For Sunday 5/17: Final Exam Reading / Essay Revision & Writing

0.  First and foremost, read Brittny’s Essay 2 and give her some feedback on it.

00.  Revised versions of Essay 1 and Essay 2 are due next week at finals.  If you haven’t received feedback yet on one or both of these essays, please e-mail ASAP the City Tech Writing Center at


to set up an online tutoring appointment.

007. In preparation for our final exam, please read the attached article that the exam essay will ask you to respond to.  It would be helpful to you to

a) understand (and underline!) the author(s)’s name(s), the article title, the thesis of the article, and 2-3 main points that support the thesis.

b) underline and try to understand any words you don’t understand but which seem interesting or important; you can look them up in a dictionary if after re-reading the passage you still can’t fully grasp their meaning.

No need to post anything to the blog for Sunday, but you can if you’d like.

That said, all unfinished blog work will expected to have been posted by next week (as this will be factored into your final grade).  Please check your grades and keep me posted as you complete unfinished posts.

Best to you all–I can’t believe we’re so close to the end!



Brittny Sobers Essay 2 Feedback


These are great beginnings to this essay you have here.  I’ve posted most of my comments to the DOC itself, but here are some big picture thoughts:

–I love how you begin to describe the sounds and strums of the song, but can you go further?  Make me “hear” this song with your words.

–It seems like the most powerful question you’re raising in this essay (at least to me) is the question of how insecurity and love are related.  Can you bring in another article that helps us explore this question?  Some more quotes from Arsanios’ text and from Hill’s song—as well as your thoughts about those quotations—would be helpful too.

Don’t forget an MLA Works Cited page!


Redoanul Islam Essay 2 Feedback


I’ve actually posted most of my comments on your document itself.  Let me know if you can’t see them.

This is a good start, but let’s develop it a good deal.

–I want you to make a paragraph out of your questions and also form a thesis that explains how you think Malik’s song comments on the limitations of poverty–of growing up poor–and also how it comments on the importance of following your passion.

–Quote more from the song and explain how the quotations connect to your thesis/interpretation.

–I also want to see you describing the sounds of the music much more.

Thank you,


Jayvon Judge Essay 2 Feedback


I hope some more feedback for you on your Essay 2 rolls in; it’s the end of the semester, so I assume many students are quite busy.  However, it would be good if they read this given the thought you’ve put into it.

A couple ideas:

–what about putting the questions in their own paragraph after your second paragraph?  You comment at the end of that paragraph on the hi-hat sound that reminds you of a “flashback.”  You could stop there and observe that this sound leads to certain questions about the meanings suggested by certain weird sounds in the song–and the song in general.  Then you could pose your questions

–after you pose your questions, you can propose your own hypotheses that respond to some of them.  After reading this draft, I think you’re focusing on three ways of understanding Brown’s use of the term “union”: the union between past and present that a person might try to build (or break) as they “grow,” the union a man and a woman might try to build, the “union” of the USA, threatened as it is by police violence.  In your next draft you could propose and explore not only these hypotheses but also how they are related to each other.

–building off the last point, can you add a paragraph—or several paragraphs—that explore the connections between the difficulties of “being a man” in a relationship (on one hand) and being a man in a society racked by police violence.  It strikes me that difficulties with authority are involved in both of these “fraught” unions.  I encourage you to go into your own experience here as well as Namwali Serpell’s text that we read titled “Triptych.”

All my best,



For Sunday 5/10: MLA Citations, Feedback for Jayvon, etc.

Ok, so now that we’re reaching the end of the semester, it’s time to look at how to put the finishing touches on an academic essay—in this case, Essay 2.

Whenever you refer to another person’s ideas or words in an academic essay, you are expected to cite them, meaning you place a marker of some kind (depending on the formatting system you are using) which indicates whose ideas and/or words these are—and how the reader can locate those ideas or words (online, in a book, etc.).

There are two parts involved in this: 1. placing marks known as in-text citations in the sentences of your essay, and 2. writing source info at the end of your text in list, alphabetized by last name.  (In MLA format, this is known as your Works Cited page; other formats have other names for it.)

What I want you to do for Sunday is read this very basic, quick guide to formatting in-text citations and Works Cited pages in MLA format.  I then want to use this guide to help you form citations for your Essay 2.  Your in-text citations will go in your essay’s sentences where you refer to other writers.  Your Works Cited entries will go at the end.

