By the end of Sunday (EST), be sure to have completed this first week’s series of membean learning sessions.
By the start of next class, be sure to have finished reading “The Very Old Man with Enormous Wings.” As you read, and after you read, consider themes that you find in this story.
learning goal: which of the five QMs reviewed so far challenge me the most?
review two additional QM descriptors, from the QM Tally Sheet: “CS” and “Parallel St”
review upcoming poetry assignments: CORE reflection and tanka/calendar poems (both described on separate course blog posts)
mark up “Guiding Questions for Fiction”: the teller’s position (Gordimer); character (Camus); plot (Akutagawa); theme (Garcia Marquez)
with remaining time, individually start reading Marquez story, “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings”–found on the World Fiction page of this course blog
You have two cycles to consider and create an original poem, or set of poems. Choose either the tanka form, or Tada Chimako’s “Calendar in Verse” as a model.
This option means writing ten tanka. Therefore, it makes sense for you to have more time than usual for this assignment. Take the time to enjoy composing a set of such poems. As you do, remember some of the tanka’s basic principles listed below. Meeting these challenges requires patience, imagination and perseverance.
Basic Tanka Principles
- A haiku + 2: in other words, five lines total. The strict syllable count is 5-7-5-7-7.
- Use concrete imagery, and watch for metaphorical possibilities in this imagery. (Remember that the term “imagery” denotes language appealing to any of our five senses. It is not limited to the sense of sight. Also, remember that concrete (specific) imagery is the most powerful kind.)
- Ideally, the first three lines (the haiku) can be read as a poem unto itself. The turn occurs in line three, which means during that line the upper poem turns into the lower one. This turn line can be both the last line of the upper poem and the first line in the lower one–all resulting in a new poem (a tanka) of five lines.
- See our class examples for how to compose such dynamics. Ideally, the turn line introduces a surprising change in direction, but a change that results in a complete, unified poem.
“CALENDAR IN VERSE”
If you choose this option, make an original poem that follows the basic ingredients of Tada Chimako’s poem. I have listed what I consider the basic ingredients. You may find a few others that you see as fundamental.
- The speaker of the poem is an inanimate object.
- Three stanzas, each with an upper and lower part.
- The upper part has at least four lines, and the lower at least two lines.
- In the lower part of each stanza, use metaphorical imagery to complement ideas, images, phrases in the upper part. Clearly divide each line of the lower part in half with a visual space.
- The overall poem reveals a theme, focus, idea, feeling, tone–through the accumulation of its concrete imagery and its metaphors. Ideally, this overall theme or focus grows naturally from the nature of the inanimate object you have chosen, and reveals the object’s metaphorical possibilities.
Before the start of next Poetry Day, submit to TURNITIN the CORE Reflection for your ode.
Include the ode itself at the top of the document you submit.
Before you start composing your reflection, review these updated instructions.
learning goal: how can metaphors operate indirectly–by association and proximity?
table of contents: Tada Chimako; metaphor, concrete imagery, haiku, tanka, turn, speaker
CORE reflections, due next Poetry Day–about your ode
learning goal: where do you find the truth in Akutagawa’s short story, “In a Grove”?
Typically, a membean week runs monday thru sunday.
As recommended the membean staff, separate a series of brief learning sessions over the course of the week. Let the learning sink in over time, rather than trying to cram at the last minute. The point if using membean is to build a more robust vocabulary, in order to make you a more forceful and flexible writer. Find a weekly rhythm and stay with it. Discipline.
The corresponding weekly grading scheme looks like this:
- 90% for at least 45 minutes with at least 3 learning sessions on different days, and each session lasting at least 10 minutes (15 minutes works better)
- 100% for 60 minutes or more, with the same expectations as above
- 0% for totals below 45 minutes
- students with significant “dubious minutes” receive 0% for the week (I define when the number of dubious minutes becomes significant)
- conference required of those receiving 0% for dubious minutes
- zeroes continue for each week, until conference has occurred
- grade entered as “class preparation”
Bring to this class a completed chart for the characters in Akutagawa’s “In a Grove.” Be ready to use details from your chart to explain what you think happened in the grove that day.
learning goal: which characters have which reasons for telling the story in a particular way?
membean expectations (first full week runs Mon Sep 26 thru Sun Oct 2)
QMTS work, or NYT article about Buddhist Priests in Japan
pod-work with character-study sheet for “In a Grove”