Eng 208 project #1: from poetry to prose written inquiry: composing self fall, 2015



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ENG 208 PROJECT #1: FROM POETRY TO PROSE
WRITTEN INQUIRY: COMPOSING SELF FALL, 2015

Instructor: Catherine Keefe Email: keefe@chapman.edu

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This project borrows heavily from Judith Ortiz Cofer's writing exercise, "But Tell It Slant: From Poetry to Prose and Back Again," which appeared in Writing Creative Nonfiction: Instruction and insights from the teachers of Associated Writing Programs. Editors Caroly Forché and Philip Gerard. Cincinnati: Story Press, 2001. (8-13)
FINAL PROJECT DUE DATE:

WED. SEPT. 30, PUBLISHED ON YOUR BLOG BY CLASS TIME

PURPOSE: -To show, rather than tell, a reader about one facet of your self through the telling of a real- life event you witnessed.

- To build a foundation for further exploration: How does form impact story?

- To explore the question, "How do you construct identity?"

- To consider form in your decision of how best to tell the story.


AUDIENCE:

Your intended audience is your class peers, other students, and potentially, readers of literary journals and / or your blog outside the university.



BASIC ASSIGNMENT (Portions adapted from Judith Ortiz Cofer):

1. Write a short poem about a real-life event, personal or public, that interests you deeply.

(100-150 words)



2. Identify the Subject that was triggered by the writing.

3. From the poem, write a piece of creative nonfiction about the same Subject.

(1000-1200 words)



4. Discern which form is most effective in communicating the Truth you are trying to convey about the Subject.

5. Write an analysis of the form you find most effectively rendered. Include examples and ideas from the work of other writers and creators.

(300-500 words)



6. Final assignment will include:

The Poem (100-150 words)

The Prose (1000 - 1200 words)

The Defense / analysis of form you find most effective (300-500 words)

One image to accompany poem and one image to accompany prose. (2 images)


TERM DEFINITION:

What is Creative Nonfiction? by Lee Gutkind, excerpted from "What is Creative Nonfiction"

"Although it sounds a bit affected and presumptuous, “creative nonfiction” precisely describes what the form is all about. The word “creative” refers simply to the use of literary craft in presenting nonfiction—that is, factually accurate prose about real people and events—in a compelling, vivid manner. To put it another way, creative nonfiction writers do not make things up; they make ideas and information that already exist more interesting and, often, more accessible.

This general meaning of the term is basically acknowledged and accepted in the literary world; poets, fiction writers—the creative writing community in general—understand and accept the elements of creative nonfiction, although their individual interpretation of the genre’s boundaries may differ. The essential point to acknowledge here is that there are lines—real demarcation points between fiction, which is or can be mostly imagination; traditional nonfiction (journalism and scholarship), which is mostly information; and creative nonfiction, which presents or treats information using the tools of the fiction writer while maintaining allegiance to fact."


SAMPLES OF SPECIFIC EVENTS IN SPECIFIC PLACES FROM OUR CLASS READINGS

  • "The Colonel" poem by Carolyn Forché.

  • The entire conversation with Carolyn Forché on Fri. Sept. 11.

  • First paragraph of "The Joy of Reading and Writing: Superman and Me" by Sherman Alexie

  • First half of "How Much Indian Was I? My Fellow Students Asked" by Elissa Washuta

  • 8 (9) by Bao Phi

  • Excerpts from Citizen by Claudia Rankine

  • The poem and the story from “But Tell It Slant: From Poetry to Prose and Back Again”


PROCESS AND DUE DATES:

1. Write a short poem about a real-life event, personal or public, that interests you deeply.

THIS IS DUE AS PROJECT DRAFT #1 BY SUNDAY, SEPT. 20
2. In the poem, identify the Subject that was triggered by the writing. Using the poem as a springboard, write a piece of creative nonfiction about the same Subject.

THIS CREATIVE NONFICTION IS DUE AS PROJECT DRAFT #2 BY MON. SEPT. 21 CLASS.
3. Continue adding word count to your Creative Nonfiction piece about the Subject.

THIS EXPANDED DRAFT IS DUE AS PROJECT DRAFT #3 BY WED. SEPT. 23 CLASS.
4. Develop a context for this Subject with reading and research. This reading and research may be folded into either your poem draft or your prose draft. Consider class discussions, authors we've read, information you've gleaned from the reading on Fri. Sept. 18 about the Millennial Generation and from the conversations you had with others on Fri. Sept. 25.

THIS RESEARCH IS DUE AS BLOG POST #7 BY 5 PM FRI. SEPT. 25.

EXPANDED DRAFTS ARE DUE BY CLASS TIME ON MON. SEPT. 28.
5. Discern and decide which form best expresses information about the Subject. Compose an analysis of the elements of craft and rhetorical elements that went into your decision. Ultimately this will be a manifest of sorts of what you as writer find to be effective rhetoric. Find two images to accompany your final drafts.

PUBLISH THE POLISHED POEM, THE POLISHED PROSE, THE POLISHED ANALYSIS AND THE TWO IMAGES BY CLASS TIME ON WED. SEPT. 30.
ASSESSMENT:

Value: 150 points


Grading will be based on:
Focus – Is this one, singular, compelling event that is of interest to others? Is there a discernible purpose to telling the story? What makes this worthwhile to a reader who doesn’t know you? Why are you the best writer to write about this particular incident?

40 points
Depth –Have you placed this story within a larger context outside of yourself? Can the reader easily find a larger issue that relates to the overall human condition? Do you have at least three areas with specific data like our samples? Have you used proper nouns rather than common nouns wherever possible?

40 points
Narrative –Is the poem or prose alive with input from all five senses? Have you used the specific over the general in every sentence? Do you include dialogue, description and action? Does your personality show through with word choice and sentence structure in a way that addresses your target audience? Is your vocabulary varied? Is your pacing consistent and forward moving? Do you begin quickly, build tension, and get out the minute the moment is finished?

30 points
Analysis –Is your analysis conclusive based on your engagement with other writers and writing examples? Have you attempted to be a disengaged reader while evaluating your own texts? Have you articulated, within your analysis, what you as writer find to be effective rhetoric?

20 points
Format –Have you checked for spelling, grammar, and word usage errors? Did you turn in all the drafts on time? Are your sources hyperlinked? Are your images properly credited?

20 points


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