In-Class Exercises for Thursday April 16
The impact of the cuts have not yet hit.
We get the job done, not make excuses.
Give Joe Biden and I a chance to bring America back.
Man eating Piranha mistakenly sold as pet fish.
New vaccine may contain rabies
In-Class Exercises on Christopher Johnson’s Microstyle
Thursday April 2
1. Write 5 brief notes that capture the interesting discoveries about language and/or style in Christopher Johnson’s book. Each of the five will be “tweets” with a limit of 140 characters.
The mystery of metaphor involves concepts not words! (52)
Everything, as it turns out, is contextual (42)
For meaning don’t think definitions or depth, says Christopher Johnson, “but networks of background knowledge, beliefs, and assumptions”
2. Using the examples below, choose five forms and compose your own versions.
The Art of Writing Little: short forms, concise forms, terse forms, economical forms, pithy forms, witty forms, memorable forms
“The quoting of an aphorism, like the angry barking of a dog or the smell of overcooked broccoli, rarely indicates that something helpful is about to happen”
-Lemony Snicket, Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can’t Avoid
Epigram (from the Gr. epigramma, “inscription”)
“What is an Epigram? A dwarfish whole, Its body brevity, and wit its soul” (Samuel Taylor Coleridge)
“There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about” (Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray)
“Candy / Is dandy, / But liquor / Is quicker” (Ogden Nash, “Ice Breaking”)
“Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind” (John F. Kennedy)
Aphorism (from the Gr. “delimitation,” or “distinction” or “definition”)
“Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it” (Henry David Thoreau, Walden)
“Success is counted sweetest / By those who ne’er succeed. / To comprehend a nectar / Requires sorest need.” (Emily Dickinson)
“Science is what you know; philosophy is what you don’t know” (Bertand Russell)
“Vulgarity is simply the conduct of other people” (Oscar Wilde)
“In a consumer society there are inevitably two kinds of slaves: the prisoners of addiction and the prisoners of envy” (Ivan Illich, Tools for Conviviality)
Proverb (from the L. proverbium)
“The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom” (William Blake, Marriage of Heaven and Hell)
“Even monkeys fall from trees” (from the Japanese, Saru mo ki kara ochiru)
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” (Proverbs 20:17)
“From the fruit of his lips a man is filled with good things as surely as the work of his hands rewards him” (Proverbs 12:14)
“If you kick a stone in anger, you’ll hurt your own foot” (Korean)
Adage (from the L. Adagium)
No news is good news
When it rains, it pours
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is
Dictum (L. for “remark,” a saying or command)
you can take the boy out of Texas, but you can’t take the Texas out of the boy
Perception is reality
Apothegm (from the Gk. Apophthengesthai, to speak out, from apo- + phthengesthai to utter)
“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely” (Lord Acton)
Sententia (from the L., “feeling, judgment, opinion”)
“A man’s as miserable as he thinks he is” (Seneca the Younger)
maxim (from the L. “greatest”)
“You’re never too old to learn”
“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”
From Ben Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanack
“Speak little, do much”
“A Penny saved is a penny earned” (Is actually “A penny saved is twopence dear”)
“Well done is better than well said”
“Haste makes waste”
In-Class Exercise on building sentences using subordination and coordination
Thursday March 4
Your work today is to practice building sentences to prepare you do the two commentaries for next week.
1. The subordinating style (“Hypotaxis”). Here is an example from Henry James, more specifically his 1892 short story “The Real Thing:” “When the porter’s wife (she used to answer the house-bell), announced ‘a Gentleman–with a lady, sir, ‘I had, as I often had in those days, for the wish was father to the thought, an immediate vision of sitters”
- Begin with a sentence that makes a simple assertion (as James has imbedded in the above example). Then back up in time, add a meta-comment, an allusion, etc. What you are trying to do, as Fish explains, is practice subordination by trying to “embed propositions in complex logical structures” or, more specifically, practicing the art of arranging objects and actions in relationships of causality, temporality, and precedence” (50). Give it try. If it is challenging, read pages 50-60 for further examples and discussion. Then try it again.
- Begin with a “when clause” and build a sentence that works like the often-cited example from Martin Luther King’s Letter from the Birmingham Jail. Give it try. If it is challenging, read the discussion on pages 54-55 for further examples and discussion. Then try it again.
- Build a sentence with the basic “although . . . yet” structure. Give it try. If it is challenging, read the discussion of the passage from John Milton on pages 57-58 for further examples and discussion. Then try it again.
Need some tools? Consider using subordinating conjunctions: after, although, as, because, before, even if, even though, rather than, since, so that, unless, until, whether, while
2. The coordinating (or “additive”) style (“Parataxis”). Here is an example from the novel The Good Solider (1915) by Ford Maddox Ford:
Anyhow, there you have the picture, the immensely tall trees, elms most of them, towering and feathering away up into the black mistiness that trees seem to gather about them at night, the silhouettes of those two upon the seat, the beams of light coming from the casino, the woman all in black peeping with fear behind the tree trunk
Notice how the phrases here are coordinate, using apposition (setting part along side parts). Notice how there is no subordination here.
- Build three or four sentences, of different kinds, using coordination. Give it try. If it is challenging, look at some of the examples in Chapter 6, pages 61-88 for further examples and discussion. Then try it again.
