Monday

Goldsmith

Discussion - conceptual writing and historical events

  • John F. Kennedy
  • Robert F. Kennedy

The incidents at the core of Goldsmith's Seven American Deaths and Disasters are known, historical and were so public as to be experienced by many people (i.e., these are not the writer's experiences in some individualized sense). What then does their reframing as poems/stories/ art propose to achieve? What would make a “good” incident for an eighth disaster? Is the topic choice key? Or the quality of the source material? Or the changes made in the editing/transcribing? What would make a risky or bad candidate?

Homework

Read Goldsmith, sections 3-6 (Lennon - World Trade Center). Compose a post in which you consider one of the sections (3-6) as a Duchamp-like reframing. What statement does it make inviting us to read events from a literary perspective? Does it say something about history, memory, national identity, collective trauma? Does it bring us closer to “actual events” or distance us? Do we gain anything from a change in perspective?

Tuesday

Discussion

  • Homework blogging thoughts.
  • The title.

Sources on value and evaluation

  • Eagleton: Period styles; values shift. Any era accepts certain ideals (enduring truths, original/individual expression, national representativity, group expression, novelty or revolutionary quality, audience pleasure) so “good” works are valued for different reasons in different eras.
  • Hernstein Smith: Not value, evaluation. Evaluative acts are ongoing (from author, reader choice, publishing selectivity, peer recommendations, establishment critics); value is not “in” the work but assigned, by some people, for some people, in accord with shared (tacit) assumptions.
  • Dodd: Genre. Any art (music, poem, story) must satisfy existing criteria to be considered.
  • Cage: Listening. “There is no such thing as an empty space . . . There is always something to see, something to hear. ” Focus less on ego-driven intention of an artist, more on effects for a reader/listener. Less interested in final evaluation of “good” than in the authentic experiment “act whose outcome is unknown”
  • Duchamp: Anything can be art, but is it good?: Even bad art is art. Museum or establishment critical standards lag behind the practice of artists themselves, and so they can/must be challenged by the individualistic (genius?) rule-breaking for art to be interesting.
  • Goldsmith: *Digital age contemporaneity“ (postmodernism): “In today's digital world, language has become a provisional space”; “contemporary writing requires the expertise of a secretary crossed with the attitude of a pirate: replicating, organizing, mirroring, archiving, and reprinting …”

Activity

Propose a thesis that involves a “value statement,” considering the discussion and logic that might follow. Consider the terms above, as well as the more “usual” questions about literature such as craft, language, form, theme, and characterization.

Example. Robert F. Kennedy

By recalling the assassination scene of Robert Kennedy through the speech of two eye-witness reporters, Kenneth Goldsmith offers a powerful and moving recreation of an historical tragedy. It conveys not only the facts of history but the emotional experiences of the attack and death. In this way, despite the unoriginal content, it achieves literary value by moving readers for whom literature should speak to our condition as citizens (Hernstein Smith).

Google Doc Workspace External Link

3 John Lennon Dec 8, 1980 - pp 73

4 Space Shuttle Challenger, January 28, 1986 - pp 101

5 Columbine April 20, 1999 - pp 121

6 World Trade Center September 11 , 2001 - pp. 127

Homework

Please bring two, printed and paginated copies of your complete rough draft to class. Include a title, your name, and “draft” in the header. I will be checking in your drafts even though I will not collect them.

Thursday

Sherwood Criteria

C → Content O → Organization M → Mechanics R → Revision

Notes regarding revision: You will also compose a “Revision Cover Letter” to be submitted with the final version of the Essay. This one-page, single-spaced document addressed to me will narrate how you addressed your professors’ and classmates' suggestions for improving the final product. You must also include multiple, marked-up drafts showing your revision process for any revision credit (the absence of which would reduce your final essay grade by one quarter)). Drafts should be clearly labeled. The order of items in your packet is 1) Cover Letter; 2) Final Draft; 3) Intermediate draft w/Sherwood comments; 4) Revision plan document; 5) Rough draft; 6) Peer feedback sheet #1; 7) Peer feedback sheet #2). )

Paper Exchange

  • What is 'real revision'? Not surface edits.
  • How can I best help my classmates?

Talking Points (format, planning)

Click Here to Edit the list above

Homework

Carefully read the essays of two classmates. Provide detailed feedback using the worksheet as a guide.

Friday

Peer Revision Workshop

  1. Gather with your group;
  2. Give an oral summary of your comments on a classmate's paper;
  3. Then return the summary sheet to your classmate
  4. Discuss: Questions? Solutions?
  5. Repeat

Sunday Night Desparation

  • coffee
  • Writing Center satellite (in library) Sun 5-10:00pm

Synthesis: Blog Post

Take a moment to digest the comments you have received, reflecting on what you have heard from readers and what you know as the author of this draft. Compose a Revision Plan post for your blog in which you lay out next steps in specific detail. (In other words, don't just write “Fix organization” but rather “Revisit sequence of paragraphs on pages 3-5, add topic sentences and transitions to paragraphs in section 3; break down para 4, page 5 into three separate paragraphs and develop” etc. This plan should reflect everything you want to accomplish in revision – all the important points from your peer readers AND anything else you consider important to work on.

Homework

Revised essays are due in class Monday. Bring one stapled copy (behind it, include the rough draft, feedback sheets, and proposal).

Sign-up for Individual Conferences with Sherwood (for next week 12/4, 12/6, and 12/7). We'll meet in the DHC office: HSS 317

Our last regular class meeting is Monday 12/3, which will be devoted to Talking Points/ Poster preparation. Poster presentations are on Monday 12/10 during class time and Wednesday 12/12 during the final exam block (10:15am-12:15).