I also want you to post your Works Cited entries (alphabetized by last name) to as a response to this blog post.

Lastly, I want you to post feedback for Jayvon Judge’s Essay 2.

For Wed 5/6: Re-Outlining Essay 2

Ok, so for Wednesday, I want to build off of what we did with Leonardo Mendez’ Essay Two draft over the weekend: I want you to work on (re-)outlining your Essay 2.  Why the “(re-)”?   I know some of you have not yet written drafts yet: for you, this may be your first outline; for those of you who have already written your Essay 2 drafts, this will be a re-outlining assignment, meaning that you will read your draft and write a list of your paragraphs in a new order.  Feel free to *add new paragraphs* to your outline (paragraphs you haven’t yet written).

For ideas as to how to go about re-outlining, please (re-)read my response to Leo’s paragraphs in his Essay 2 draft; it’s quite long and in-depth but I hope it gives you ideas for how I want you to approach thinking about (re-)paragraphing and (re-)organizing an essay.

Chat with those of you who are available on Zoom on Wednesday, 230p.

For Sunday 5/3 / Leonardo Mendez Essay 2 Feedback

Hi everyone–can’t believe it’s already coming to be May!

I want us to think a bit more carefully about the paragraph.  The paragraph is the basic building block of the essay.  For your paragraph to form a solid brick in the house that is your essay, it needs to be intentionally put together—and focused on doing 1 thing: developing one point, discussing one idea, describing 1 event, etc.

To get us thinking about how to form strong paragraphs, I want us to read Leonardo’s Essay Two Draft for Sunday.  As you read it, I want you to do 2 things:

I) make a list of notes: 1 note about each paragraph in Leonardo’s essay–1 note containing 3 parts:( 1a) what the paragraph’s main idea/focus is and (1b) what the paragraph does for the essay and reader; what its role in the essay seems to be; and (1c), one suggestion for making each paragraph more focused.

Write your list here.

II) Rearrange your list of Leonardo’s paragraph so that it forms the outline of a differently ordered essay.  Basically, you are rearranging his paragraphs into a new order—but not just any order! Be sure your order makes sense.  At the end of your new list of paragraphs, write a note explaining why you put the paragraphs in the order you did.

That’s all.  I’ll look for your responses Sunday!  Email me with questions.



1. Mendez includes here his questions regarding Gaga’s “Angel Down”—presumably questions he is curious to explore in the essay (but he doesn’t explicitly say this).  The questions are not (yet) in prose form, but rather are in the form of a list (as is a preliminary note regarding the different topics the song is “about”.)
2. Mendez introduces background info about the song and its connection to the Trayvon Martin shooting as well as the Black Lives Matter movement.
3. Mendez introduces a quotation from the lyrics to “Angel Down” and explores the question of what this lyric might mean.  He also responds to it with his own view on whether and how people have just been “standing around” before digressing into brief mentions of a couple other topics (that could form the basis of their own paragraphs):
    a) gun control and
    b) the symbolic meaning of the term “angel” in this song.
4. Mendez discusses “Triptych: Texas Pool Party” by Namwali Serpell, paying particular attention to the section which represents mythically the perspective of the police officer, Eric Casebolt, who brutalized Tatyana Rhodes during a pool party altercation in McKinney, TX several years ago.
–(4b) He then makes a claim about the connection between police brutality and a new term, “system racism,” which could be discussed further.
–(4c) Mendez then immediately moves into a discussion of what I presume is an article about racist remarks on social media made by police officers in Philadelphia (he doesn’t–yet–introduce us to the author name and title of this article). After introducing a couple quotations of what police officers posted to social media, Mendez then begins making a connection to a quotation from Serpell’s text about police officer diversity training—a great connection, but one which could be explained further or in different terms.  He also makes the claim that “irony” is involved here but doesn’t (yet) explain this.
5. Mendez includes here a list of a two quotes from Ta-Nehisi Coates Between the World and Me, which I assume he will contextualize and connect to his other material in his next draft.
6. This is Mendez’ Works Cited page.  (Watch the formatting.)
My proposed re-ordering of the paragraphs:
2. I think the background info and context really works as an opening paragraph.
3/3b/1 (combine). I think Mendez could keep the first half of his (currently 3rd) paragraph where he quotes from the song and poses a question about it.  He could then use his question regarding this line to transition into some of the other questions (from his paragraph that currently is first–with the questions).
3a. A discussion of how the song—and Martin’s killing—connects to gun control and the different debates surrounding gun control could go next.
**New paragraph** describing the sounds of the song and how they might connect to the topics at play: police brutality, gun control, etc.
4a. Mendez could then add a transitional sentence explaining why he wants to discuss Serpell’s text about the Texas Pool Party incident and go into the first part of that paragraph.
4b. I think a separate paragraph could be formed out of Mendez’ interest in the connections between the psychology of the police officer in Serpell’s “Texas Pool Party” (i.e., how the police officer appears to think) and what he refers to as “systemic racism”—a term that he could also explain more about in this new paragraph.
4c. Mendez could then form another new paragraph where he discusses the article on racist comments on social media made by Philadelphia police officers.  In his opening lines of this new paragraph, he could explain how this phenomenon is an example of “systemic racism” and its connection to police officer psychology.
5. **Mendez may not need to explore the connections to Ta Nehisi Coates’ text (although it could be interesting if he did).  I’d suggest trying to move his discussion back toward Gaga’s song—I’d be more interested in hearing him write a bit more about that toward the end of his essay.
6. In the coming weeks, I will point you towards some online resources for formatting your Works Cited pages.  Stay posted!

