Summer 2009 Final Projects and Due Dates

Dear students,

This is it–the home stretch! We’ve gone over each of these pieces in parts, but here is the whole. We will go over the in-class final with more specifics on Tuesday July 28; we will also go over the fallacies handout.


•    Group Research Blogs: Due Mon. July 27; meet at the Beach to go over them
Class time to work with your group Th. July 23 (plus Th. July 16)
Please leave a comment below on Thursday with a link to your blog so we can go see it over the weekend and leave comments!

•    IN CLASS GROUP PROJECT: Publication

Draft Due: Mon. July 27 Meet in the Beach; bring ideas for a title, cover art
Final and X# Copies Due: Tues. July 28 Meet by the Canon Copy Center (where you can make copies)

Minimum: 2 pages, 17 syllable haiku or American sentence per page. No maximum. Revise for publication something you’ve written this semester that you’d like to share: essay, reading response, event review, writing practice, creative writing, etc. Reading and publication party 730pm T. July 28 at the Artists Union Gallery. Friends and family welcome! If you read something you wrote at the open mic, you will not have to do two essays for the final exam, only one. If you write this up, it can count as one of your four literary events. We will decide on Monday how many we will make; bring $3 for binding.

•    FINAL Self-Assessment, Portfolio Due Weds. July 29

Portfolio review; Online and print. Will continue on Thursday. Your print portfolio should include your RAB, your self-assessment, all your written work with comments from readers and the instructor, plus revisions to total 25 double spaced typed pages (your five page paper plus revisions, selected lit events, reading responses, blog posts and pages, etc).

As you revise keep the following in mind:

Reading Responses are not just a summary of the reading. A reading response includes summary, analysis, response (your opinion), vocabulary words (either in context of the response or at the end), questions for discussion.

Reading Responses need at least ONE QUOTE from each text you discuss using MLA, and full MLA citations of each text at the end.

Final self-assessment. Reflect on the semester, what you achieved and learned; use these reflections to support your grade. What grade you think you’ve earned and why is the thesis. Include: Of what are you most proud with regards to your own effort and accomplishment in the course? How has the course changed your writing (Quality? Techniques? Attitudes?)? Your critical thinking skills? Your understanding and appreciation of literature?

–Productivity: 60% RRs, lit events, blog posts, etc

–Commitment, Participation, Teamwork: 20% attendance, preparedness

–Risks, Goals and Follow Through, Improvement: 20%

In the “Teamwork” section of your assessment credit your own contributions and please credit by name those in the course who contributed to your success this semester. Under improvement, discuss vocabulary and concepts you understand more deeply. Optional conferences can be scheduled after class T. 7/28, W. 7/29, and Th. 7/30; bring your portfolio and materials.

•    “My Top Ten Texts: RANKED ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY” Due Weds. July 29

Bring draft July 27 and 28. As you prepare your portfolio and final self-assessment, consider your Top Ten Texts and prepare a typed, ranked (1 being best), annotated (1-2 paragraph notes which support and explain your rankings), bibliography (complete bibliographic citations in MLA style). Which texts from this semester did you like best? Had the most impact? Why? Your annotations should support your rankings and include a few lines of summary with the occasional quote or key phrase. You may cut and paste from your reading responses but keep each annotation to one or two paragraphs of 3-5 lines each.

•    IN CLASS Final Exam: Bring BLUE BOOK and portfolio W. July 29 BEACH

You’ve done great work so far! Hang in there as we come around the bend toward the finish line!

best, gwendolyn

E.M. Forster: Aspects of the Novel

“Books have to be read (worse luck, for it takes a long time); it is the only way of discovering what they contain.” E. M. Forster, Introductory, Aspects of the Novel

“We have visualized the novelists of the last two centuries all writing together in one room, subject to the same emotions and putting the accidents of their age into the cricible of inspiration, adn whatever our results, our method has been sound–sound for an assemblage of pseudo-scholars like ourselves. But we must visualize the novelists of the next two hundred years as also writing in the room. The change in their subject matter will be enormous; they will not change. We may harness the atom, we may land on the moon, we may abolish or intensify warfare, the mental proceses of animals may be understood; but these are all trifles, they belong to history, not to art.” E.M. Forster, conclusion, Aspects of the Novel

Novelist E.M. Forster gave a series of lectures at Trinity College in the early 1920s which resulted in the influential book Aspects of the Novel which I first read as part of an independent study on the novel back when I was at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA.

For the class, I read one of the novels he discusses in each of his chapters so I would understand his examples better. I learned a lot about Aspects as well as the craft of the novel, both as a writer and as a reader. And I read a lot of great novels which I found necessary to really understand what he was saying. I find the more novels I read, the more examples I have, and the better I can apply his ideas.

When at Y2K there was a flurry of “best” lists, I was not surprised to find Aspects of the Novel on the list as it was the first real book of literary study. It’s insightful and written in an easy to read style giving it a balance between accessibility and complexity. Forster writes with ease and humor; we learn about teh novel, yes, but also about human nature.

While nothing gives you the same experience of reading the book as reading the book, below are some of the main points of E.M. Forster’s Aspects of the Novel as I see them.

In essence, Forster defines the novel as telling a STORY about PEOPLE who do something for a reason aka PLOT which we understand the implications of through the use of FANTASY, PROPHECY, PATTERN and RHYTHM.

STORY What happens: and then, and then, and then. The king dies, then the queen dies.

PLOT Why what happens: cause. The king died then the queen died of grief. It requires memory and intelligence from the reader.

PEOPLE What happens to who: the characters who do something. We should believe their actions yet somehow they must be capable of surprising us. In order to bring a novel to conclusion, sometimes a character is stretched to its limits.

FANTASY Asks the readers to give something extra, and “implies the supernatural but need not express it” (112).

PROPHECY A tone of voice; what is implied is more important than what is said


I’ll add more to this, including some key quotes from the text, when I get a chance!

Poetry by current US Poet Laureate Kay Ryan

Kay Ryan, the 16th poet laureate of the United States
US Poet Laureate Kay Ryan

DEW by Kay Ryan, US Poet Laureate

As neatly as peas
in their green canoe,
as discreetly as beads
strung in a row,
sit drops of dew
along a blade of grass.
But unattached and
subject to their weight,
they slip if they accumulate.
Down the green tongue
out of the morning sun into the general damp, they’re gone.

According to this article by Adam Phillips,

For the past year, Kay Ryan has been serving as America’s 16th poet laureate, tapped by the librarian of Congress to be ambassador for American poetry. She has published more than half a dozen books of collected poems. She is well-known for her compact, vivid and accessible verse.

The august marble-and-gilt halls of the Library of Congress, where Ryan has her official headquarters, seem an unlikely place for someone raised in what she calls the “glamour-free, ocean-free, hot, stinky, oil-rich, potato-rich” San Joaquin Valley of California. But then, growing up, Ryan didn’t want to be poet.

“It [to declare oneself a poet] seemed like putting on airs,” she says. “It seemed self-absorbed. It seemed like something that my oil well driller father wouldn’t understand at all and that my mother would disapprove of, because it was just showing off.”

Kay, I hear ya! My grandfather Norris Nathan and his brother Normal Claude were the first set of twins born in the San Joaquin, in Oildale, to an oil man. Although they moved away from Oildale–all the way to Bakersfield– they all worked in the oil fields at one time or another. My dad was born just a few years before you–you may have even gone to school together.

Continue reading this article by Adam Phillips from 21 July 2009 about US Poet Laureate Kay Ryan and hear her read more of her poems.