(Note well that our earlier conversations about “informal or “conversational” style are picked up in this chapter. What is interesting here is the reminder that to build sentences more spontaneous, natural, or conversational requires just as much art. For even in the so-called natural style we tend to associate with the essays of Michel de Montaigne, as Fish will say, the ‘natural’ style is a style nevertheless, not a transparent picture of psychological reality, but a representation of it, neither more or less ‘true’ than the representation of thought offered by the deliberative, subordinating style” (63).)
In-Class Exercise on Conciseness Thursday February 26
This class session is dedicated to practicing the art of conciseness: reducing the unnecessary words (redundancies, metadiscourse, qualifiers, and so on) to create more concise and direct prose. All of the writing below was written by a student for one of my classes or for one of my class projects. Cut and paste the original assigned to your group into a document. Work individually on a second version of the original. Compare your revisions in groups and produce a final version that we will read aloud in class.
Rests at Night
The Sun from shining,
Nature–and some Men–
Rest at Noon–some Men–
And the Sun–go on–
Emily Dickinson originally wrote Poem #714 around 1863. It is part of Fascicle 23, which includes 20 poems written in ink. It is also included in the Houghton Library, at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Dickinson refers to nature and the sun as always continuing in a circular motion. The two never rest at the same time, but only appear to do so. While the men of one region rest for the night and the nature and sun convince the men that the sun and nature are asleep, but in reality they are awake in another region. When the men of the first region awake, it appears that the sun and nature have slept alongside the men and are awaking together. This continuous circle allows the unconscious man to have his world at rest, while the awaken man lives on with the sun and nature until the next rotation of the sun and moon. As the world spins continuously, some men begin their day and end their night. The one thing that will always stay true is the wondrous rotation of the Earth from day to night and Emily Dickinson seems to highlight the beauty of that routinely manner.
Ashok Karra suggests that this poem is a hidden love romance story and calling the “rests” men who are in her words “lazy.” On the other hand, this is potentially be a romance poem with the “rests” merely the distances from man and woman. The poem suggests that “Some men” may live on the opposite side of the world in another hemisphere and therefore their sun and nature rest at night while in the other hemisphere their men, sun, and nature are resting at the other groups’ noon time.
Bibliography and Further Reading Ashok Karra. “Rethink.” Rethink. N.p., (23 Nov. 2010. Web.) 18 Nov. 2013; “Manuscript View for Houghton Library – (168a,b) “My Faith Is Larger than the Hills,” J766, Fr489; Rests at Night, J714, Fr490.” Emily Dickinson Archive. Manuscript View for Houghton Library – (168a,b) My Faith Is Larger than the Hills, J766, Fr489; Rests at Night, J714, Fr490. N.p.,( n.d. Web.) 18 Nov. 2013.
Group 2 (Commentary on “In a Station of the Metro”)
Andrew, Anna, Shannon
The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.
In 1911 Ezra Pound arrived at the metro station in central Paris, La Concorde, and was inspired by the beautiful faces that appeared before him. Pound writes that he “saw suddenly a beautiful face, and then another, and then a child’s beautiful face…Colour was, in that instance, the ‘primary pigment’…it was the first adequate equation that came into consciousness” (qtd in Froula). The poem that captured that moment, “In a Station of the Metro,” first appeared in the April 1913 issue of Poetry magazine. The austere poem is an example of early modernist attempts at what Pound would call “Imagism.”
The poem consists of two lines yet contains five phases of perceptions. The poem originally consisted of thirty lines which Pound transformed into half a page six months later. After another year Pound found his way to a twenty word poem including the six words in the title (). As Pound comments on the form of the poem, “was determined by the experience which inspired it, evolving organically, rather than being chosen arbitrarily” (). The title allows us to savor the vegetal contrast of the world of machinery: “this is not any crowd, moreover, but a crowd seen underground. “Apparition,” detaches these faces from all the crowded faces, and presides over the image that conveys the quality of their separation” (). The detachment of their faces continues the portrayal of the Imagist’s poetic construction and Symon’s thoughts on the ideal poet. Lastly, the flowers portray a sunless area, which denounces the growth of plant life. It creates a natural gleam on the flowers, and combined with the bough’s wetness gleaming on it’s darkness, “in this place where wheels turn and nothing grows” ().
This austere poem has generated copious commentary. The word ‘apparition,’ the idea that this poem is in Imagist style, and the portrayal of beauty from ‘the faces in the crowd’ have captured the attention of many critics. One of these critics, Ralph Bevilaqua, calls the use of ‘apparition’ “the single word which lifts the couplet from bald statement to poetry” (English Language Notes). Daniel Tiffany declares this to be ‘the most famous of all imagist poems.’ Tiffany claims that, “the visuality of the Imagist poem must therefore be described as highly ambiguous, if not dependent on a kind of blindness.” Pound saw something in his daily life that compelled him to write this poem, but because he was unable to continue to visit this image he had to rely on his memory of the event, thus in a sense being dependent on blindness. According to William Pratt, Pound attempted to construct a “verbal equivalent for a moment of revelation accompanied by intense emotion.” The idea of a portrayal of beauty is touched upon by Rachel Blau Duplessis as well. “Female beauty; vulnerable beauty,” she writes, “exert a magnetic force in another of the seminal poems of modernism.” She further backs up this claim with her insight concerning Pound’s use of the feminine word ‘petals’ arguing that it “evokes all the loveliness and vulnerability of faces seen by chance.”