For Wed 4/29

Read Reese Okyung Kwon’s “There Must Be More”—a somewhat ironic close reading (interpretation) of David Ruis’ Christian Rock song, “There Must Be More”.  In Kwon’s text she painstakingly unpacks the singer’s decision to use the word “because.”  In your response below, I want you to

a) tell me what you think the importance of this word “because” is (in the context of the song, or you can interpret this prompt more broadly)

b) tell me one word from the song you’re writing Essay 2 about that you could write a paragraph about.


For Wed 4/25

  1. Post Essay 2 Feedback for Jeicot Suarez.
  2. We are going to change gears for this one.  We are going to place Essay 2 on pause for this one and simply going to write for a bit—one paragraph, two, three…four pages; however long you want—about our respective experiences of the Covid crisis so far.  Write about whatever you’ve seen, write about what you’ve felt, write about people you’ve known who’ve caught it, write about something odd you’ve heard about it, write about someone you love who you worry might get it, write about working within it (if you’re still working), write about trying to continue with your classes in spite of it,  write about trying to ignore it, write about literally whatever comes to mind about it.
    (What you write here might be the beginning of an Essay 3: an extra-credit essay documenting your experience of some aspect of this once-every-century-or-so experience of living through a pandemic.)GO!

Jeicot Suarez Essay 2 Feedback

Jeicot, hi.

Glad to have read and workshopped your draft last week on Zoom with several other Zoomers–but sorry you couldn’t attend.  I hope everything is ok with you and your family.

Regarding the essay, I agree with Brittny’s positive feedback on your description of the sounds in the song—although I also think it’s crucial to introduce close readings of the song’s lyrics as well.  Here were a few ideas we discussed for adding to and changing your draft during the workshop:

–After we listened to “Boys Don’t Cry” together, we talked about how, based on the song’s title, many of us were expecting the song to be a different genre—R&B, for instance, came to a couple people’s minds—other than rock (or, perhaps more accurately, post-punk).  We thought that you could perhaps begin the essay with a discussion of how many listeners might expect a very different song based on its title—and, more broadly, how to words in the title connect to the ideas about masculinity that you are discussing in the paper.  You might also address the question of irony in this song—words not meaning what they seem to mean.

–You might also consider writing about the genre of music that this is and how it connects people pursuing a specific lifestyle—e.g., punks, skaters, etc.  What is it about music that often helps people band together in groups/lifestyles?

–I had the thought that because “masculinity” is such a central idea in this paper, you should make a paragraph that discusses what it means—for you, and in the context of the song.

–Again, I’d suggest moving your questions so that they go toward the end of your introductory paragraphs and open up the essay’s transition into your close readings of your texts and the song’s lyrics/sounds.

–Introduce the title and author of the article on the Gillette ad.  Also, given that you’re writing about gender here, you could connect this text to Andrea Chu’s text that we read way back at the beginning of the semester.

Be in touch with any questions.  I know this is a lot.


