Your final project in this course will demonstrate your knowledge of the techniques, themes, and concepts that we have discussed in this class over the course of the semester. You have two options for how to complete this assignment, but in either case, your project will engage with at least five poems of your choice from our textbook.
Successful projects will be original, creative, thoughtful, knowledgeable, and detailed. Through your engagement with the poems, you will present your understanding of issues involving form and content in poetry and your sense of the function and value of poetry as an art form.
This project will count for 20% of your final grade in this course.
Write an essay in which you analyze form and content in at least five poems from the textbook. You may choose to write about poems that are not included on the schedule of readings for this course. The poems must be related in some way. They may exhibit the same or similar aspects of form like meter, rhyme scheme, stanza structure, or sonic effects. They may present similar content, take place in similar settings, or operate in similar historical or cultural contexts. You may choose any five poems from the textbook as long as you can demonstrate a significant link among them. It is possible that you can choose to write about five poems by the
same author, but this is probably not the most interesting way to complete this assignment.
Your analysis essay should have an introduction, body, and conclusion and include plenty of relevant examples and quotations from the poems you have chosen to write about. Your essay should have a minimum of 1200 words. The Works Cited page, if appropriate for your project, will not count toward the word minimum.
SOURCES: No outside research is required to complete this assignment. You should consider your textbook as the primary resource for your analysis, and all the poems that you analyze should come from the textbook. You do not need to provide Works Cited page entries for poems from the textbook if they are identified clearly in the body of your essay. You may include facts, examples, or quotations from other outside sources if you feel that they would benefit your analysis. If you include details from outside sources, they must be cited in-text and on a Works Cited page according to the current MLA guidelines, which are summarized on the complete syllabus.
FORMAT: Your essay should be formatted according to the guidelines included on the syllabus under the heading, “Format for Written Work.” If needed, the Works Cited page should be included on a separate page after the last paragraph of your essay.
SUGGESTED TOPICS FOR ANALYSIS:
• Compare five different sonnets. How do style, form, and theme vary among the different texts? How do these similarities and differences help us to better understand the wide appeal of the sonnet form?
• Analyze five poems that present similar or related senses of social identity.
How can reading these poems together give us a more nuanced understanding of race, class, gender, or religion?
• Analyze five poems that present aspects of a typical human life: home life, work, love and romance, friendship, and family relationships for example?
How do these poems ask us to think about the universal experience of interacting with people and space?
• Examine the techniques that make five poems compelling and engaging.
What features make you want to read a poem, keep reading a poem, or re-read a poem? Think about things like sensual imagery, rhythm, rhyme, and narrative elements.
Write at least five poems of any length in imitation of five different poems in the textbook. You may choose to write imitations of poems that are not included on the schedule of readings for this course, and the poems do not have to be related to one another in any way. Your imitations should be your own, original poems, but they must share specific features of form or content with five poems from the textbook.
Your poems may employ the same meter, stanza structure, or sonic effects as the poems you have chosen to imitate. Your poems may tell similar stories, take place in similar settings, or operate in similar historical or cultural contexts as the poems you have chosen to imitate. There is no length requirement for your imitations, but five very short poems will probably not make for a very interesting final project.
In addition to the five imitations, your praxis project should include a prose statement of at least 300 words explaining which poems you have chosen to imitate, which specific features or aspects of those poems you have imitated, and why you chose those poems. All of the poems that you imitate should come from the
textbook. You do not need to provide Works Cited page entries for poems from the textbook if they are identified clearly in your praxis statement. If you include any details from outside sources, they must be cited in-text and on a Works Cited page according to the current MLA guidelines, which are summarized on the syllabus.
FORMAT: All of the parts of this assignment should be included in a single document. The document should have a heading and title, and it should be formatted according to the guidelines included on the syllabus under the heading, “Format for Written Work.” Your praxis statement should come first, followed by
your five imitations. If needed, the Works Cited page should be included on a separate page after the last imitation.
GRAMMAR & MECHANICS: You may choose to write poems that challenge or interrogate the conventions of standard written English, in which case your poems may exhibit irregular capitalization, punctuation, spelling, and grammar. This poetic license does not mean that you aren’t responsible for writing clearly, carefully, and precisely. Aside from deliberate, aesthetic decisions to depart from standard English, your writing should adhere to the same conventions in grammar and punctuation as any other academic writing. The prose section of your praxis should adhere to all the conventions of standard written English.
The final draft of this project is due on paper at the beginning of class on Wednesday, June 23, 11:55 p.m. Essays received after the deadline will be penalized ten points and a further ten points for each calendar day that they are late thereafter. Projects will be submitted, as usual, through Turnitin. Only the final draft of this project will be graded, and you are not required to submit a rough draft.
As you think about and begin working on this assignment, you may find that there are things you don’t understand or that you would benefit from some feedback. I will be glad to meet with you individually to answer questions, to discuss your work on this project, and to look at drafts of any part of your project as you are working on it. Send me an email to set up an appointment or come to my regularly scheduled office hours.
Projects should be free of misspellings and errors in grammar, punctuation, and mechanics and should adhere to the format and documentation guidelines included on the syllabus. Although no outside research is required, you should provide in-text citations for line numbers of any poems you quote directly, and you should cite any outside sources that you choose to use in the MLA style. Some exceptions to these
general requirements, as noted above, may be appropriate for praxis projects.
Projects that do not meet the minimum requirements outlined on this assignment sheet will not receive a passing grade.
In grading your projects, I will use the following rubric:
An “A” project demonstrates a thorough understanding of the techniques, themes, and concepts discussed over the course of this semester. The project is thoughtful, engaging, focused, and free of distracting errors in grammar, punctuation, and standard English usage. A grade of “A+” is reserved for projects that are especially
thought-provoking and original.
A “B” response is knowledgeable, thoughtful, engaging, and focused, but it may have a few errors in language or lack the clarity and interest of an “A” project.
A “C” project is relevant to the assignment and appropriately specific but may exhibit distracting errors in language or faulty reasoning. Or it may just not be very interesting.
A “D” response lacks evidence of a serious engagement with the assignment. It may be vague, boring, or confusing. It probably also has many serious errors in language and usage.
An “F” response does not meet the basic requirements of the assignment and is probably very hard to read.
NOTE: This rubric does not describe every possible feature, positive or negative, of any project, and the instructor reserves the right to assign grades based on the overall clarity, analytical depth, interest, and scholarly effort exhibited by students’ submissions in fulfillment of the requirements of this course.
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