“ In a Station of the Metro” captures the way Pound saw the world in that moment at the metro station. According to Hugh Kenner, “The ‘plot’ of the poem is that mind’s activity, fetching some thing new into the field of consciousness. The action passing through any Imagist poem is a mind’s invisible action discovering what will come next that may sustain the presentation—what image, what rhythm, what allusion, what word—to the end that the poem shall be “lord over fact.””
Bibliography and Further Reading American Poetry: The Twentieth Century. (New York: Library of America, 2000. Print); Hugh Kenner. The Pound Era. (Los Angeles: University of California Press Berkeley, 1971. Print); Christine Froula. A Guide to Ezra Pound’s Selected Poems. (Canada: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1982. Print.); “On “In a Station of the Metro.”” Modern American Poetry. (Web); “Pound’s ‘In A Station of the Metro’: A Textual Note.” (English Language Notes 8.4, June 1971).
Group 3 (From an Essay on the Satirical Poetry of Dorothy Parker)
Sam, Jillian, Brittany
Parker examines the societal expectations of women through the eyes of men in “Interview,” which describes the “perfect” woman in a man’s eyes (Parker 86). These women would “shudder at a wicked word,” “rather stay at home at night,” and never “read erotic poetry,” to name a few attributes. Parker is describing the ideal woman based on society’s expectations and prescribed standards. Women were held up to a high, almost unattainable level, and their sole purpose in doing this is to gain the admiration of men, to ultimately do exactly what society wants them to do: find a husband. Again, the woman must change herself completely in order to be noticed, and to be in his good graces. After all, he is the one who will ultimately choose whether or not to initiate a relationship, while the woman remains at home, completely changed, and waiting. Parker challenges this insane model for woman by placing one simple line at the end of the poem: “So far, I’ve had no complaints.” Parker inserts this line to assure women that there is hope for change and that being “perfect” is not the only option for them to obtain a man and be happy. Parker’s implications, that not prescribing to society’s expectations and standards did not lead her astray, and the promise of a world where the power can be shifted in a woman’s favor, are extremely reassuring to a female reader. However, Parker leaves this choice up to the reader at the end of the poem, and does not determine their fate for them, a technique she employs in many of her poems.
Group 4 (Metadata for June 1972 issue of Aspect Magazine http://commons.keene.edu/aspect/)
Marc, Alex, Mitchell
The Aspect, June 1972, edition, priced at fifty cents, is from volume seven, number forty. With its blue back and front cover, photography by Roger Camp, the edition consists of nineteen pages. The edition is edited by Edward J. Hogan with the assistance of the other editor and publisher, Ellen Link. The publication consists of eleven different writers presenting either poetry or short stories. The genera of the pieces are primarily political, but some even discuss the societal recreational activities of the 60’s and 70’s.
The magazine opens with a short story by Mark Nekell, but is then followed by nine pieces of poetry and two political pieces. The nine pieces of poetry are by: A.D Winans, Bill Meissner, Lon Spiegelman, Emma L. Womac, Richard Latta, R. Daniel Evans, Angela Bristow, and Paulette Caroll. The two political pieces are by Harry Greenwald and Edward J. Hogans.
Each and every piece of writing throughout the Aspect June 1972 edition has some underlying message and meaning. For example, Carroll’s piece, “Toy For A Grown-Up,” seems to be discussing use of heroin in the 1970’s. The two political pieces seem to be arguing the politics going on during the 70’s, while the other poems, even if they are nameless, describe dreamlike states of mind and confusion. Whether that confusion be towards society or themselves, it’s hard to decipher. Two individuals present in this edition actually shared their thoughts and details regarding their pieces. Meissner commented on his piece, “The Magistrate. After the Salem Trials,” stating that he was so disturbed by what he saw in Salem and the stories he heard, he decided to write about it. His piece was published while he was attending UMass Amherest for his Masters. Another individual that commented on his piece was Nakell. Nakell’s piece, “Another Raven,” radiated a very sexual story-line. The character from his short story discusses “masturbation scars” and “do-it-yourself machines” that he would share with lonely housewifes. However, upon commenting on his story, he stated that, “I wasn’t trying to make any point, I was having FUN with words and expectations (both in writing and life), describing a world which doesn’t seem very different from the one we’re in every day.” While it seems the text offers otherwise, Nakell assures that his piece was written for strictly fun and for the enjoyment of manipulating words to describe society. Interestingly enough, his message doesn’t seem too farfetched. Considering all the poems and stories, they really do seem to be depicting society through different measures and different formats. In the end, they really are all just fitting with the times of the 60’s and 70’s.
Bibliography and Further Readings: Edward J,Hogan, Aspect June 1972. (Aspect, Somerville, MA. 1972, Print.); William Meissner. (Email Interview. Mar 8, 2014. Email); Mark Nekell, (Email Interview. Mar 9, 2014. Email).