For Wed 4/22

Closely Listening & Responding to One Line of Lyrics

  1. Read & post feedback for Tessaya Forde’s Essay 2.
  2. We are still practicing different strategies for closely listening to and describing music.  For this brief assignment (due Wed), I want us to focus on how to pick apart and extract questions from one single line of lyric from your song.  To that end, I want to direct your attention back at Jeremy Schmidt’s essay on “The Full Retard” by Jaime Meline (El-P). His entire essay, while rather brief, is focused on a close reading of the song’s “chorus” (or “hook” or “refrain” or whatever you want to call it).  One line of lyric produces a whole line of questioning and response in Schmidt’s essay.  Have another look at its opening two paragraphs:

“Like an oracle crowning herself queen, the hook from “The Full Retard” predicts its own reign: “So you should pump this shit, like they do in the future.” The song’s track is all clanging beats and zapping lasers, its lyrics Jaime Meline’s standard skyscrapers-and-sewers futurism, its overall effect a parade of sonic likenesses of the coming world’s broken infrastructure. The chorus, though—the chorus is more about taste than about politics or apocalypse. Take another gander: so you should pump this shit, like they do in the future.

This is a glimpse into the hypnotic heart of hype itself. What does it mean to pump, promote, or even love something right now, knowing that it—the song or the idea or the meme—will be ubiquitous in the future? Why would we want to prefigure the they of Meline’s rancid imagination, anyway? (To prepare?) More practically, shouldn’t our own pumping, or pooh-poohing, have some influence on the popularity of this shit among later humanoids? ”

Check out all of these questions that Schmidt generates in response to this one, seemingly mundane, lyric of Meline’s: “you should pump this shit, like they do in the future.”  This is what I want you to do with your Essay 2 song for Wed: select one line that you can ask a series of questions in response to, write out both the line and your questions and begin trying to respond to your questions if you can.  See where this takes you.

See you on Zoom on Wed—FYI, I need to push back our meeting time to 3:30p this week.  Hope this still works for as many people as possible.  Hang in there everyone, much love, M.

Tessaya Forde Essay 2 Feedback


Thank for once again going first with your essay–it’s clearly been an inspiration to many students to read your work and glean ideas from it.  A couple thoughts;

–I agree with Jayvon that adding more of your own personal experience with the material of your essay—both the song and the issues concerning comparison and body-image difficulties that many femme-identified people face—could really fill things in in an engaging way.

–In terms of the big picture, I would suggest rethinking the organization of the essay—perhaps putting your questions more toward the beginning and then also using one of your opening paragraphs to introduce the big picture of the essay: tell your reader up front what are you going to be doing in this essay (hard to know this in your first draft, but now you’re on draft 2!), what are the issues you’re interested in focusing on here?, etc. (this can tie into the questions you’re posing)

–One key thing that I’m noticing you’re interested in (and which I think you could incorporate more as you re-write–especially in your Intro, but also in your body paragraphs) are the inter-racial dynamics of femme-identified people: wanting to look more black if you’re white, wanting to look more white if you’re black, etc.  What do you think this is about?  I encourage you to explore this more through the song and through Bell Hooks’ essay.  You might also look for an article of your own on this topic to bring into the essay.

–Lastly, I *like* all the quotes you’ve chosen and encourage you to go further with your analysis of the language in them.  See if you can set up 1 quotation per paragraph: introduce the quote, then really key in on everything you notice about the word choice–including questions you have about it.  Don’t worry about going off-topic here—that can be interesting to do and can lead you to even more interesting places in your essay.  Once you’re done writing about the quote, go back to the beginning of your paragraph, re-read it, and then write a sentence that informs your reader of the point(s) you’re making about the song in your analysis in that paragraph (and, if you can, how these points connect to the main points of your essay).

I know this is a lot, but we’ll be trying to work on a good deal of this together.  As always, let me know of any specific questions that arise as you revise.

Thanks again,


For Sunday 4/19

Close Reading Other Writing about Music 

OK, so because writing descriptively about a work of music is such a central part of Essay 2, I want us to begin looking very carefully at examples of good, detailed music writing–some of it pretentiously called “music criticism” 🙂 .  I’m hoping that this writing will give you inspiring ideas for different ways of writing about the track you’ve chosen for your Essay 2.  (I am rewinding us a bit because I think we need more practice writing descriptively about sound–which is hard! We will get back to working on discussing articles about social issues and connecting them to your songs next week.)

