“Writers by the Sea”:
Creativity from Gwendolyn Alley’s English V01B
Ventura College Summer 2009
Introduction by Gwendolyn Alley
You hold in your hand work that we have selected to share with you, the reader, work that we wrote, for the most part, this summer 2009 as part of our productivity for English 1B at Ventura College. You can learn more about who we are by reading our bios at the end of this collection.
We can’t escape being influenced in our writing and our choices with what we’ve read this summer. We started out the first day of class with a poem by Nanao Sakaki, “Break the Mirror” which you can find on the next page. “Break the Mirror” set the stage for our journey this summer into Ways of Seeing including John Berger’s seminal work. What do we see? How do we see it? How does that influence how we read the world—and ourselves?
Our journey continued with three plays: “Riders to the Sea” by J.M. Synge (the title of which helped us find our title), True West by Sam Shepard, and Macbeth by William Shakespeare. Since Cal Lutheran University was producing the play this summer, director Michael Arndt spoke to our class about putting the page on the stage.
Following our sojourn into dramatic literature, we immersed ourselves in the world of Ray Carver as we read his collection, Where I’m Calling From. We also read the short stories “Yellow Woman” by Leslie Marmon Silko, “Red Convertible” by Louise Erdrich, and “Brokeback Mountain” by Annie Proulx.
Before we went deeper into fiction, we read poetry, some from handouts, but mostly poetry what students in the class found and analyzed and brought into class to share with us. Poets ranged from Sylvia Plath, Langston Hughes, Robert Frost, Sappho, Emily Dickinson, and song lyrics by Garth Brooks. We shared what we learned on our blogs which focused on diverse topics including Slam (Trevor Scott), Maya Angelou (Ariel Namm and Jordan Clegg), poetry from Guantanamo (Meghan DeSchmidt and Ana Ramirez), and the local poetry scene (Jennifer Fildes).
We finished the semester with fiction and a research project which we published on another blog. Some of us chose to read and study Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko and others did Beloved by Toni Morrison. Two research blogs covered the experiences of individuals who go through war as inspired by Ceremony and gender roles and gay rights as influenced by Brokeback Mountain.
In addition to all this, we all went to four or more literary events, including plays and poetry readings, and you will see some reviews on those events here.
We read a lot, wrote a lot, talked a lot, and even blogged a lot! Enjoy! Keep reading and writing!
Best, Gwendolyn Alley
instructor, English 1B, Ventura College
“Writers by the Sea”: Creativity from Gwendolyn Alley’s English V01B Summer 2009
Table of Contents
Introduction: Gwendolyn Alley
Poetry: Red Wine by Vernita Bashe
Review: Macbeth Comes to Life in Cal Lutheran University by Marlene Arambula
Poetry: “The Living God” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Presenter: Kimberly Libman
Essay: Riding into the West by Kristine Blando
Essay: A Deeper look into “Brokeback Mountain” by Jordan Clegg
Poetry: “Fable” by Ralph Waldo Emerson
Presenter: Kalia Randall
Review: Macbeth by Joel Velasco
Poetry: A Sister Gone Too Soon by Jennifer Fildes
Poetry: Shishilop Project: Surfer’s Point (September 2008) by Gwendolyn Alley
Poetry: Where I’m From by Jordan Clegg
Poetry: The Good Baby by Trevor Scott
Essay: Perception by Ariel Namm
Poetry: Sonnet XUII by Pablo Neruda
Presenter: Ana Ramirez
Poetry: And 2morrow by Tupac Shakur
Presenter: Genaro Garcia
Poetry: The State of Optimism by Gwendolyn Alley
Poetry: “The Shoe” by Kathryn Starbuck
Presenter: Megan DeSmidt
Poetry : Curiosity by Trevor Scott
Poetry: Back to School by Jennifer Fildes
Essay: Ways of Seeing by Jordan Lukiewski’
Poetry: Red Pen by Kalia Randall
Poetry: Poems by Scott Jarrid
Poetry: Inspiration by Vernita Bashe
to be added…