These choices are on a first-emailed, first-served basis.
Courtney B.: “For My Daughter” by Weldon Kees
Eva C.: “One Art,” by Elizabeth Bishop
Rachel D.: “Five Flights Up” by Elizabeth Bishop
Ercan K: “A Valediction Forbidding Morning” by Adrienne Rich
Abrie M.: “No Ideas About the Thing But the Thing Itself” by Wallace Stevens
Stephen R.: “A Bird came down the Walk” by Emily Dickinson /l
Sierra R.: “Love: Beginnings” by C.K. Williams
Olivia S.: “My Papa’s Waltz” by Theodore Roethke /l
Danielle S.: “Holding the Thought of Love” by Bernadette Mayer /l
Daniel S.: “Passing” by Langston Hughes
Jacqueline T.: “The World and I” by Laura Riding
Juliana W.: “Provide Provide by Robert Frost
Found Poetry: Some Definitions
Found poems take existing texts and refashion them, reorder them, and present them as poems. The literary equivalent of a collage, found poetry is often made from newspaper articles, street signs, graffiti, speeches, letters, or even other poems. The found poem achieved prominence in the twentieth-century, sharing many traits with Pop Art, such as Andy Warhol’s soup cans or Marcel Duchamp’s bicycle wheels and urinals. The writer Annie Dillard has said that turning a text into a poem doubles that poem’s context. “The original meaning remains intact,” she writes, “but now it swings between two poles.”–from The Academy of American Poets website
A prose text or texts reshaped by a poet into quasi-metrical lines. Fragments of found poetry may appear within an original poem as well.–from The Poetry Foundation
Found poetry is the rearrangement of words or phrases that are taken randomly from other sources (example: clipped newspaper headlines, bits of advertising copy, handwritten cards pulled from a hat) in a manner that gives the rearranged words a completely new meaning.–Wikipedia
A “found poem” is a piece of writing that was not at first intended to be poetic, or literary, at least at first; instead, the poet takes language out of its non-poetic, non-literary context and places it, or formats it, as a poem.
“The closer the original intent of the language comes to that of poetry, the less likely it is to qualify as true found poetry,” Ron Padgett writes.
Variations and Cousins of Found Poetry: Some Examples
Procedural poetry, which often generates poems using pre-conceived rules or schemes (turn to page 45 memes, etc.).
Scratch-outs, blackouts, cut-ups using non-literary or literary texts.
Jen Bervin, Nets, which uses William Shakespeare’s Sonnets (i.e., Nets)
Clinton and Lewinsky
Phil Rizzuto, Oh Holy Cow
Donald Rumsfeld, Pieces of Intelligence
Examples of Sources for Found Poetry
Trashy gossip magazines
Find a source text: try for a long passage (at least 100 words)
For this assignment, use a single source.
Type the passage down. Don’t change the language.
Give it line breaks.
Maybe even stanzas.
Give it a title of your own.
At the bottom of the page, cite the source of the original (use examples from Found Poetry Review as your guide).
Week-by-Week Class Plan for English 218: Poetry in Performance
[check back often for updates]
Introductions; praise songs and first assignments
Sound Poetry: YouTube playlist;
Sound Poem Assignment
Praise Songs, Troubadours, Poetry of The Self
Writing Prompt: The Metaphor Quiz
Due Tuesday, January 20, 11:59pm: recording of your Sound Poem; name file LastInitialFirstnameSoundPoem and place in the “01 Sound Poem” folder of our Dropbox
Due for class: Praise Poem. At least 10 lines using the Metaphor Quiz as your starting point.
You will perform your sound poems. Be prepared to discuss the sound poems from the YouTube playlist, as well as the composing of your own sound poem. I will present a couple short lectures on performing poetry, how to read a poem, and introduce some vocabulary. We will be screening some filmed performances, Poetry in Motion (excerpts), Def Poetry Jam, and others.
Due Monday, January 26, 11:59pm
1. Recording (and text!) of your Found Poem Assignment performances; name both files LastInitialFirstnameFoundPoem and place in the “02 Found Poem Text and Performance” folder of our Dropbox.