So what I want you to do for Sunday is read texts # 13-15 in the Course Readings folder (you should know where this is, but ask me if you can’t find it).  Then I want you to read each text carefully and provide me with two simple pieces of writing responding to it:
A) Very basic: just list the author’s full name, title, and publication info for each text
B) Choose one—and only one—sentence from each of the readings that strikes you as an interesting way of describing a sound in one of the songs being written of (or–in the case of Drake’s video, a visual).  Copy these sentences into the first part of your response.  Then write a paragraph that responds in some way to one, two, or all three of the sentences you’ve chosen.  Simple and open, this one–be creative!
Thanks, as always,

Assignment for Wed 4/15

FYI, we will try to Zoom 2:30p-3ish next Wed for those interested in checking in and hanging via video and “real time.” ;). Anyway, onward…


  1. I’ve provided/posted my own feedback for everyone who turned in an Essay 1, which can be easily accessed by clicking “Essay 1 Feedback” to the right ( –> ) and clicking on the post with your name in it.  It is my hope that others will post their feedback as well given that this is a required part of the course, necessary to pass.
  2. I want you to send me a draft of your Essay 2. Work on this if you need to; e-mail me if you need help. If you haven’t yet sent me a draft of Essay 1, send that too!
  3. Writing Prompt: Making Connections Between Texts & Media.  One of the most important skills for college writing that I want us to practice in Essay 2 is identifying points of connection between different things we read, listen to, and watch—and writing about those connections.  To that end, I want you to look at readings 10, 12, and 13 (available here) and then do the following

A) Write out the basic info for each text: author name, title, and publication info (if available).

B) Make a list of anything these three texts have in common.  Take your time and be creative: think broadly and widely and obviously at first and then try to get more specific.  See if you can write out 4-5 points of connection in your list.

C) (Re-)watch the Drake music video referred to in reading #13.  In paragraph form, tell me about how you see the visuals of this video (the fashion, the backgrounds, the action, etc.) as connecting to the idea of “normcore” in reading #10.  Is this video “normcore”?  Why or why not?

For Wed 4/8

Hi guys–welcome back 🙂

For Wednesday, we have some simple, but *bounteous* catch-up Essay 1 workshopping to do.  (Give yourself some TIME for this one.).

Please read and post feedback for the following writers’ Essay 1s:
Lisette Rojas
Redoanul Islam Sahat
Shanice Smith
Jeicot Suarez
Amani Wright

Remember, in the Essay 1 folder (in “Course Docs”), essays are named and organized by the writer’s LAST NAME first (e.g., Lisette’s essay is listed as “RojasL_E1”).

This assignment will be the last of our Essay 1 workshopping, as we change gears to focus specifically on strategies for developing your Essay 2 and workshopping the drafts of this later essay that many of you have begun to produce.

Of course, please do continue revising your Essay 1s using the feedback you receive on the blog.  You can give me your revised, “final” draft of Essay 1 at any time between now and the end of the semester.

See some of you on Zoom on Wednesday 😉



Amani Wright E1 Feedback


Amani, hi.

I’ve put quite a few comments in the draft I’ve uploaded above /\/\/\, so please download it and take a look.  I agree with Jayvon’s praise of and suggestions for this essay: there are moments of descriptive storytelling in here that really shine, and there are also moments where I would encourage you to reconsider whether you need to tell us certain things that Jayvon suggests may be redundant or repetitive.  Ok, here are my big picture thoughts:

–We need more specifics (names, timeframe, places) regarding the school you went to and your teacher.  At the very least we need to give her a name (fine to make one up if you’d prefer).

–We absolutely need to hear way more detail about the moment you finally stood up and spoke up to the teacher in class.  For me, this is the climax of the essay and as such, you want to slow way down and unpack the details and suspense.

–I’ve highlight some sentences that I’ve identified as “comma splices.”  Please Google this and try to learn from the web about what these are and how to fix them.  If you want my help, just ask and I’ll try to assist via e-mail, etc.

Thanks–looking forward to your revisions.


Jeicot Suarez E1 Feedback


Jeicot, hi.