Group 5 (Metadata for Sept./Oct 1973 issue of Aspect Magazine http://commons.keene.edu/aspect/)
Jessica Coleman, Morgan, Kelsi
This issue of Aspect Magazine, volume X, issue 52 from September and October of 1973, includes art work, poetry, a short story and a political essay. It was put together by co-editors Edward J. Hogan, Ellen Schwartz and Gail Braaatelien. The opening contents page lists the artists by page number and some information about the issue and magazine itself.
There are three pieces of art work in the magazine, two by Ingeborg Hayward, including the magazine’s cover photo, and one by Jean Segaloff. They are all untitled.
There majority of the magazine is filled with poetry. There are poems by Eric Felderman, Arthur Winfield Knight, Fritz Hamilton, James Klein, Jane Creighton, R.D. Swets, Carla Bacon, L.S. Fallis, Judy Neeld, Robert Pinsley, Emilie Glen, Linda Ann Chomin, Barbara Unger, Brett K. Canfield, William Talen, Elliot Fried, Howard Curtis and Ed Porter.
There is one short story, “The Machine Shop,” which was written by Ottone Riccio. The short political essay, “Watergate: The Roots of Corruption Lie in Vietnam,” was written by William Blum.
The pieces in this collection do not fit into one category. The art work is creatively exploratory and modern. The poetry is a combination of prose and verse poetry. Although the time this was written was in the midst of the Vietnam War, there are only a few obvious political pieces. Many of the pieces in this issue seem to be dreamlike or hopeful. Ultimately there is a lot of different kind of art in this magazine, from political commentary to more experimental artwork, poetry and prose.
Near the end of the magazine, as the last artistic piece, there is a short poem by Charles Bukowski on page 46, “When Hugo Wolf Went Mad–.”
On the very last page and on the backside of the book, there is a section called “The People Inside,” where the editors give a brief biographical sentence or section of information about each person involved with the issue. The magazine is concluded with an encouragement to artists and writers to send work in for later issues.
Group 6 (Commentary on “Beale Street Blues”)
Beaufort, Nick, Jessica Schaper
Poetry and music have shared some substantial characteristics. They both include lyric, rhythm, meter, and often rhyme. “Beale Street Blues,” by W.C Handy, is a strong example of that relation. Written in 1916, the song is considered a hybrid intertwining a blues rhythm with that of a lyrical ballad and a Spanish tinge by incorporating a tango and ragtime feel. The opening lyrics follow that of Tin Pan Alley song and the later stanzas give way to a more traditional three-line pattern of a traditional blues. The subject matter behind Handy’s “Beale Street Blues,” is considered that of uniqueness. Rather than a typical blues subject matter, it focuses more on the celebration and tribute to the Memphis black district and it is one of the earliest references to the prohibition in popular blues. Although celebrating urban environments has been quite common since the 1890s, Handy’s tribute was the first song to have some substantial success.
I’ve seen the lights of gay Broadway,
Old Market Street down by the Frisco Bay,
I’ve strolled the Prado, I’ve gambled on the Bourse
The seven wonders of the world I’ve seen
And many are the places I have been.
Take my advice folks and see Beale Street first.
The first six lines of the work is a double twelve bar blues strain in which the singer introduces his topic by telling his audience that his is a worldly performer who has visited many places and done many things, “I’ve strolled the Prado (Madrid’s famous art museum), I’ve gambled on the Bourse (the French stock market).’ His recommendation, after all this experience, is for the traveler to, “Take my advice folks and see the Beale Street first.”
You’ll see pretty Browns in beautiful gowns,
You’ll see tailor-mades and hand-me-downs
You’ll meet honest men and pick-pockets skilled,
You’ll find that bus’ness never closes till somebody gets killed.
These next four lines of the song is a dramatic account of what you will find on Beale Street, beginning with the people, “…pretty Browns in beautiful gowns” along with, “…honest men and pickpockets skilled,” continuing with the venues, and the visitors, men who rank the first in the nation who have come to Beale for inspiration. These two sections are set to an eight bar melody (played four times straight), beautifully encapsulating the vitality of the urban experience evoked by his lyrics. The third and final part of the work is the Beale Street Blues itself, the plaint of, as he is described in the final lines of the poem, “the blind man on the corner” who was introduced to us at the end of the previous section. Both the music and the lyric of the final section are closely modeled on traditional folk blues: using typical rural-type blues melody, while the lyrics employ the standard AAB construction for the first stanza. Nowhere in Handy’s work is this device used with greater power than this deep expressive black folk music, its effect enhanced by the unprepared key and deceptive content.
“Beale Street Blues,” is unique in that it doesn’t discuss the plight of individual people comparably to other blues songs. “Beale Street Blues,” is already exceptional simply because of its subject matter. However, according to commentator, Peter C. Muir, “it is suspected that this subject matter, so at odds with the archetypal blues theme of relationship turmoil, that has ultimately limited the appeal of “Beale Street Blues,” and ensured that is has never had the universal appeal of hits like “St. Louise Blues,” even though it is hardly its musical inferior” (130). It’s clear that the song was more popular amongst those within Memphis, never reaching a more “universal appeal,” nonetheless; it was still considered a piece of respect. F. Scott Fitzgerald commented in his novel in 1925 that the song is, “so erotically fascinating…Handy firmly secured his reputation artistically and historically as the Father of the Blues” (qtd. in Robertson 193). In short, the work is a kind of summing up of the last twenty years of folk-derived vernacular culture, drawing simultaneously from established styles like ragtime, tango, and from forward looking genres like jazz and blues.
