Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Syllabus as Jumble or My Love/Hate Relationship with Planning

 Before I actually have to start crossing stuff off on old syllabi and typing in new information and inculcating the new template and finding the page numbers of poems, making a syllabus is fun. I'm going to try using The Poet's Companion this semester. It has a nice approachable tone and such good, succinct discussions of things like image and metaphor and repetition, although maybe I'm not so interested in teaching "Writing the Erotic" or "Self-Doubt," things I feel students can experience on their own. 

Things are slowly coming together and I'm feeling zippy about having a visiting poet in October. Here are some of my early notes that might be folded in (if the syllabus were souffle--but then you really couldn't say "subject to change").

--Iris’s html poem
--Neruda--tone, line, image
Sexton--allusion, narrative, tone
Plath--tone, image
Ryan--compression, rhyme
a chapter of triggering town?
Roethke--sound, tone, suggest rather direct
Moore--sound, shape, line break
exercise with poem--assign points to image as it is more descriptive, apt, unusual
--Week 1--short class--poems to read--freewrite on place--place as homework assignment Place is landscape!! what is landscape supposed to convey. read a little? landscape as backdrop? colors and forms to mimic mood? pastoral--reaching back to a “golden age”, escape from realism; rural/urban? WHAT KIND of landscape?
--Week 2--Post it poem exercise--words--exchange--color, emotion attached to color attached to story of why that emotion? what else?
--Week 4?--Material--their material--they have to bring in a piece of material--how is it, how it can be amended. Then words--how is it, how it can be amended. Here is the piece of glass, how can I amend paragraph, description of object, description of process, how has it flown like a bird to something new? Is the poem the process or the new bird?
--more on reading work aloud
--Websites--still that old one, Blackbird, Ante, very different those two, maybe the oldster PSA or something. Make listing on syllabus.
All about the word
    • sound as unit and line
    • tone/diction/complexity
    • as related to images of the world
    • patterned
    • how does a white space hush my mouth

Monday, August 13, 2012

Notations on a Set of Student Poems

  • "Why are these three lines better than the new stuff? Because they feel startling--not because of strange word order but because of observation/presentation--how what is described is both apt (or more than apt) and idiosyncratic."
  • "Do effective repetition check."
  • "I am interested in this and where it might go. Maybe use this to change poem direction and create more surprise (which is the difficulty with a repeating line form)."
  • "Necessary?" 
  • "More whack-a-doodle stuff?" 
  • "It's not that you can't wander in a poem, but the slip or the leap has to work."
  • "Erk."
  • "Confusing 1--how is this useful, connected? Confusing 2--what's going on?"
  • "Seems as if it's going somewhere, then just stops."
  • "Questions in last three lines of physicality."
  • "Too soon. Telegraphing the terrific changes to come. Don't." 
  • "A=when too much is too much. B= when too much is great."

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Final Drafting: Send Off Time

Working on the ms. this weekend.
  • I put back two words that I'd taken out last time
  • I reordered the last two stanzas in a poem--moving away from finality
  • I took the stand alone poem away from the beginning of the book (before Part I) and put it into the midst of Part III
  • Part IV (last part) didn't seem lumpy as it had on last read-though
  • I fixed the page numbers and the Tof C
  • I updated the acknowledgments page
I think that maybe this is it and that I'll start sending it out which is a good thing because I have some ideas for other work curling up like tendrils, like morning glory vines.

I also worked on the third part of a poem (which will actually come first), zoning in on the last two lines of it, questioning the language which turned out to be a big plus. From my notes on this: "I don’t like the contradiction of lay/moved. Maybe I shouldn’t say 'Lay' although it’s a nice rep. What did we do if not lay? cringe? yearn? sat? paused. But I guess part of the problem is that the beach = the world.  We tarried (only if I was from another century!)."  Problem solved I think. It wasn't just the contradiction of those two words but also their relative colorlessness.