The first book we looked at was Don't Let Me Be Lonely by Claudia Rankine. Here are the lesson plans and assignment:
Project One: Hybrid form, the personal meets the multi-political (memoir-political), documentation
Requirement: At least five pages connected by a theme.
Based on Don’t Let Me Be Lonely
Alternative projects: Psychogeography
Based on Jena Osman’s Walking Mapping Tracking Writing: An Experiment in Psychogeography:
Our starting point will be the Situationist “dérive,” or drift, which requires breaking usual habits of moving through a place. We’ll read related works and then take a series of walks (alone and together, actual and imagined) in order to explore local terrains. Prompts for these walks will be constructed collaboratively; we’ll use the information gathered to create maps that will lead us to writing. Bring whatever portable recording devices you have on hand (cameras, smartphones, notebooks) to help us document our drifts.
Another, based on Kaia Sand’s Remember to Wave, will consider all of the options involved with a work that combines place with all of the layered contexts carried personally and historically.
On a note about memoir: When writing out of personal experiences, we should be careful when writing about trauma—as to not re-traumatize ourselves.
With that said, I will appreciate any bravery out of our class--of sharing about such things. I know my personal writing has helped me.
From Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg: "Writing can help you find greater wholeness, healing and strength. It can turbo-charge your resiliency -- your ability to endure and thrive. It can also help you sort out what really happened, not so much factually but emotionally, psychically, spiritually or other ways that shape and infuse who you are. Writing can give you back more of who you are, and give you a vehicle for your story so that you can contribute to growing the world's compassion and wisdom."
Brainstorm ideas for their own writing
Learn more about the current trends and topics
Examine the assigned readings in classroom discussion for further understanding
Announce reading series:
What ideas and subjects do you have in mind? Freewrite.
Looking at the first two first-day questions, what can you add?
What things do you enjoy in life? What things inspire you?
What other “personal causes” do you have? Social causes?
Show a collection of poetry books and discuss themes. If any themes spark something, write those down.
If you wrote about an experience that changed your life, what would it be? [Only a couple of sentences, if you want, are needed.]
Three more experiences?
What do you like in pop culture? Despise?
This last question:
Amy King: “Speech requires means and distribution to be heard, and poetry is one of the most dangerous forms of speech as, ultimately, poets are not beholden to the status quo. Poets who do the difficult work of language do not simply reflect the culture, but seek to change it. (Poetry has always spearheaded change from a peripheral position.) “
Although this class is certainly about hybridity, a lot of the hybridity is still grounded in the experimental poetry movements.
Another notion being challenged is around non-fiction:
John D’AgataThe James Frey story
Reality Hunger is theory
DLMBL is practice
describe pacing, repetition (anaphora), etc. setting up theme
describe the semester as a whole
desc alternate idea for writing project 1
"Popular culture cameos regularly in my work as I'm no true adherent to the use of high and low culture as a means for distinguishing myself on the status quo scale. I'll die soon enough regardless of how you place me, whatever class you believe in. People speak through pop culture, whether it be about a philosophical issue or as a conveyance of intimacy. As a poet, I'm invested in exploring various means and methods of communication. As a person, I use pop cultural references regularly and try to be as attuned as possible to what and how those references function, regardless of how fleeting the specific references are. I am porously of and above my culture; I try to be limitless through that, even with cultural references."
“Speech requires means and distribution to be heard, and poetry is one of the most dangerous forms of speech as, ultimately, poets are not beholden to the status quo. Poets who do the difficult work of language do not simply reflect the culture, but seek to change it. (Poetry has always spearheaded change from a peripheral position.) “
Describe setups, overarching themes (death, suicide, Black America, media)
If time: In-class writing