English 218: Poetry in Performance

English 218: Poetry in Performance
Section E1, Course #382 Section E2 4 credits
The College of Saint Rose
Spring 2016
Thursdays, 6:00pm-9:20pm, Albertus 301
Daniel Nester, Instructor
E-mail: daniel [dot] nester [at] strose [dot] edu
Phone: 518-454-2812
Teaching Blog: http://nestersteachingblog.com
Office: Dolan Hall, 442 Western Avenue, First Floor #1
Office hours: Mondays and Wednesdays 1pm-2pm and by appointment

Course Description
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.

Course Goals
— 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.

Required Texts

Lehman, David. The Oxford Book of American Poetry. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.  [Amazon link]

Copies of other readings and handouts will be supplied by the instructor.

YouTube Playlists, Videos

Sound Poetry

Slam Poetry

Poetry in Performance

Anaphora

Poetry in Performance II

Manifestos and Open Letters

United States of Poetry

Course Requirements, Percentage of Your Final Grade
— 50% in-class performances, week-by-week performances (performance 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)

Rubrics
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.

Participation, Collegiality, and Conduct Rubric
Creative Writing Assignments Not for Workshop: An Evaluative Rubric
Poetry Recording Performance Evaluation Rubric
Poetry Performance Rubric

Student Reading and Writing Rubric

Syllabus Statements and Policies
We’ll go through these quickly in the first week of class. Please read through these.

Snapshot from My Grade Book
Writing Format
File Format and How to Name Your Files
How to Record a Performance for our Class [Poetry in Performance]

Attendance Policy
Conduct
Conferences and Drafts
Late Work
Participation: Writing Class
Required Materials and Skills
Recording Devices

Academic Integrity
Attending a Reading, Performance, or Lecture for Make-Up or Extra Credit: The Procedure
Students with Disabilities
Writing Center Visits

English 218 Week-by-Week Class Plan Spring 2016

Week 1: January 21

Introductions. Syllabus.

Go over first assignments: Metaphor Quiz; Open Letter, Manifesto.

Week 2: January 28

Due Monday, January 25, 11:59pm: Recording of your first performance: 30-60 seconds of something you know by heart. Name file LastInitialFirstnameFirstPerf and put in the “01 First Performance” folder in our Dropbox.

Screenings: Poetry in Motion, Def Poetry Jam, Slam Nation, Button Poetry

First batch of poems from The Oxford Book of American Poetry selected

Lectures 1-5: Performing Poems from the Page (on our Facebook page)

Go over first assignments: Metaphor Quiz; Praise Songs and Troubadours, Open Letter, Manifesto, The 16 Bars Assignment, Collaborative Writing,  Found Poetry, Moth Storytelling, Group Slam piecesSound Poetry Assignment, ARC Performances, Anaphora and Repetition,

Week 3: February 4

Due Monday, February 1, 11:59pm: Recording of performance from first batch of poems from The Oxford Book of American Poetry. Name file LastInitialFirstnameOxford1 and put in the “02 Oxford 1” folder in our Dropbox.  Remember to follow the directions here.

Second batch of poems from The Oxford Book of American Poetry (selected by instructor)

Lectures 1-5: Performing Poems from the Page (on our Facebook page); go over Selected Poetic Terms for Poetry in Performance; Quiz 1

Week 4: February 11

Due Monday, February 8, 11:59pm: Recording of performance from second batch of poems from The Oxford Book of American Poetry. Name file LastInitialFirstnameOxford2 and put in the “03 Oxford 2” folder in our Dropbox.

Due Thursday, February 11, 5:59pm: Text and/or recording of first original poem draft! Choose from four options: Open Letter, Manifesto, The 16 Bars Assignment, Collaborative Writing,  and Sound Poetry Assignment. Give the file your own name LastInitialFirstnamePoemTitle and put in the “03 Poem Draft 1” folder in our Dropbox.

Lectures 1-5: Performing Poems from the Page (on our Facebook page); go over Selected Poetic Terms for Poetry in Performance; Quiz 2

First performance of original poems drafts. Third-round picks of poems from The Oxford Book of American Poetry given out

Field trip to attend reading by Yusef Komunyakaa, 8:00 p.m., Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, SUNY Albany’s Downtown Campus

Week 5: February 18

Due Monday, February 15, 11:59pm: Recording of performance of original poem composed using one of our assignments/prompts. Name file LastInitialFirstnamePoem1 and put in the “04 Original Poem” folder in our Dropbox.

