Category Archives: Announcement

Changes to Schedule–readings/deadlines

Hi everyone,

Here are some changes to our syllabus (readings/deadlines) for the next two weeks:

For Wed, October 31–we’ll be discussing Alicia Ostriker’s¬† poem “Thirsting”–online link on OpenLab and Margaret Atwood’s poem “True Stories” (in textbook pp.217-218).

Wed, October 31st at 10 am is the extended deadline to put up Blog Post #1–Poetry in Motion.

For Mon, Nov 5th, we’ll be discussing Sylvia Plath’s poems “You’re” and “Metaphors” (both are online links).¬† We will not be discussing Sylvia Plath’s “Daddy.”

Monday, November 5th is the due date for handing in revised paper #1.

Wed, November 7th is the due date for comments on Blog Post #1.¬† Please comment on at least one other student’s post.¬† Commenting on more than 1 post will earn extra credit.

Reminder: 10/24 is midterm and a glossary deadline

Hi everyone,

I forgot to remind you today that a week from today, 10/24, is not also the midterm date but also the date by which you should have posted five vocabulary words to the OpenLab glossary.

If you missed today’s class you can find the Midterm Review sheet posted on our site–search for it under the category¬†Midterm.

We’ll spend time on Monday discussing “The Lonely Child,” “The Thirteenth Woman,” and “Success Story” to help you prepare for the midterm.¬† We’ll also talk about the difference between how a poem works and¬†what a poem means.

Have a good weekend!

Reminder about Our Next Class on Wed, Oct 10

Hi everyone,

A reminder that Paper #1 is due on Wednesday, in hard copy form, at the beginning of class.  There is a penalty for late submissions which is explained on the guidelines for the paper.

We’ll also be reading and discussing three new poems: William Carlos Williams’ “The Red Wheelbarrow,” “This is Just to Say” and Amy Lowell’s “Aliens”–online link can be found in the syllabus or the Readings tab on the main menu of our site.

I’ll also be explaining the assignment for Blog Post #1, which will be due on October 29th, on OpenLab.¬† Remember that OpenLab assignments count for 25% of your course grade.

Lastly, coming on time, ready to start at 10 am is an important responsibility.¬† Too many of you are coming consistently late to class.¬† I’m happy to talk with any of you after class about how to insure you arrive to class on time and prepared. Please leave extra travel time so that you get the benefit of attending class from start to finish.

Work on Paper #1 for Monday’s class

Hi everyone,

For Monday, October 1st, you should do the following:

  • decide on your topic (which poem you’re writing about and which person/college course) and begin working on your thesis (hand in topic and/or thesis at beginning of class on Monday)
  • fill out the worksheet I handed out and bring it on Monday
  • read the two model essays by former students that are now posted on Open Lab
  • read the essay “Writing a Short Paper About a Poem” in the textbook, pp.310-315

We’ll also continuing to discuss “Persephone, Falling,” “Found Sonnet: The Wig,” and “Instructions on Giving Up”–please print out the Rita Dove poems so you can annotate your copy!

On Wednesday, we’ll be working on drafts of Paper #1 which will be due on Wed, October 10th.

Handout on Organizing Paper #1

Review Sheet for Final Exam on Monday, December 17

Hi everyone,

I will be back in class on Monday to give the final exam–it will be good to see all of you.

Here is the review sheet for our final exam, which will be given on Monday, December 17:

final exam review sheet poetry fall 2018


Remember that you can bring the review sheet with you and use it as you write your essay.

Remember that you should bring  your annotated copies of the two poems you plan to write about.

As a backup, you can read the poems on your phone as screenshots, but this is not ideal.


Moving from Topic To Thesis for Paper #2

After you identify your topic for Paper #2, the next step is to figure out how to move from a topic to a strong thesis statement.

Here’s an example:

Let’s say your topic is how Walt Whitman’s “I Hear America Singing” is connected to recent rash of suicides of New York City yellow cab drivers.

This is still just a topic.¬† You need to identify a specific point of view or angle on this topic so that you don’t wind up writing a paper that is very broad.¬† A strong thesis statement leads to a¬† strong paper.

Here are three examples of thesis statements stemming from this topic.  Which one is the strongest?

In Walt Whitman’s poem “I Hear America Singing,” the speaker writes about jobs.¬† This is an economic issue that affects New York City cab drivers today.

In Walt Whitman’s poem “I Hear America Singing,” the speaker writes about jobs that enable men to earn a good living.¬† Yellow cab drivers today can’t do that.¬†

In Walt Whitman’s poem “I Hear America Singing,” the speaker writes about jobs that were common in the nineteenth century but they aren’t common now.¬† This reminds me of the recent rash of suicides by New York City cab drivers, since news articles have focused on the drop in value of taxi medallions and increased competition by apps like Uber and Lyft.¬† Yellow cab drivers aren’t singing, but mourning the loss of their livelihood.

Which of these will lead to the strongest paper and why?  We will spend time in class talking about thesis statements.