2. Text of Metaphor Quiz poem from first class meeting; name file LastnameFirstnameMetaphorQuiz and place in the “01 Metaphor Quiz Poem” folder of our Dropbox. This was due for January 22, but only two students came to class with printouts (they get extra credit).
3. Read all excerpts from Oxford Book of American Poetry (pdf file in the “Modern Poems 1″ folder in our Dropbox).
4. Email instructor (by January 26 11:59pm!) first poem selection from the Oxford Book of American Poetry (pdf file in the “Modern Poems 1″ folder in our Dropbox). This will be your first graded performance, due February 2; the choices will appear in this post as they come in. No repeats!
In-class: Performance workshop of Oxford Book of American Poetry poem selections
Due Monday, February 2, 11:59pm
1. Recording of your first selected poem from Oxford Book of American Poetry; name file “LastinitialFirstnameModern1″ and place in the “03 Modern 1 Performance” folder of our Dropbox.
In-class: Graded rubrics of performances handed back; review of performances; second Oxford selections assigned and reviewed.
2. Read/Know: Selected Poetry Terms; quiz in-class. I’ll quiz you only on the terms we’ve gone over.
In-class: Continue lecture on poetic terms, prosody and performance. In-class performance of Anaphora/Skeltonic poems, Oxford Anthology second round, other poems.
3. Assignments due night before class:
Writing Prompt: Skeltonic Verse: poem of at least 10 lines using Skeltonic rhyme (at least three lines with the same rhyme
Writing Prompt: Anaphora and Repetition: poem of at least 10 lines using the same anaphora
Save these poems as two separate files, “LastnameFirstnameSkeltonic” and “LastnameFirstnameAnaphora” and place both in the “03 Anaphora and Skeltonic Poems” folder of our Dropbox by Wednesday, February 4, 11:59pm. I will bring in printouts.
Plan on performing one of these in class–it’s your choice.
1. Recording of your second selected poem from Oxford Book of American Poetry; name file “LastinitialFirstnameModern2″ and place in the “04 Modern 2 Performance” folder of our Dropbox; your assigned choices appear in this post
Due Monday, February 16, 11:59pm
Interviews and Oral History
No Class: Midwinter Break
Midterm Performance: Hudson River Coffee House, 7:00pm
Frequency North reading with Leah Umansky and Sean H. Doyle
Form Poetry: Sonnet, Sestina, Pantoum
No Class: Instructor away at conference
Rehearsals for Final Class Performance
Frequency North reading with Stevie Edwards
Final Class Performance: Hudson River Coffee House, 7:00pm
If you love language, if you love words, then you love sounds. Words are made up of sounds. In the beginning wasn’t the word; it was the sound of our own voices, trying to make up words. Poetry is a musical, oral, and sonic art as much as it is a linguistic, written, or literary one. Whole shelves of libraries are dedicated to the relationship between the sound of words and their meaning, of how some words sound what they mean or even symbolize what they mean (onomatopoeia). In poetry, sound isn’t just window-dressing or a way of making a piece of writing more artful or pleasurable: it’s part of the meaning or even is the meaning.
The term “sound poetry” arose around the turn of the 20th century, and it was part of the Modernist and avant guard movements. In the roughest of terms, sound poetry attempts to combine music and poetry, as well as challenge what a poem is and what it is meant to do. for our 21st century eyes and ears, a lot of early sound poetry–and current, for that matter–may seem freaky and ridiculous. That reaction is fine: many sound poets had a tongue in their cheek as they went about doing this. I would say that sound poetry, whether it’s your cup of tea or not, serves a very noble purpose, which is to remind us that poetry is as much a musical as a literal art, and that sound and tone are important tools for us as performers.
All that being said, the term “sound poetry” is a very flexible term, at least the way we use it. There is poetry in the sounds of everyday speech: in auctioneers, Mongolian throat singers, girls singing “Miss Susie Had a Steamboat,” found recordings of heavy metal frontmen talking, and beatboxers imitating a record scratching.
Here is a YouTube playlist of some examples of sound poetry as well as some examples you could say is sound poetry after the fact. Watch all of these and see if you can use one of these as a model.
