Wendell Berry’s “The Peace of Wild Things”

Wendell Berry’s “The Peace of Wild Things” which I found in Robert Bly’s News of the Universe:

When peace for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Mary Oliver “Summer Day”

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean–
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down–
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

“Little Things” aka “Popular Mechanics” aka “Mine” by Raymond Carver

carversite: raymond carver story

Little Things by Raymond Carver

Early that day the weather turned and the snow was melting into dirty water. Streaks of it ran down from the little shoulder-high window that faced the backyard. Cars slushed by on the street outside, where it was getting dark. But it was getting dark on the inside too.

He was in the bedroom pushing clothes into a suitcase when she came to the door.

I’m glad you’re leaving! I’m glad you’re leaving! she said. Do you hear?

He kept on putting his things into the suitcase.

Son of a bitch! I’m so glad you’re leaving! She began to cry. You can’t even look me in the face, can you?

Then she noticed the baby’s picture on the bed and picked it up.

He looked at her and she wiped her eyes and stared at him before turning and going back to the living room.

Bring that back, he said.

Just get your things and get out, she said.

He did not answer. He fastened the suitcase, put on his coat, looked around the bedroom before turning off the light. Then he went out to the living room.

She stood in the doorway of the little kitchen, holding the baby.

I want the baby, he said.

Are you crazy?

No, but I want the baby. I’ll get someone to come by for his things.

You’re not touching this baby, she said.

The baby had begun to cry and she uncovered the blanket from around his head.

Oh, oh, she said, looking at the baby.

He moved toward her.

For God’s sake! she said. She took a step back into the kitchen.

I want the baby.

Get out of here!

She turned and tried to hold the baby over in a corner behind the stove.

But he came up. He reached across the stove and tightened his hands on the baby.

Let go of him, he said.

Get away, get away! she cried.

The baby was red-faced and screaming. In the scuffle they knocked down a flowerpot that hung behind the stove.

He crowded her into the wall then, trying to break her grip. He held on to the baby and pushed with all his weight.

Let go of him, he said.

Don’t, she said. You’re hurting the baby, she said.

I’m not hurting the baby, he said.

The kitchen window gave no light. In the near-dark he worked on her fisted fingers with one hand and with the other hand he gripped the screaming baby up under an arm near the shoulder.

She felt her fingers being forced open. She felt the baby going from her.

No! she screamed just as her hands came loose.

She would have it, this baby. She grabbed for the baby’s other arm. She caught the baby around the wrist and leaned back.

But he would not let go. He felt the baby slipping out of his hands and he pulled back very hard.

In this manner, the issue was decided.

“Little Things” from Where I’m Calling From: The Selected Stories Atlantic Monthly Press, 1988. Copyright © 1988 by Tess Gallagher.

The story appeared as “Mine” in Furious Seasons And Other Stories Capra Press, 1977 and as “Popular Mechanics” in What We Talk About When We Talk About Love Knopf, 1981.

“Your Dog Dies” by Raymond Carver

YOUR DOG DIES

by Raymond Carver

it gets run over by a van.
you find it at the side of the road
and bury it.
you feel bad about it.
you feel bad personally,
but you feel bad for your daughter
because it was her pet,
and she loved it so.
she used to croon to it
and let it sleep in her bed.
you write a poem about it.
you call it a poem for your daughter,
about the dog getting run over by a van
and how you looked after it,
took it out into the woods
and buried it deep, deep,
and that poem turns out so good
you’re almost glad the little dog
was run over, or else you’d never
have written that good poem.
then you sit down to write
a poem about writing a poem
about the death of that dog,
but while you’re writing you
hear a woman scream
your name, your first name,
both syllables,
and your heart stops.
after a minute, you continue writing.
she screams again.
you wonder how long this can go on.

thanks to Rodger at Carver’s Dog for reminding me about this poem and for providing the link

ranked annotated bibliographies

I’ve fielded several questions today about the RAB–Ranked Annotated Bibliography–aka “Top 10 Texts.” So I found an annotated bibliography on-line as an example. It has MLA documentation for each text, followed by a bit of summary and discussion or response. Your discussion doesn’t have to be as long as the example below, but should include why you ranked the text where you did. Also, note this is listed in the order of publication date; an RAB is ordered by rank. Your RAB can use anything you “read” this semester in the context of this class (including guest speakers and films). BTW, Peter Elbow’s work has highly influenced my teaching strategies.