Bibliography and Further Readings Peter C. Muir, Long lost blues: Popular Blues in America, 1850-1920 (University of Illinois Press, 2010. Print); Henry Adams & Dorothy Parker, American Poetry: The Twentieth Century: Volume One (The Library of America. 2009. Print); David Robertson, W.C. Handy: The Life and Times of the Man Who Made the Blues (New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 2009. Print).
In-Class Exercise on Discourse: Thursday February 19
In his book Microstyle, Christopher Johnson makes a distinction between two approaches to the study of language: descriptive and prescriptive. Descriptive grammar refers to the structure of a language as it is actually used by speakers and writers. Prescriptive grammar refers to a set of rules and examples of syntax and word structures of a language according to how people think it should be used. Johnson is a linguist, and his descriptive orientation is evident in his approach to the rules or patterns that underlie the use of words, phrases, clauses, and sentences. The chapters of Microstyle call attention to stylistic strategies used by writers. But these kinds of choices are neither idiosyncratic nor individual or subjective. For writers are always writing in/for social groups whose members have assumptions and expectations about communication and specific communicative norms, characteristics, patterns, or practices available to them.
In class today we will talk about language use and “discourse”—a term that is used by linguists to describe a sequence of language units (words, phrases, sentences) that make up, say, a conversation or a paragraph or an essay. The term discourse is also used to describe a group of speakers or writers whose language use is in part determined by a specific area of social or intellectual life. Here is how the Oxford English Dictionary has it:
The body of statements, analysis, opinions, etc., relating to a particular domain of intellectual or social activity, esp. as characterized by recurring themes, concepts, or values; (also) the set of shared beliefs, values, etc., implied or expressed by this. Freq. with of or modifying word.
Members of communities (discourse or speech communities) use shared norms, characteristics, patterns, or practices to communicate. Their style, that is, will be in part determined by these conventions, forms, and expectations. The use of words (vocabulary, slang, jargon, etc.) genres of writing (essays, aphorisms, reports, articles, and so on) and specific linguistic norms and/or typical phonological, lexical, morphological and syntactic patterns are always in play.
The Work: Identify a speech or discourse community and analyze the specific ways language is used by members of that particular social group or community.
- Identify a speech or discourse community
- Look closely at the language used by the group and build a descriptive account of the significant features and stylistic resources of members of that group.
- Post your account on your blog with a title that makes clear to a reader the discourse community that you have identified and are describing.
Have fun! If you do not complete this work please do so before we meet next week.
Exercise: Sentence Construction
Tuesday February 17
Starting out with one of the brief sentences below, expand the sentence until it can expand no more. See if you can get to 20. Your sentence needs to be grammatical, and make sense, but other than that, you can add any information you choose. Likely, the sentence will end up telling its own rather complete story.
Here are the sample sentences (choose one):
- Jack bought a car.
- Olivia finished her homework.
- Brandon stumbled and fell.
- The mother put her baby down for a nap.
- I laughed.
- The cat came back.
Once you have composed your sentences, publish them on the “Exercises” page of your blog.
- I am thirsty.
- I am thirsty for iced tea.
- I am thirsty for a glass of iced tea.
- I am thirsty for a glass of sweet iced tea.
- I am thirsty for a glass of the sweet iced tea my mother used to make.
- For a glass of the sweet iced tea my mother used to make, I am truly thirsty.
- I am truly thirsty for a glass of the sweet iced tea my mother used to make on summer days when I was a child.
- I am truly thirsty for a glass of the sweet iced tea that my mother, a former nun, used to make on summer days when I was a child.
- I am truly thirsty for a glass of the sweet iced tea that my mother, a former nun, used to make on summer days when I was a child in Alabama.
- I am truly thirsty for a glass of the sweet iced tea that my mother, a former nun who spiked her own glass with Jack Daniel’s, used to make on summer days when I was a child in Alabama.
- I am truly as thirsty as a dry houseplant for a glass of the sweet iced tea that my mother, a former nun who spiked her own glass Jack Daniels’, used to make on summer days when I was a child in Alabama.
- I am truly as thirsty as a dry houseplant for a glass of the sweet iced tea that my mother, a former nun who spiked her own glass with Jack Daniels’, used to make on summer days in the kitchen of our ivy-covered mansion when I was a child in Alabama.
- I am truly as thirsty as a dry houseplant for a glass of the sweet iced tea that my mother, a former nun who spiked her own glass with Jack Daniels’, used to make on summer days—before the tornado struck–in the kitchen of our ivy-covered mansion when I was a child in Alabama.
- I am truly as thirsty as a dry houseplant for a glass of the sweet iced tea that my mother, a former nun who spiked her own glass with Jack Daniels’, used to make on summer days—before the tornado struck–in the kitchen of our ivy-covered mansion when I was a child in Alabama.
- On July evenings as I watch the sun set, I am truly as thirsty as a dry houseplant for a glass of the sweet iced tea that my mother, a former nun who spiked her own glass with Jack Daniels’, used to make on summer days—before the tornado struck–in the kitchen of our ivy-covered mansion when I was a child in Alabama.