Due Thursday, February 18, 5:59pm: Text of second original poem draft! Choose from our earlier options: Open Letter, Manifesto, The 16 Bars Assignment, Collaborative Writing,  and Sound Poetry Assignment. Plus, these options: Anaphora, Thirteen Ways of Looking at X,  Sestina, SkletonicsGive the file your own name LastInitialFirstnamePoemTitle and put in the “04 Poem Draft 2” folder in our Dropbox.

Second in-class performance of original poems; work on poems begun in class February 4.

Saint Rose faculty reading, on campus, 7pm.

By Friday, February 19, 11:59pm: All recordings and texts of performances submitted for feedback! I will email you this feedback over the weekend, so you will be able to use it for your Monday recording. You need to hand in all texts of poems you’re going to performing. I will go through all the folders for original student work already handed in, but for anything that needs to be handed in, do the following: 

Performances: Name file LastInitialFirstnamePoem1 and put in the “04 Original Poem” folder in our Dropbox.

Texts: Give each file your own name LastInitialFirstnamePoemTitle and put in the “04 Poem Draft 2” folder in our Dropbox.

Week 6: February 25

Due Monday, February 22, 11:59pm: Second recording of performance of an original poem composed using one of our assignments/prompts. Name file LastInitialFirstnamePoem2 and put in the “05  Original Poem 2” folder in our Dropbox.

Rehearsals for our Midterm Performance in class. Class guest: Daniel Summerhill (he will come in around 7:15).

Week 7: March 3

Due Monday, February 29, 11:59pm: Recording of performance from third batch of poems from The Oxford Book of American Poetry. Name file LastInitialFirstnameOxford3 and put in the “06 Oxford 3” folder in our Dropbox.

Fourth batch of poems from The Oxford Book of American Poetry

Midterm Performance, Hudson River Coffee House, 7:30pm, opening the Starving Artist Thursdays Open Mic.

Week 8: March 10

No class: Midwinter Break

Week 9: March 17

Due Monday Due Monday, March 14, 11:59pm:

Submit poetry performance choices for the following performances:
1. Submit two choices from The Oxford Book of American Poetry to record performances. These must not have been already performed by the class and subject to instructor approval. Consult the file “Oxford Picks Round 1 2 3 ALL” in the “07 Oxford 4” folder in Dropbox to check your selections have not already been recorded by classmates. Specify author name, title of poem, and page number in the book.

2. Submit two choices from the poetry archives of Pine Hills Review, the literary magazine at The College of Saint Rose, to record as future recorded performances. These are also subject to instructor approval. Go to the Pine Hills Review archive page and look for items in the “poetry” category.  Performances that meet standards will be posted to Pine Hills Review‘s Soundcloud page.

All Choices will be taken in the order they are submitted. If there are repeats in any of these choices, preference will be given to whoever gets their choices in Dropbox first. Put all of these choices in a single Word document, name the document LastnameFirstnamePoemChoices and place in the “07 Poem Choices” folder in our Dropbox.

Midterm Grades handed out. Mini-conferences.

Go over Oxford and Pine Hills Review choices in class.

Final performances planning: posters, Facebook event page, running order, poems, breaks.

Discuss April 21/Word Fest possibilities.

Week 10: March 24

Due Monday, March 21, 11:59pm: Recording of performance from fourth batch of poems from The Oxford Book of American Poetry. Name file LastInitialFirstnameOxford4 and put in the “07 Oxford 4” folder in our Dropbox.

Thursday, March 24: Main Lounge in Events and Activities Center, 7pm

Week 11: March 31

Due Monday, March 28 April 4, 11:59pm: Recording of performance from Pine Hills Review. Name file LastInitialFirstnamePHR and put in the “09 Pine Hills Review” folder in our Dropbox.

No class: Instructor is away at conference

Week 12: April 7

Due Monday, March 28 April 4, 11:59pm: Recording of performance from Pine Hills Review. Name file LastInitialFirstnamePHR and put in the “09 Pine Hills Review” folder in our Dropbox.

Saratoga field trip to Northshire Books! 7pm reading with Anthony Michael Morena and Daniel Nester (that’s me!)

Week 13: April 14

Come with your pick for a short poem for the Lark Street Poetry Walk on April 21.

Reading on-campus: Elisa Albert and Rebecca Wolff, 7pm Carondolet Symposium in Lally Hall

Week 14: April 21

2:30pm Albany Word Fest/English Symposium. Extra credit opportunity to read an Oxford Book of American Poetry poem in the 2:30pm-4pm slot.

Lark Street Poetry Walk!

Week 15: April 28

No class meeting. Open office hours in my office in Dolan Hall 6-8pm for conferences.

Week 16: May 5

6pm: class meets in Albertus 301 to organize for final reading.

Thursday, May 5: Main Lounge in Events and Activities Center, 7pm