Nice draft–good to see you trying out a variety of ideas here.  I just made a couple small notes on the draft above /\/\/\/\ but please download and have a look.  As for the “big picture”: I think we need to find a way of sharpening what it is you want to show your reader—and then focus on showing your reader the details of several specific events in your life.  There are a few possible threads to focus on that stand out to me while reading this:

–the conflicts involved in feeling like you’re “no longer a kid” but not yet a “grown-up” (pp. 1-2)

–your shyness and your interest in skateboarding (an activity many people associate with “youth” culture)

–your interest in this older man you see running at the track (is he an example of a “grown-up”?)

–your interest in dieting and the commitments involved therein; what dieting says about a person’s (your?) changing relation to their (your) body image…

As you can see from how I’ve worded the above points, it may be possible for you to connect a couple of these. BEFORE you do that though, I want you to pick one of them and focus on writing SEVERAL DETAILED SCENES ABOUT SPECIFIC EVENTS/ACTIONS YOU EXPERIENCED THAT CONNECT TO THESE THREADS.  (Right now there’s just a couple “glimpses” of your experience–no fully elaborated scenes, which is what I think this essay most needs.)




Shanice Smith E1 Feedback



Nice start–although it definitely feels like this is just starting.  That said, there are several interesting moments in here that I’d love to see you develop.  I’ve highlighted them on the draft uploaded above /\/\/\/\ (please download to view my comments).

In particular, there is this moment that I think you could frame out a whole essay around, in which you raise the question of what learning is.  That is, in the middle of Calculus class, you wonder whether simply “mimicking” what the teacher is doing on the board is really teaching you anything or helping you to learn math.

I’d center the essay around this moment and other similar moments in your college education, in which you show the reader—through DETAILS DETAILS DETAILS—how you came to wonder in the classroom (in math, computer science, etc.) about whether (and what) you were learning.

Think of this as a chance to get the reader to ask a question about what education is—is it really just memorizing and mimicking?  Or does it involve something else?

Looking forward,


Redoanul Islam Sahat E1 Feedback



Good first draft, but given that it’s rather brief, let’s expand it!

There are is at least one story here, full of potential suspense (and readers love suspense): the story of applying to colleges, hoping to get into certain schools, and ultimately hearing back from them and having your fate decided for you by admissions committees.

To that end, I want you to slow down and describe several days during this process—perhaps when you first applied and then days when you were waiting in suspense to hear back, and then finally days when letters started coming back.  I want you to describe each of these days—and your thoughts and feelings within each one—in agonizing detail.

You could write a book on this!

(I also want to hear more about why you think you could have slept through senior year–but only go into that if you think it’s relevant, which it could be!)


Lisette Rojas E1 Feedback



This is a good first draft.  Please download the file above /\/\/\/\ with my comments on it.  A few things:

–There are a couple good conflicts and/or points of tension in the essay that I think you could try to develop a bit more in the next draft by adding more passages and details that show the reader what’s at stake.  You could focus on 1 of these conflicts/themes throughout the essay:

1) your impressions of a teacher and how this affects your learning—and also how your impression of a teacher changes over time (and why)

2) why it was so hard for you to write the essay—harder, it seems, than studying for tests; you could try to show us some of the different factors involved that led you not to want to write…

–Make up a name for the teacher to refer to her by something more specific than “her” (or use her real name if you want).

–I’ve highlighted several “comma splices.”  Please Google this and try to learn from the web what a “comma splice” is and how to fix them.  If you need my help, let me know.




UPDATE: Hi everyone,

Just wanted to clarify that we will NOT meet today on Zoom in honor of the CUNY-wide “re-calibration period.”
For Sunday, please catch up on any assignments you have not yet done–including a draft of your Essay 2 (please e-mail this to me as a DOC, Google Doc, or PDF).
Hope y’all staying well,


As most of you are likely aware, CUNY is officially on “Pause” until late next week.  As such, the assignment posted that is coming due tomorrow (Sun 3/29) does not need to be completed by then.  Also, we will not meet via Zoom this coming Wednesday in observance of the call for us to stop and “re-calibrate.”  I’ve mentioned this repeatedly, but will emphasize once more that in the interest of keeping everyone as up-to-date with work for this class as possible, I am encouraging you to use this time to catch up on any blog assignments you’ve missed to date.  NOTE: I will give you credit for any blog work you complete, even if it’s late; just e-mail me to let me know what you’ve completed so that I can mark the assignment as “completed” in my gradebook.

Will check in with you all here and via e-mail when the “Pause” is over next weekend…

Stay well.


