Thursday, January 26, 2012

Friday, January 27th, 2012


Assignment #1:  Tell a Story in  a Poem                                                           Thirty Minutes

  • Essays, short stories, and novels are where we expect to find stories, but poems also can tell stories effectively. From the earliest epics,  right up to the present day, people have built poems from stories--sometimes fictional, sometimes true. Gary Snyder's "Hay for the Horses" is a poem that tells a story. 

The Poem That Tells a Story

Hay for the Horses

He had driven half the night
From far down San Joaquin
Through Mariposa, up the
Dangerous mountain roads,
And pulled in at eight a.m.
With his big truckload of hay
        behind the barn.
With winch and ropes and hooks
We stacked the bales up clean
To splintery redwood rafters
High in the dark, flecks of alfalfa
Whirling through shingle-cracks of light,
Itch of haydust in the
        sweaty shirt and shoes.
At lunchtime under black oak
Out in the hot corral,
--The old mare nosing lunchpails,
Grasshoppers crackling in the weeds--
"I'm sixty-eight" he said,
"I first bucked hay when I was seventeen.
I thought, that day I started,
I sure would hate to do this all my life.
And dammit, that's just what
I've gone and done."

Besides presenting vivid incidents, settings, and characters, stories can provide a sense of structure and purpose. 

Directions for You
  • To get started on a story poem, begin by quickly writing down a sequence of events from beginning to end. Then add some details, some characters, some tension, some suspense.
  • For this poem, select ONE of the following: 
  • Choice #1) Write about something that happened within the past week. This doesn't have to be a major, life changing event. Maybe you had to change a flat tire. Or maybe you had to work late.  Or maybe you you gave your room a long overdue cleaning.  The event itself doesn't matter so much as your telling of it. Just start right in and write through a quick draft to get started.
  • Choice #2) Write about something that happened at least five years ago. Pick an event you've had time to reflect on, something that stands out now as playing an important part in who you are today. As you write, don't tell why this event is important, just concentrate on getting your reader into the feel of actually being there. Provide plenty of concrete, specific details to make the story come alive.

Writing Goals/What I'm Grading You For
  1. Write the draft out first as prose, then add line breaks and stanza breaks when you complete your first draft.
  2. Create a short, compressed, to-the-point poem--no more than thirty lines.
  3. Type this on google docs.
  4. Print it, front/back, to room 212, and send ONE person over to pick them up at the end of the thirty-minute workshop time, please.
Viewing and Small Group Assignment                                                     Thirty Minutes

  1. I've put you in six groups.  Mr. Collins will tell you who your groups are.
  2. You only need ONE iBook per group for this, since you'll be viewing the portfolios together.
  3. In your groups, carefully follow the directions on the Portfolio Discussion Sheet.
  4. Complete the Portfolio Discussion Sheet as you work.
  5. Turn it in to the drawer at the end of the half-hour of work time.

Last Class Assignment for Today!  :-)      
Last Chance to Put the Finishing Touches on Your
CLICHÉ STORIES!                                                                              Twenty Minutes

1.      Stay IN THE ROOM to finish these stories today.
2.     Open up your story, and check it for the following (both partners):
a.     Did I put in paragraphs where the ideas changed?
b.     Did I edit my dialogue with quotation marks to show that people are speaking aloud?
c.     Did I give this story a really cliché title?
d.     Did I make sure each cliché phrase was in italics?
e.     Did I check my content to make sure it is appropriate for class, based on the discussion we had in class Tuesday?
3.     Now title it as your last names.
4.     Now move it into the class folder called “Cliché Trio Stories”.
5.     Do NOT print!  We will share these aloud MONDAY in class on the big screen!

·       Journal #2

  • a minimum of 1 1/2 pages, typed, doublespaced
  • You can use prompts from page 11, if you want to.
  • You can start a new idea, if you run out of steam on your first idea before you've typed 1 1/2 pages.
  • Come early to class if you need to print, as this will be be due, in the drawer, when the tardy bell rings Monday.


Small Group Sharing  (Everyone opted to read “Free from Grammar”)
1.      Form groups of five-ish.
2.     Take turns reading aloud—either your paragraph OR your poem—whichever turned out better.
3.     After each person reads, everyone in the circle make a positive comment to the writer.

Collaborative Writing:  Class Poem #2—Bad Poem
1.      Circle up!
2.     Get out one sheet of notebook paper!
3.     Review the guidelines for writing a class poem on page 13.
4.     And now, when you write your lines, violate AS MANY GOOD ELEMENTS of poetry as you can. 
5.     When the circle is complete, read and title your poems, then share them aloud.  Nominate one as THE WORST OF THE WORST.

Homework:  Two Lenses poem (p. 5)
1.      Minimum Requirements
a.     Typed
b.     Two stanzas representing two distinct points of view
c.     Twenty lines
d.     Pay attention to your line breaks!
e.     In the drawer when the tardy bell rings Monday

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