This assignment calls for you to write your own sound poem, and you can do that any number of ways. Here are just a few ideas; we can come up with more in class:
- Repeat one phrase, sentence or even paragraph. This can be your own or something you have found or heard or have had in your mind for some time. As you repeat, vary your tone, speed, volume, articulation, and voicing.
- Make up a word. Make up a bunch of words. Make up your own secret language. Use sound as your guide.
- Get a friend to help. Have him or her repeat what you say as a kind of echo or delay. Or read two things at once.
- Make sounds, only sounds.
- Sing part of what you perform. Or shout it.
The poem’s length is determined by time, as opposed to page or word count: specifically, it should last more than 30 seconds.
It should be recorded, either a sound file or posted online.
Plan on performing it in front of the class as well.
English 218: Poetry in Performance
Course #822 Section E2 4 credits
The College of Saint Rose
Thursdays, 6:00pm-9:20pm, Albertus 301
Daniel Nester, Instructor
E-mail: daniel [dot] nester [at] strose [dot] edu
Teaching Blog: http://nestersteachingblog.com
Office: Dolan Hall, 442 Western Avenue, First Floor #1
Office hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays 3pm-5pm and by appointment
Poetry is often thought of as a private, precious art, and poets as reclusive artists who are misunderstood geniuses. But poetry began as a public, often competitive art form, and the idea of poets as the village truth-teller has never completely gone away.
This class will produce poetry performances each week, as well as study the craft of poetry in performance. We will consider some of the traditions, manifestos, movements, and cultural contexts in which poems are written and performed–from African griots to medieval French troubadours, to sound and recording-based poetry, to Beat Generation and slam and hip hop.
One large component of this class will be our guests, whose books of poems we will read and perform ourselves, and then discuss with the poet in our classroom. Another We will work write new poems and learn to perform other poets work, both classic and contemporary. We will use a kitchen-sink approach, mixing up forms and formats, so that each student has built up a repertoire of different poems. The class will culminate in several public performances.
— to learn about and join the community and guild of poets and storytellers who perform their work, and with it, its traditions, influences, and histories;
— to perform every week—sometimes a work by our visiting writer or guest, other times original work of our own, other times a result of a prompt or exercise, either online or in-person;
— to develop a critical vocabulary of poetry in performance;
— learn to offer constructive, helpful critiques of fellow students’ performances in class, as well as to work with critiques offered of one’s own performances;
— to learn to read, listen, and react as writer-performers and teachers–as opposed to a general audience–and discuss examples of published work that address issues of craft we encounter in our class;
— explore some of the theoretical and aesthetic frameworks, implications and responsibilities of working with and collaborating with other writers in various community-based creative writing workshop settings, such as the Goldwater Writers Program, Poetry Out Loud, and schoolchildren;
— to end our class with performances of our own and others’ writing from our workshops;
— my own personal goal, for the class to have fun as we work hard to learn about the art and craft of poetry in performance, and in the process learn a little about ourselves.
Copies of other will be supplied by the instructor.
Course Requirements, Percentage of Your Final Grade
— 50% in-class performances, week-by-week performances (audioblogs, recordings)
— 30% in-class participation/attendance, group work, presentations, quality of critiques, discussions
— 20% Mid-Term and Final Readings, Out-of-Class Performances (10% discussed at conferences)
This class will integrate community-based writing workshops as one major, overarching component. Our workshops will be with from local Albany communities, which we will determine as a class. Dissemination-wise, we will collaborate and work with the community itself to determine how best to exhibit and perform the products from our workshops.
Some possibilities include, but are not limited to:
— residents of a senior care facility or local church in the Albany area;
— working with a non-profit partner in a particular neighborhood in Albany, such as Arbor Hill or Pine Hills;
— workshops centering around or inspired by individuals in a local subculture, such as the local writers and poets in the area, working with local nonprofit organizations
I use a grading rubric for many of my assignments. The following apply on class-by-class basis, and should give you an idea of how I assess student performance.
Syllabus Statements and Policies
We’ll go through these quickly in the first week of class. Please read through these.