Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Summer Reading List

Here is your summer reading list . . . Get busy !

They Say by Ida B. Wells
Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
Kissing Doorknobs by Terry Spencer Hesser
Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Album
An Inquiry Regarding Human Understanding by David Hume
"A Goal in Life" by David Harris
"A Different Kind of Hero" by Heather Griffith
"Sonnet 66" by Pablo Neruda
"Still I Rise" by Maya Angelou
Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk
A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Life Expectancy by Dean Koontz
"Haunted Houses" by Longsfellow
Transparent Things by Vladimir Nabokov
"No Struggle No Progress" by Frederick Douglass
Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
"Toothbrush" by MT Cozzola
"Ode to an Onion" by Pablo Neruda
Dracula by Bram Stoker
"Television" by Roald Dahl
"The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson
"The Hollow Man" by T.S. Eliot
1984 by George Orwell
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
Mister Fox by Helen Oyeyemi
"If I Were the Devil" by Paul Harvey
Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
The Shack by William P. Young
"There Is a Pleasure in the Pathless Woods" by Lord Byron
The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks

Monday, June 4, 2012

Creative Nonfiction

Hello All,

Find a work of creative nonfiction (using the links I sent through e-mail), and explain why that work speaks to you.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Short Story

Hello All,

For today's creative writing, you will write a short story based on an artwork by Walter Martin and Paloma Munoz.

Every short story has its foundation in three areas: characters, setting, and plot.

Beyond that, writers must make a number of choices:

What narrative perspective do I want to use?  First-person, Second-person, or Third-person?

What additional literary devices do I want to use?
Construct your story so that it uses at least three different types of images (visual, auditory, olfactory, gustatory, tactile), one metaphor, one simile, one example of parallelism, one example of antithesis, and one example of irony.

Finally, give your story an ambigous ending.
Have fun!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Raymond Carver

Hello All, For this weekend, read a short story by Raymond Carver, who is considered one of the masters of the American short story, and then post your reaction to your blog. Did you like the story? What did you notice about Carver's use of literary devices? If you want to read a story on the positive, uplifting side, read "Cathedral." If you want to read a story that's a little darker but still has the heart of humanity, read "A Small, Good Thing." If you want to read a dark story that will reinforce your negative views of human nature, read "Little Things." If you want to laugh (but in an awkward way), read "Why Don't You Dance?"

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

More Examples of Creative Projects

Hello All,

Here are two more creative projects from last quarter.  Needless to say, both students earned As on the assignment.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Hello All, Your assignment for this weekend is to take a photograph inspired by Gabriel Garcia Marquez's short stories. Here are two photographs (starring my son) inspired by the short story "The Sea of Lost Time."   The story features characters who travel to the bottom of the sea and visit a version of the afterlife. The ocean is a strange and holy setting, and I tried to capture the same feeling in these photographs.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Song Lyrics as Poetry

Can song lyrics be poetry?  Like many questions regarding whether "literature" is "Literature," the answer varies.  From my perspective, we can discuss the literary merits of a song's lyrics in the same way we can discuss the literary merits of a poem: does it use literary devices in an insightful, creative, thought-provoking manner?  Or does it fall into the trap of cliche and generalization (and thus be something other than Literature)? 

For this blog post, find a song's lyrics that you feel can be accurately described as poetry, and provide a brief justification of your choice.

For example, David Berman's "The Wild Kindness" is poetry.  It is packed with symbolism and metaphor (much of it ambiguous).  I especially like the metaphor of the title: kindness is not an act but a living creature (and a wild one, at that).  This theme continues with the image of the "evergreen altar," which equates nature with the sacred.

The Wild Kindness

I wrote a letter to a wildflower
on a classic nitrogen afternoon.
Some power that hardly looked like power
said I'm perfect in an empty room.

Four dogs in the distance
each stands for a kindness.
Bluebirds lodged in an evergreen altar
I'm gonna shine out in the wild silence
and spurn the sin of giving in.

Oil paintings of x-rated picnics.
Behind the walls of medication I'm free.
Every leaf in a compact mirror
hits a target that we can't see.

Grass grows in the icebox.
The year ends in the next room
It is autumn and my camouflage is dying
instead of time there will be lateness
and let forever be delayed.

I dyed my hair in a motel void
met the coroner at Dreamgate Frontier
He took may hand and said I'll help you boy
if you really want to disappear

Four dogs in the distance
each stands for a silence.
Bluebirds lodged in an evergreen altar
I'm gonna shine out in the wild kindness
and hold the world to its word.