 24
            29        M         In-Class Drafting
            31        W         Edit Session
             2         F          Paper #3 Due.
             5         M        
             7         W        
             9         F         
            12        M         NO CLASS    
            14        W        
            16        F          Thesis Due
            19        M        
            21        W        
            23        F          NO CLASS
            26        M         Complete MLA Works Cited Due
            28        W        
            30        F          Big Edit, Part I
             3         M         Big Edit, Part II
             5         W         Evaluations.  Final Paper Due.
You will notice that there are many days without a schedule planned.  These are not “free” days, but workshop days in which students will make use of the classroom, the library, the writing center, the instructor, and/or the study groups to develop and perfect their final paper.

Paper #1 Tim O’Brien writes that “a true war story is never about war.  It’s about sunlight” (81).  Homer has a verse-paragraph that reads:
                        Now the goddess Dawn climber up to Olympus heights,
                        declaring the light of day to Zeus and the deathless gods
                        as the king commanded heralds to cry out loud and clear
                        and muster the long-haired Achaeans to full assembly.
                        Their cries rang out.  Battalions gathered quickly.
                                                                                    (2. 57-61).
In a five-page, thesis-driven essay, examine the contexts of these quotations and argue what you think O’Brien means by his assertion. How does O’Brien’s line help you to understand Homer’s non-narrative techniques?  Conversely, how does Homer’s method of story-telling (with lots of nature similes and descriptions of time and place and sound and sight) support or challenge O’Brien’s assertion?
Paper #2 Consider O’Brien’s story “The Man I Killed” (and its after-notes throughout the book) and the death of Gorgythion in The Iliad (8.342-353).  You might also want to re-read O’Brien’s passage that reads “any battle or bombing raid or artillery barrage has the aesthetic purity of absolute moral indifference—a powerful, implacable beauty” (77). Based in your interpretation of these passages, write an essay that argues for an original definition of violence that someone could use to understand The Things They Carried and The Iliad more interpretively.
Paper # 3  You have now written an essay exploring imagery in our two texts and an essay that required you to compare and contrast the authors’ imagery of violence.  How can you strengthen your arguments by placing these discussions in the context of the visual rhetoric of Ancient Greece/or the 1960’s?  Find two to three famous sculptures or vase images of warriors from the Ancient to Golden Age (5th century Athens) and find at least three scholarly articles on the conventions of representation at work in these objects.  How do they represent violence?  What kind of “social” or cultural work did they objects perform?  Who looked at them?  How do they support or challenge your observations about Homer’s imagery?  To what end, or what do you make of this?
Similarly, the Vietnam War occurred during a visual revolution:  it was the first televised war.  Instead of focusing on the Greek text, you can study the American book.  Find two or three famous photographs, newsreels, or recordings from 1964-76 and find at least three scholarly articles on the war, its reportage, or its larger consequences.  Who was the original audience for these images?  How important was objectivity to the image-creators?  From your twenty-first century perspective, which is more lastingly important, the actual events or the representation of those events? Can you separate them?
Final Paper This paper is meant to be the culmination of your reading, thinking, studying, talking about, and writing about interpretive ideas of The Things They Carried and The Iliad.  Read through your earlier papers and find a single, unifying idea that offers the reader of your essay an original interpretation of O’Brien, Homer, or both.  If you have been working in a focused manner, you will find yourself developing parts of your earlier papers in this final paper.  You might even transfer whole paragraphs that address your thesis.  This is not “cheating”; rather, this is how academics and professionals (doctors, lawyers, business persons) work.  Certainly the research you have been doing throughout the semester will find its way into the final paper.
This paper is to be no less than ten pages long, excluding Works Cited and Notes (both of which are required).  It must have at least ten SCHOLARLY sources (articles from peer-reviewed journals or books from university presses) AND at least four images, recordings, etc. from visual artifacts relevant to the paper. 
Because you will have a month to finish this paper and because the paper will be founded upon work you have done for the two months previous to the last month, the standard of excellence will be accessible, but firm.  There will be no reason to turn in unpolished work if you are taking advantage of the course “process” of building research—a process that enables the disciplined student to achieve his or her highest potential.   Focus on the High Order Concerns (thesis, voice/tone, organization, development of ideas) and bring these elements to a complete development before you address Low Order Concerns (grammar, punctuation, spelling, format).  Be sure to check my blog http://stephenxmead.blogspot.com/ for a treasure of resources, especially the Purdue Writing Center and the U.P.S. paper revision links.
Students must complete ALL assignments to pass this course.
Texts: The Iliad, Homer.  trans. Robert Fagles.  Penguin
The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien.  Mariner Books, 2009.
The Transition to College Writing, by Keith Hjortshoj, 2nd Edition Bedford/St. Martin’s 2009.

Office :  OM312B, MWF 10-11, TR 8:30-9:30 AND BY APPOINTMENT
tel. 438-4336  smead@stmartin.edu You may leave me a voice or electronic message, but I cannot promise to respond before the next class period.
Students with special needs should inform the instructor at the earliest possible moment, and he will make all reasonable accommodations.
Students suspected of plagiarism will be required to produce evidence of multiple drafts of their work that shows the progression of thought and development, according to their explanation. Students suspected of plagiarism who cannot produce drafts or explanations will be given a grade of zero for the assignment (with the possibility of re-doing the assignment for a reduced grade); they may choose to withdraw from the course; they will be reported to the Vice President for Academic Affairs, and may be required to create a contract with their academic advisor that outlines their plans for graduation according to the rules of honesty.
The following are but a shallow delving into the web’s resources for historical and popular sites on both Ancient Greece and The U.S. Vietnam War era.