Some reminders and hints about upcoming assignments

  • USE YOUR RESOURCES! From your syllabus:

UMW Writing Center

The UMW Writing Center offers assistance on all types of writing projects. If you are an online or commuter student, you can schedule online or face-to-face appointments. Please ensure you are choosing the appropriate appointment type and date.

Phone: 540-654-5653
Website: http://academics.umw.edu/writing-fredericksburg/
Office Location: Hurley Convergence Center (HCC), Room 430

  • Reminder about assessment on essays 2 and 3: because the turn-around time is nearly impossible for me, I will be relying heavily on the grading rubric to carry the feedback.  If you want more detail or explanation, of course ask and I will be glad to provide it!

 

  • Hint for your final project:
    • for artifacts from the Whitman archive: Click on the image of the original publication/book for the page(s) you want.  When it opens full size, you can right click to save it, then upload that image to VoiceThread easily.
    • for artifact from the Dickinson archive: If you want to use the scriptural image, you can right click it and save just as with Whitman pages.  If you want text also, as I have generally done on VoiceThread, you will need to screenshot/edit when you have the text tab open to get both or to focus on just text.  (You can drag the scriptural image closer to the text to keep it contact.) If you use Firefox, there is a new screenshot option in the browser (choose Page Options, the three dots up in the url bar).  There are also free screen shot apps or you can search to see how to capture the screen on your own computer.
    • What is most important to me is your commentary.  If capturing archive images is becoming a major stressor while you complete your final project, then just copy the text you want and paste it into a word doc to upload (pdf sometimes works better if you want to save as pdf).  This eliminates the possibility of manuscript images, but needs must.

 

Brainpickings and WW

You will see in your readings this week that I’ve linked you out for one feature on the site brainpickings. I’ve seen a few posts on our friend Whitman there in the last several weeks, and share them here if you are missing the Good Gray Poet.

This one focuses on advice that WW gave to the young about building character and bringing change.

This one focuses on WW’s (odd) morning workout.

Song of mns

Camerados, this is a selfie of me and Whitman taken last week in the National Portrait Gallery, where I had gone to see a special exhibit on Sylvia Plath (a 20th-century confessional poet, a movement that owed much to Uncle Walt’s frankness).  I didn’t have to look like a weirdo in the corner, almost as grizzled as WW himself; I was with a friend who could have taken a better shot.  But my relationship with the poets we are studying is personal and so this seemed more appropriate.  Also, sometimes I feel I can only access Whitman and Dickinson partially as their genius astounds me, so my partial face can symbolize that. Though I have been a Dickinson devotee for many years, it took me into my middle age to love Whitman– I had admired him, but I had to find a less hypermasculine Whitman to really connect, and I did (oddly, given that war is a masculine enterprise, by immersing in his Civil War works).  I can and will fangirl about these two poets. You’re forewarned.

Some things I could venture to say about me:
I am honestly not nearly as nice as people are making me sound on this blog.
I believe literature matters and spend much time thinking about how and why.
I too would rather be in fresh air and I am also a vegetarian.
I would like to like gardening but.
I have two children and three pets.
I overwatch British drama and mystery tv.
I am a Pittsburgher and miss mountains.
I have names for my two imaginary future goats.
I am personally affronted by very hot sunny days.
I have an unusually(?) large collection of literary-themed jewelry and clothing.
I specialize in fruit-based desserts.
I actually do love poetic scansion.
I fixate on the moon.

Welcome to Whitman and Dickinson

You’ve heard of them.  You think you love or hate them. But do you know them?

Even for someone like me who rejects the idea that transcendent creative genius emerges mysteriously and in isolation, it’s hard to account for the experimental, powerful, and unique voices that emerged from these two poets, who are arguably the basis of all American poetry to come. Whitman and Dickinson are often cast in binaries: masculine vs. feminine; epic vs. lyric; brash and publicity-seeking vs. shy and reclusive; political vs. private. These contrasts apply even in their images: he is one of the most photographed people of the 19th century and she avoided the camera, leaving only two known likenesses; he worked in print, typesetting his own manuscripts, and she left thousands of hand-written works, from bound fascicles to lines scrawled on bits of envelope.

But like most binaries, these are fraught and finally unsatisfying.  For both poets also explored the natural world, the relationship between the human and divine, the nature of death, alternative sexualities, violence and grief, and their own roles as poets in a nation painfully forging its own identity. Individually and together, what can these great minds tell us about their world and our own, about the self and about others?  Let’s go.