Update / Assignment for Sunday 3/29

  1. Write a draft of Essay 2 for Sunday if you can.  This is the main thing to do!  To do this, you may want to re-read the Essay 2 assignment sheet (in “Course Docs” page); you will also want to read the article you found on the topic/question related to your song that you’ve been thinking about (and write a bit about this article); you may also want to re-listen to the song you’re discussing.
  2. Finish completing Essay 1 feedback for Jennessy and Shania.

That’s it!

PS. As we discussed in the Zoom meeting, we will try to continue our work through the “Pause” on online learning called for by CUNY the other day; that said, I will be flexible with the assignments due this coming Sunday and Wednesday.  In other words, it is optional for you to submit them this week, BUT in the long run these are not optional assignments and it will be expected that you complete them at some point in the next 1-2 weeks.  As always, please contact me if you’re worried that you’re falling behind, and we will work something out.

Lastly, when submitting late work, if you want my feedback on it, please e-mail me; otherwise, it is likely that I will not see it in time to write you feedback.

Feedback for Shania Newsam



A few notes on the draft ^^^ ; please download and view as you’re able.  I’m glad to see you getting some really decent feedback below.  I echo the comments that admire the many images you give us in this draft and which call on you to develop this story a bit more.  Exactly how to do that is the question!  Here’s some ideas:

–You could follow David’s suggestion and try to focus this essay on your transformation from a formerly-uniform-wearing new kid into a badass dancer and choreographer.  We’d need to see more of life at your earlier school and more of the process—dance classes, etc.—through which you came to excel at dance.

–Another approach would be a bit more abstract: I have noticed in your essay (and highlighted accordingly) just how interested you seem to be in the SOUNDS of your school: birds chirping, guns going off in the hallway, the helicopter sounds “infusing” the classroom, students shouting “FRESH MEAN” (a good title by the way), etc.  So I could see you developing this theme.  If you did this, I’d suggest re-writing the whole thing in a new Word doc while reading through your current draft in another window.  In your NEW draft, just focus on what you think the effects of SOUND on your experience of this school were.  Did sounds ever help you learn/focus?  If so, which ones–and how?  Did sounds ever distract you from learning/focusing/etc.?  If so, which ones–and how?

–One final suggestion: I’m interested in the school shooting and lockdown.  Of course, you could focus the whole essay on building up to this moment and developing the details of this scene.  From the way it’s written, I’m also not certain as to whether this happened in reality or in your mind (or both!).  If you’re trying to poetically show the reader how entering the hallway filled you with anxiety and dread the likes of which one might experience during a school shooting, I’d recommend using some sort of framing language to indicate this e.g.,:

“As I stepped out into the hallway, I was filled with the same kind of dread I imagine survivors of school shootings have experienced.”

“As I step out into the hallway, I imagine being fired on from all sides…”

Of course, if the school shooting actually did happen, then you would write about it accordingly and not use language like the above sentences to show that you were imagining this…

One last thing: notice my two example sentences above are in different verb tenses (the first is past tense; the second is present tense).  I suggest you pick one verb tense and stick to it throughout your story—unless you really feel the need to change to another tense.  Write me if you need more help with this.


Feedback for Jennessy Jiminian

Hi Jennessy,

I want to echo a number of things others have said about your essay: nice strategy of starting with a question, bravo on writing honestly (for a college class) about how frustrating college can be, watch out for run-on sentences and other grammatical issues.  (You can Google “run-on sentences” and if you can’t find help that way, then e-mail me and we can chat about this sort of thing if you’d like.)

With all the above said, I do have one big picture recommendation: we need to tell a specific story about a specific sequence of events: specific actions and interactions had by you and other particular people.. This is a huge part of this assignment—the task of writing about something specific—er, several specific things—that you did or that happened to you or people you know.  In your current draft, I’m not seeing much of this happening, so my suggestion would be to start a new Word doc next to your current draft, re-read your draft, and as you do, begin thinking of and writing (in your new Word doc) about specific events that show us your transition into college and difficulties therein: a class, an assignment, CUNY bureaucracy, etc.  Whatever it is, I just want to see you showing us key details and key actions that help us imagine your plight!  Right now I can sort of do that, but not really.

Thanks–looking forward to the next one.  As always, e-mail me if you’d like more feedback/clarity.