6/1 Blog Assignment
Hi crew—and welcome to Comp II, online edition, special courtesy of Covid-19.
Ok, so just to clarify a few things: this is not a “synchronous” class, meaning that generally speaking, we will not be meeting in “real time”; instead, I will be posting 2 assignments per week—one on Mondays (due Thursdays at 5p) and one on Thursdays (due Mondays at 5). The only “synchronous” aspect of the class is that you will be required to “meet” with me in “real time” (via chat, Zoom, etc.) for 15m on one of the upcoming 4 Wednesdays. This will just give us a chance to get to know each other a little bit better and to discuss your involvement with the course and any questions you might have. The other “synchronous” aspect of the course is the “drop-in hour” I will be hosting on Zoom on Wednesdays from 1:30p-2p. This is optional, but any of you are welcome to meet with me (and whoever else shows up) in “real-time” then.
As you may have gleaned, this online course will thus be very “textual”—because assignments will be delivered largely via posts to OpenLab, you will be expected to do a lot of careful reading (in addition to doing a lot of writing); to learn in this class, you will be expected to read not only assigned works of literature (etc.) but also the posts I will be making such as this one, containing various forms of instructional material. To me, this makes a lot of sense for people working on their written language skills, as pretty much the best way to improve your written language skills is to read and write a lot! That said, for those of you who are “visual & auditory learners,” I sympathize—and this is why I will be making myself available to you on Wednesdays via Zoom as mentioned. Anyone who feels like they learn better from visual, auditory, and “real-time” interaction is thus strongly encouraged to come every Wednesday to Zoom at 1:30p (just click any of these links).
Questions about anything in the course? E-mail is the best way to reach me: Monroe.firstname.lastname@example.org.
OK, so what I would like to begin with this week is a series of reading and writing assignments having to do with the question of what interpretation is—which, as I’ve explained in the Essay 1 Assignment Sheet (link above in “Course Materials à Essay Assignments”), is the fundamental skill this class will seek to help you with; being able to interpret & analyze both texts and real-life events is a skill that will take you far in both college and life. Literature, I feel, can be a very fun and interesting environment in which to practice interpretation.
So let’s get reading & writing: you’ll note that a draft of Essay 1 is due in your Google Drive Folder next Monday. (You will revise this draft significantly using feedback from me and the class and turn in another final draft of it at the course’s end.). In the meantime, I’m going to ask that you read through the following materials for Thursday:
–Course Syllabus & Essay 1 Assignment (in “Course Materials,” above)
–The following readings in the Course Readings PDF (also in “Course Materials,” above)
–Ruefle, “On Beginnings” (p. 84) / The poem as unfinished interpretation
–Beyonce, “Partition” (p. 36)
–Hooks, “Are You Still a Slave? Conversation on Beyonce” (p. 145)
–O’Reilly, Interview w/Russell Simmons on Beyonce (p. 149) / Sex and the Platonic ideal of art…
–For ideas on your Essay 1 draft, skim: Diaz, “The Money” (p. 23) and Queneau’s “Exercises in Style” (p. 1)
Here’s what I want you to write for Thursday 5pm (write & save a copy of your response in your word processor of choice—Google Docs is great bc it saves automatically—and then post as a comment below)
1) 1 comment and 1 question about the Course Syllabus
2) 1 comment and 1 question about Essay Assignment 1
3) A reading response to 1 of the literary/critical texts we’re reading this week by Ruefle, Beyonce, Hooks, or O’Reilly. For each reading response you do for this course, you will pick a quote from the assigned reading and introduce this quote with the proper context (author name and title). You will then go on to discuss one question the quote raises for you about the reading and then try to answer that question; in your response, analyze the meaning of at least one specific word or phrase in the quotation.
4) A creative response of some kind to the following prompt:
Among many other things, part of what Mary Ruefle is doing in “On Beginnings” is to play with our notion of what a poem is—where it begins, whether and how it ends, etc. One thing she suggests about a poem is that it is an unfinished “interpretation.” What do you make of this suggestion? What—for Ruefle and for yourself—is a poem an interpretation of? Conversely, how does Ruefle’s suggestion that a poem is an “interpretation” change our understanding of what an “interpretation” is? What, for you, in an interpretation? Please write a response that touches on some of these questions without necessarily answering them in order or as a list. (Every good text is a list, but not ever list is a good text.)
5) Post your first “Listening Log” by making a post in that section of the blog (see “Student Work” above) be sure to check the category on your post that says “Listening Log”). The instructions for that (one more time) are:
Throughout the course, you will be responsible for closely listening to 1 song of your own choosing per week and writing three (3) lists of notes: (1) 2-3 phrases/lyrics that strike you; (2) 2-3 repetitions you notice (in the music and/or the words); (3) 2-3 changes that you notice (in the music).