- On July evenings, as I watch the sun set from my front porch, I am truly as thirsty as a dry houseplant for a glass of the sweet iced tea that my mother, a former nun who spiked her own glass with Jack Daniels’, used to make on summer days—before the tornado struck–in the kitchen of our ivy-covered mansion when I was a child in Alabama.
- On July evenings, as I watch the sun set from my front porch in my small New England town, I am truly as thirsty as a dry houseplant for a glass of the sweet iced tea that my mother, a former nun who spiked her own glass with Jack Daniels’, used to make on summer days—before the tornado struck–in the kitchen of our ivy-covered mansion when I was a child in Alabama.
- On July evenings, as I watch the sun set from my front porch in my small New England town, I am truly as thirsty as a dry houseplant for a glass of the sweet iced tea that my mother, a former nun who spiked her own glass with Jack Daniels’, used to make on summer days—before the tornado struck, taking our roof with it–in the kitchen of our ivy-covered mansion when I was a child in Alabama.
- On July evenings, as I watch the sun set from my front porch in my small New England town, I am truly as thirsty as a dry houseplant for a glass of the sweet iced tea that my mother, a former nun who spiked her own glass with Jack Daniels’, used to make on summer days—before the tornado struck, taking our roof and most of our house with it–in the kitchen of our ivy-covered mansion when I was a child in Alabama.
On July evenings, as I watch the sun set alone from my front porch in my small New England town, I am truly as thirsty as a dry houseplant for a glass of the sweet iced tea that my mother, a former nun who spiked her own glass with Jack Daniels’, used to make for my eight brothers and sisters and me on summer days—before the tornado struck, taking our roof and most of our house with it–in the kitchen of our ivy-covered mansion when I was a child in Alabama.
Thursday February 5
Jessica Schaper https://schaperonstyle.wordpress.com/
- Taking a stand on things we’ve read about is a good stance to take in the blog posts. In Jessica Schaper’s post, Semi-Sensitive, she talks about the semi-colon topic in one of the books we’ve read and shares her opinion on it. Going about it in the manner of sharing your opinion on our topics and not just restating what we’ve learned is a good approach.
- Using clever titles is also something that seems to be working. Jessica Schaper’s blog also shower me this. She uses alliteration for both titles of her essay on style and still uses the title to communicate the main topic of the essay. Using writing devices, such as alliteration, for titles can help create catchy, eye-drawing blog post titles.
Jillian Furcillo https://furcilloonstyle.wordpress.com/
- On Jillian’s blog, Inky Footprints, I really enjoyed the humor she used while mocking the use of such words as ‘literally’ and ‘actually’.
- She separates points she wants to emphasize into their own line/paragraph, making them stand out more.
- Similarly, she uses italics to put stress on words in sentences to show the reader how she wants the sentence to be read.
- It has a good, appropriate tone for a blog, very informal, but at the same time very personal, and it reads like a conversation
Julia Perry https://perryonstyle.wordpress.com/
- In both of her posts so far she has chosen to use quotes, and they seem to work effectively.
- On Julia’s blog, I think it’s great that she utilizes excerpts from other writers such as Stephen King to support her arguments.
Shannon Tocci https://toccionstyle.wordpress.com/
- In her post “The Super Comma,” she uses the block quote feature in order to show her examples separate from the rest of her writing, this is an effective choice, stylistically.
- In her post “To My Last Post…,”she uses picture examples to show the reader what she’s talking about.
- Much like Lukeman, she uses contrasting examples in a few of her blog posts.
- Using other sources for the blog posts help clarify and make the writer sound more assured in what they are saying. It is a good idea to give solid evidence and quotes in the blog posts, such as with Amelie’s blog post, Le Point-Virgule, where she points toward a website and gives an excerpt.
- On Nicholas’ blog, Style Over Substance, I enjoyed his use of metaphor, such as comparing style to a “garden in a desert”
- On Morgan’s blog, Blogging With Style, I really appreciated the welcoming and conversational nature of her writing. It made me feel as if I was having a conversation with her.
- On Kelsi’s blog, I thought that “Let’s Eat Grandma” was a great title for a post. It made me want to know more. I also appreciate the way she tied it into the actual post in regards to the difference a comma makes to the meaning of that statement.
Form of the text
Some of these blogs make me want to read the content before I even read a single line of it. Just because it is very aesthetic and attract the reader.
- Many students in this class write with the 1st person, which I like very much. They are talking about their own experiences as writers and the use of “I” enables their readers to identify to them. I have always preferred reading something written with the 1st person, I think it helps catching the reader’s attention and immerses them at the heart of the reading.
I like the tittle he used for his article about plagiarism. Not only it is original and catchy, but we know immediately what he is talking about.
The catching sentence
(Anna Wright, https://wrightonstyle.wordpress.com/).
I love the way she starts her post “Why I Should Have Listened to My Mother”. We talked about catching sentence in class, and this is a really good example of it. Not only the title makes me want to read the article, but the first sentence strengthens it. Here is another example of catchy sentence that I liked: https://pyramonstyle.wordpress.com/2015/02/01/edit-copyedit-pastegood/
Adding medias to explain the content
(Shannon Tocci, https://toccionstyle.wordpress.com/)
I enjoy the way she illustrates what she writes with picture. Not only her content is very well written and interesting, but the photos add something to the post that is very appreciable.
