Yeah, Write.

"That's not writing; that's just typing." –Truman Capote


Hey there, poets, click your way through this prezi on Modernism and take notes as you go. Make sure you have sound capabilities as well. There’s fancy media. This content is quiz-worthy, so take good notes. The quiz won’t be for a little while yet–we’ve got some readin’ to do.

Also, keep up with your NaPoWriMo project…it will punch you in the throat if you put it off any longer.

How Romantic!

Hey, poets.

Please view this prezi and take notes on the content as you need to. I am not your brain; I do not know what would be best to write down in order for you to learn, but I will tell you that you need to know these things and that there will eventually be a quiz on thee things.


Speaking of quizzes, I’m sorry to delay your quiz #2 but I felt like two quizzes in one day was a lot and I wanted to give you another day to look over your Dante and Shakespeare stuff for quiz #2 so here we are.

Holla at me if the prezi isn’t working. I will be in a meeting but could possibly troubleshoot it.


Ah, Hell.

Hey poets,

Keep on trucking through Dante’s hell, but please take a few moments to look through this Prezi and fill in any gaps you may have in your understanding. There’s some info about Dante himself, and the political turmoil resulting in his exile, some explanation of Dante’s hell, and all kinds of fun facts about the poetic aspects of it.

Be ready to tell us all about your canto tomorrow.

Welcome Poets!


Among the many things we will do this semester, we will write poetry. These are websites that generate poems for you using algorithms and scripts and things. The products will not be good, but that’s where you come in. Use the generated poems to spur you into action: write a good poem based on what you end up with. Perhaps write a trio of related poems or a conversation between poems where one answers another. Or just use bits and pieces from one or ten of these robot poems to write something cool. Play. Generate. Beat the bots.


Over break, you will scour your author’s work for evidence of style. You will become intimately familiar with the ins and outs of their writing. It seems like you all have a good handle on what you need to do…but now you need to do it. I didn’t see too many of you with substantial notes. I didn’t specifically ask to see substantial notes, but you really need them. Take them.

Once you have completed your remaining power writing essay(s) send me ONE EMAIL with the essay(s) attached as word documents or PDFs. If you send me a google docs link I will roll my eyes and not check yours until the very end because I hate google docs with the intensity of a thousand suns. Attachments please. Several of you have already sent me goole docs things. I have already rolled my eyes at this. Re-send as attachments and you shall be absolved.

Then, select one of your power writing essays to develop fully. Completely revise it. This is NOT just a matter of adding in some stuff and changing a few things. This is a full revision, people. Hack it into tiny bits and do it all over again. If it looks the same, reads the same, feels the same, you haven’t done what you need to do. There are no length or form limits, just write a damn good essay. We will workshop and revise further that week we get back.

Blogging! I’ll admit, I’ve let this slip past my radar a bit. I believe in it for developing voice in writing and so I want you to post to your blog twice over break. On anything you’d like. Holiday traditions. The absurdity of New Year’s resolutions, the beauty of winter sunlight on snow covered trees, your obnoxious cousin Tyler who just will not stop farting–whatever is going on in your world, blog it.

You have work to do. You really super need to do it, but do also find time to rest and play.

Be well.


Choosing an Author

So…choosing your author is really important. Like, really, really important. Your only homework this weekend is to browse and sample authors that you may want to study for this next, upcoming, projecty thing. That’s intentional. You need to spend time on this. To help you get started on this path, I’m giving you this list of authors. You’re welcome. Worth noting: this list is in no particular order other then how these authors’ books were arranged on my bookshelves and/or in my brain. There’s no dewey decimal system in either of those places. Some of them we’ve read, some of them have written in lots of genres — you’ll need to pick up their nonfiction works: essay, memoir, biography. Some are funny some are not. You need to browse. Sample. Read excerpts.  Choose an author whose work you enjoy and understand. Choose an author you can spend time studying. You will have some class time before break to read and dig in. This will be due shortly after break. More details to come.

  • Cynthia Kaplan
  • George Orwell
  • Barbara Ehrenreich
  • Dave Eggers
  • John McPhee
  • Augusten Burroughs
  • Jenny Lawson
  • Chuck Klosterman
  • David Foster Wallace
  • Joseph Mitchell
  • David Rakoff
  • Sarah Vowell
  • George Saunders
  • Eula Biss
  • Laurie Notaro
  • Pam Houston
  • Deborah Blum
  • Tom Wolfe
  • Joan Didion
  • David Sedaris
  • Malcolm Gladwell
  • Bill Bryson
  • Dave Barry
  • Michael Pollan
  • Bernard Cooper
  • Kurt Vonnegut
  • Mary Roach
  • Rachel Carson
  • Richard Dawkins
  • Annie Dillard
  • Jack El-Hai
  • Tracy Kidder
  • Bell Hooks
  • Toure
  • Sloane Crosley
  • Nora Ephron
  • Meghan Daum
  • Steve Martin
  • Gore Vidal
  • Anna Quindlen
  • William Hazlitt
  • Phillip Lopate
  • Adam Gopnik
  • Anne Lamott
  • Pico Iyer
  • E. B. White
  • Susan Sontag
  • Shirley Jackson
  • Charles Dickens
  • Nick Hornby
  • Nick Flynn
  • Jo Ann Beard

Check out for some quick bios.

Some other names appear on this list. I have not read everything ever written so I don’t know lots of these names, but still…you can explore.

It’s a metaphor!

Hey cats and kittens,

For this weekend’s blog post, I’d like you to hunt for the metaphor in the everyday. You can be sincere about this or play with the absurd. For instance, you might want to pretend that everything that happens is a metaphor and then just let that play out. Keep track of these things and chronicle them or focus on one to explain, or use one or two as an example and talk about how metaphor in daily life works. It’s your blog. Play around. Have fun.

On Paying Attention

Hey cats and kittens,

After having shared a number of the observations you made as careful observers, I’d like you to take one of them that caught your attention and spin it into a written piece of about 300–350 words. This could be a descriptive piece, reflective or narrative, instructional, argumentative–whatever will make sense given the topic that begins it all. Have some fun with this. See where it takes you. Take some risks with your writing. Make yourself a character telling the story. Try on an identity to tell the story. Embrace your own quirks. Go for it.

Happy weekend. Happy blogging.



I hope you enjoyed our Halloween Funtime and saw it for what it was: some stress relief and hidden learning. You all need some down time to re-group and I hope you get that this weekend.

So, about that essay on zombies. Klosterman has a prominent writing style and I’l like you to comment on that–what is it about how he writes that draws the audience in? What do you notice about his linguistic patterns? Look to diction, syntax, and tone for things to comment on. Then, please also comment on the argument he makes about “zombie culture” and what it maybe means to/for us. Finally, how are these two things (his argument and his style) connected? How do they work together?

One last thing: find an example of a zombie thing (or a vampire thing) in pop culture and comment on the argument it makes, or what the appeal is, or anything else rhetorically interesting you notice about it.

Enjoy scaring small children tonight and enjoy a couple days off.


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