Annotated Bibliography: Peter Elbow

Elbow, Peter. Embracing Contraries: Trustworthiness in Evaluation. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1986.

Elbow suggests, in the section of this book, that three general strategies for increasing the trustworthiness of grades and comments. First, breaking down into parts the performance to be evaluated. It is not surprising that any piece of writing will more than likely get the full range of grades. It would be better that readers agree remarkably better if readers grade features (ideas, organization, mechanics, and so forth) of each of the pieces of writing. Competence-based education and narrative evaluations are ways to increase the trustworthiness of evaluation by breaking down the knowledge or skills into parts. Second, using more than one graders will increase the trustworthiness of evaluation. Here the term of portfolio first appears in his article. The above two methods are most helpful with measurement. Last, using “movies of the reader’s mind” whose purposes are to tell students the truth and ground teachers’ reactions in specific details and accurate observations. This last method is related to comments. Finally, Elbow concludes that evaluation includes two activities: measurement (or grading or ranking) and commentary (or feedback).

I think this article represents his early ideas of evaluation. The methods he suggested were embryonic as compared to the methods he proposes right now. I can see that the term of portfolios emerges not as a fad but as a necessity at that time and extends up to the present.

Elbow, Peter. Nothing Begins with N: Toward a Phenomenology of Freewriting. Ed. Pat Belanoff, Peter Elbow, and Sheryl I. Fontaine. Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois UP, 1991.

Elbow regards freewriting as a warm-up activity towards other more complicated activities. He thinks that freewriting is something at the center of a writer and a teacher. He has several reasons for freewriting. First, freewriting is so incoherent that it relieves the burdens that would undermine students’ writing. Second, unfocused exploring is his main use of freewriting. True freewriting is a companionable, social activity which contradicts the association of writing with isolation. There are two kinds of freewriting: private (writing for self), and public(sharing with others). Freewriting invites the mind to react actively. It can lead to a certain experience of writing or kind of writing process. Freewriting establishes a directness of tone, sound, style, and diction that helps Elbow emulate in his careful revising. Freewriting involves a sense of letting go and a matter of translation. It functions ambivalent ways of pouring oneself into one’s discourse and popping oneself out of it. In his conclusion, Elbow admits that freewriting has given him a profoundly different experience of and relationship to writing.

This article, unlike the other articles that Elbow publishes, is written in an descriptive and expressive way. The whole article is centered in the theme of “freewriting.” It describes what benefits freewriting can contribute to writing. I don’t know whether freewriting can be useful to every student in the writing class even though I admire its merits.

Elbow, Peter. “Reflections on Academic Discourse: How It Relates to Freshmen and

Colleagues.” College English 53 (1991): 135-55.

Elbow indicates that there is something good about academic discourse: learning, intelligence, sophistication, but there is something about academic discourse which he seems to dislike: it is the discourse that academics use when they publish for other academics. He objects to the idea of handing over the freshman writing course entirely to academic discourse. He gives three reasons for this: First, very few of our students will ever have to write academic discourse after college. Students can be granted to have a free choice of writing. He thinks that the best test of a writing course is whether it makes students more likely to use writing in their lives. Second, a kind of nonacademic discourse is particularly important to teach. That is the discourse rendering experience rather than explaining it. The discourse that renders often yields important new cognitive insights. Third, nonacademic discourse is necessary for helping students produce good academic discourse. The use of academic discourse often indicates a lack of true understanding. He argues that the teacher can’t teach academic discourse because there is no such thing to teach. The teacher knows little or nothing about other kinds of discourse except his or her own discourse; therefore, he or she is not qualified to teach most kinds of academic discourse. People see academic discourse as a medium whose conventions tend to imply disinterested impersonality and detachment. Academic discourse tries to focus on the argument, reasons, and the claim. It also leads to a somewhat formal language. Students are learning better when academic discourse is separated from its linguistic and stylistic conventions. In the end, he suggests that students should master some particular, well-defined sort of discourse rather than confining to academic one. Thus, students are able to develop an awareness of and pleasure in the various competing discourses that make up their own.