Writing about style in our everyday life
(Brittany Tolla, https://tollaonstyle.wordpress.com/).
- I like the way she talks about style. She explains very clearly and easily that everything around us can be linked with style: people’s behavior, values, type of language used… I had never thought about it but after I read her post I started to think more and more about that.
- Amelie’s titles are a cute way of tying her French theme into each post. They intrigue people to stop and look at what she writes.
- Edit Copy…Edit Paste…Good Beaufort has a style that makes it fun to read his posts but still learn something from it. He starts off this post with a really good hook that made me want to read on.
- A Per-Snickety First Post Sam uses a lot of very strong vocabulary that gives his pieces beauty.
Why I Should Have Listened To My Mother https://wrightonstyle.wordpress.com/2015/02/02/why-i-should-have-listened-to-my-mother/
- I enjoy Anna’s use of personal connection in this post because it makes the post more relatable to readers.
The Super Comma https://toccionstyle.wordpress.com/2015/02/04/the-super-comma/
- The way Shannon separates her examples by formatting them differently makes it a lot easier to read.
Personal anecdotes for an introduction into the subject grab the reader’s attention and help add a little bit more interest in the topic at hand. Like in Jessica Coleman’s post, Questionable Punctuations, she opens up by talking about her personal experience with colons and semicolons, giving more personality and context to what she’s talking about.
Good word choice is ideal. You should definitely use different words in your writing, but since it is for blog posts, using too many elaborate words isn’t really ideal. You should use strong words and not repeat yourself, but make it easier to read. In our day and age, people are more on the go and want immediate answers, so if they see that it’s difficult to read, they will skip right by and find something easier. In Meghan’s blog post, Texting Talk: Taking Over, she using good words such as “consumed,” “abundance,” and “adapted,” which are stronger word choices, but don’t make the post difficult to read. It sounds intelligent without seeming to just use a thesaurus for almost every word.
In Class Punctuation Review and Exercise
Tuesday January 3
1. Thirteen Ways of Using a Comma: Compose your own paragraph with each of the thirteen comma uses in the sequence you compiled in completing the practice exercise on page 191 of Style and Difference.
Post the paragraph, with a title and date, on the exercises page of your blog.
2. Two Four Six Eight: Write a paragraph that makes use of the following marks of punctuation:
Two different examples of a comma (the speed bump)
Two different examples of a period (the stop sign)
Two different examples of a semicolon (the bridge)
Two different examples of a colon (the magician)
Your paragraph will use the examples correctly, and will be written with an emphasis of clarity and style. That is, each use of punctuation should be appropriate to the sentence and the paragraph. Describe each of the uses after the paragraph.
Post the paragraph and commentary, with a title and date, on the exercises page of your blog.
In-Class Exercises on Rhythm and Style
Thursday January 29
- Copy and Paste into an editing screen the following four paragraphs of prose from Under the Sea Wind: A Naturalist’s Picture of Ocean Life (1941), the first book published by Rachel Carson. Then add punctuation the four paragraphs. (Don’t look at part two or you will not learn as much from this exercise!)
“To stand at the edge of the sea to sense the ebb and flow of the tides to feel the breath of a mist moving over a great salt marsh to watch the flight of shore birds that have swept up and down the surf lines of the continents for untold thousands of years to see the running of the old eels and the young shad to the sea is to have knowledge of things that are as nearly eternal as any earthly life can be”
“Before sunset the skies lightened and the wind abated while it was yet light the sanderlings left the barrier island and set out across the sound beneath them as they wheeled over the inlet was the deep green ribbon of the channel that wound with many curvings across the lighter shallows of the sound they followed the channel passing between the leaning red spar buoys past the tide rips where the water streamed broken into swirls and eddies over a sunken reef of oyster shell and came at last to the island there they joined a company of several hundred white-rumped sandpipers least sandpipers and ring-necked plovers that were resting on the sand”
“While the tide was still ebbing, the sanderlings fed on the island beach as they slept and as the earth rolled from darkness toward light birds from many feeding places along the coast were hurrying along the flyways that led to the north for with the passing of the storm the air currents came fresh again and the wind blew clean and steady from the southwest all through the night the cries of curlews and plovers and knots, of sandpipers and turnstones and yellowlegs drifted down from the sky the mockingbirds who lived on the island listened to the cries the next day they would have many new notes in their rippling chuckling songs to charm their mates and delight themselves”
“About an hour before dawn the sanderling flock gathered together on the island beach where the gentle tide was shifting the windrows of shells the little band of brown-mottled birds mounted into the darkness and, as the island grew small beneath them, set out toward the north”
- In class we will read aloud some of the excerpts below. Then you will describe, in the most specific terms you are able to muster, what Carson’s prose is doing to create emphasis and rhythm in these passages. Read some of the examples. Get a feel for Carson’s prose (note the writing is also different on different occassions and purposes). Makes notes about words, phrases, clauses, and sentences. Stress, repetition, verbs, tense, passive voice, sentence length, interruption, what or there or it clauses, punctuation—these are just some of the things you may notice. Make a list of your observations. We will then discuss your findings.