I think that the best way to introduce students to academic discourse is to have them familiarize nonacademic discourse first. As they are used to putting their thoughts and experiences with their own language in writing, they are ready for being inculcated the conventions of academic discourse. When writing for academic discourse, they won’t just mimic surface stylistic features instead of elaborating organic contents.Ra

GOLD–VC Dance Concert

GOLD COMES TO THE VENTURA COLLEGE THEATRE!
The Ventura College Dance Department’s spring show, GOLD, celebrates award winning music, cinema, and stage performances. Through dance and song the audience will relive Grammy, Academy, and Tony recipients. GOLD will please all dance lovers with a full range of genre, including ballet, modern, jazz, hip hop, ballroom, and tap. For music enthusiasts, there will be live performances from some of the county’s best vocal artists.
GOLD will be in the main theater at Ventura College Friday May 16th at 8:00 pm, Saturday May 17th at 8:00 pm and a 3:00 pm matinee performance on Sunday May 18th.
This original dance production is the artistic creation of the students in Dance 30, a course offered at Ventura College to give students real experience in choreography and performance. GOLD is directed by Becky Contreras, in conjunction with assistant director Darshana Chima.
Dance numbers will include performances to well-known music from such movies and musicals as Gone with the Wind, Doctor Zhivago, Chariots of Fire, Casablanca, Love Story, Zorba the Greek, An American in Paris, Chicago, The Godfather, Titanic, Wicked, Grease, Guys and Dolls, Dream Girls, Lion King, Schindler’s List, the Wiz, Movin’ Out, and Hairspray.
Music will include pieces from Fiddler on the Roof, West Side Story, Sound of Music, Man of La Mancha, Camelot, Cabaret, Big River, Phantom of the Opera, Miss Saigon, and South Pacific.
Students from around the county will be participating in this series of performances:
Janesse Alcaraz, Karen Alfaro, Yulianna Alfara, Yadira Barboza, Jannely Becerra, Isaias Castillo, Latika Castillo, Glacy May Guijo Juan Carlo Gutierrez, Rudy Larrazolo, Erika Lopez, Jocelyn Liu, Ashley Martinez, Jessica Parizo, Rafael Rameriz, all of Oxnard; Alyse Herrera, Linda Isaac, April Rose Muentz, Shelby Schneider, Olivia Valdellon, all of Ventura, Eddie Martinez of Santa Paula and Micelle Muentz of Cape May, New Jersey. Danielle Barrette of Fillmore was also in the cast until her death in a car accident last week. The cast is continuing with the scheduled performances in her memory.
All tickets at the door will be $10.00. Pre-sale tickets are $10.00 for general admission, $8:00 for students, seniors, and faculty members. For more information, or to order tickets contact Becky Contreras at 805-207-5877.

conferences

If you want to meet with me to conference about your final grade, let me know. Get your research paper back, get feedback on your final projects, know where you stand and what you need to do to achieve the grade you desire. Bring your portfolio, your self assessment/argument for your grade, and your ranked annotated bibliography

I have time available to meet in the afternoon:

Tuesday 5/6 available 12-5,

Weds 5/7 in the library avail after 415 and/or in the evening
12 Brooke; 1220 Chelsea; 1240 Rajdeep (no show);
1p Monica; 130 Adrian; 150 Puneet (no show);
210 Hanna; 230 Shane; 250 Susan;
310 Jessica; 330 Neydi (CX); 350 Aaron; 415p Jennifer

Thursday 5/8 at Peet’s on Victoria near Telephone after 215p,
1p Robert; 130p Justin; 150 Tanya; 215 Brandi cx Lorena

Friday 5/9 in the library 12-330p
noon Eric; 1220 KM; 1240 Amanda;
1p Juliane; 120 Michael; 140 Mary Anne;
2p Mona; 220 Jennifer; 240 Rajdeep (RS);
3 Neydi (RS)

Comment or email me if you want to meet. Conferences are scheduled to last 20 minutes. I will email or call you (if you leave your number) to confirm.

Remember, no classes are scheduled to meet Weds. May 7; all finals are to keep to the schedule (posted on this blog). If a faculty member deviates from this, you have the right to ask them to follow the schedule or to bring this up with administrations. When someone changes the schedule to meet their needs, it often messes others up. I have been told we are required to give a final and meet during the final period

good luck on your finals!