“To stand at the edge of the sea, to sense the ebb and flow of the tides, to feel the breath of a mist moving over a great salt marsh, to watch the flight of shore birds that have swept up and down the surf lines of the continents for untold thousands of years, to see the running of the old eels and the young shad to the sea, is to have knowledge of things that are as nearly eternal as any earthly life can be.”
“Before sunset, the skies lightened and the wind abated. While it was yet light the sanderlings left the barrier island and set out across the sound. Beneath them as they wheeled over the inlet was the deep green ribbon of the channel that wound, with many curvings, across the lighter shallows of the sound. They followed the channel, passing between the leaning red spar buoys, past the tide rips where the water streamed, broken into swirls and eddies, over a sunken reef of oyster shell, and came at last to the island. There they joined a company of several hundred white-rumped sandpipers, least sandpipers, and ring-necked plovers that were resting on the sand.”
“While the tide was still ebbing, the sanderlings fed on the island beach…. As they slept, and as the earth rolled from darkness toward light, birds from many feeding places along the coast were hurrying along the flyways that led to the north. For with the passing of the storm the air currents came fresh again and the wind blew clean and steady from the southwest. All through the night the cries of curlews and plovers and knots, of sandpipers and turnstones and yellowlegs, drifted down from the sky. The mockingbirds who lived on the island listened to the cries. The next day they would have many new notes in their rippling, chuckling songs to charm their mates and delight themselves.”
“About an hour before dawn the sanderling flock gathered together on the island beach, where the gentle tide was shifting the windrows of shells. The little band of brown-mottled birds mounted into the darkness and, as the island grew small beneath them, set out toward the north.”
―Under the Sea Wind
“The choice, after all, is ours to make. If, having endured much, we have at last asserted our “right to know,” and if, knowing, we have concluded that we are being asked to take senseless and frightening risks, then we should no longer accept the counsel of those who tell us that we must fill our world with poisonous chemicals; we should look about and see what other course is open to us.”
“A rainy day is the perfect time for a walk in the woods. I always thought so myself; the Maine woods never seem so fresh and alive as in wet weather. Then all the needles on the evergreens wear a sheath of silver; ferns seem to have grown to almost tropical lushness and every leaf has its edging of crystal drops. Strangely colored fungi — mustard-yellow and apricot and scarlet—are pushing out of the leaf mold and all the lichens and the mosses have come alive with green and silver freshness.”
“Until we have the courage to recognize cruelty for what it is—whether its victim is human or animal—we cannot expect things to be much better in this world. We cannot have peace among men whose hearts delight in killing any living creature. By every act that glorifies or even tolerates such moronic delight in killing, we set back the progress of humanity.”
“If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life, as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantments of later years, the sterile preoccupation with things artificial, the alienation from the sources of our strength.”
“I sincerely believe that for the child, and for the parent seeking to guide him, it is not half so important to know as to feel. If facts are the seeds that later produce knowledge and wisdom, then the emotions and the impressions of the senses are the fertile soil in which the seeds must grow. The years of early childhood are the time to prepare the soil. Once the emotions have been aroused — a sense of the beautiful, the excitement of the new and the unknown, a feeling of sympathy, pity, admiration or love — then we wish for knowledge about the subject of our emotional response. Once found, it has lasting meaning. It is more important to pave the way for the child to want to know than to put him on a diet of facts he is not ready to assimilate.”
“The winds, the sea, and the moving tides are what they are. If there is wonder and beauty and majesty in them, science will discover these qualities. If they are not there, science cannot create them. If there is poetry in my book about the sea, it is not because I deliberately put it there, but because no one could write truthfully about the sea and leave out the poetry….”
“We have looked first at man with his vanities and greed and his problems of a day or a year; and then only, and from this biased point of view, we have looked outward at the earth he has inhabited so briefly and at the universe in which our earth is so minute a part. Yet these are the great realities, and against them we see our human problems in a different perspective. Perhaps if we reversed the telescope and looked at man down these long vistas, we should find less time and inclination to plan for our own destruction.”
“Mankind has gone very far into an artificial world of his own creation. He has sought to insulate himself, in his cities of steel and concrete, from the realities of earth and water and the growing seed. Intoxicated with a sense of his own power, he seems to be going farther and farther into more experiments for the destruction of himself and his world.
There is certainly no single remedy for this condition and I am offering no panacea. But it seems reasonable to believe — and I do believe — that the more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us the less taste we shall have for the destruction of our race. Wonder and humility are wholesome emotions, and they do not exist side by side with a lust for destruction.”
“Only within the 20th Century has biological thought been focused on ecology, or the relation of the living creature to its environment. Awareness of ecological relationships is — or should be — the basis of modern conservation programs, for it is useless to attempt to preserve a living species unless the kind of land or water it requires is also preserved. So delicately interwoven are the relationships that when we disturb one thread of the community fabric we alter it all — perhaps almost imperceptibly, perhaps so drastically that destruction follows.”
—From Carson’s speech in acceptance of the National Book Award, 1963
“If we have been slow to develop the general concepts of ecology and conservation, we have been even more tardy in recognizing the facts of the ecology and conservation of man himself. We may hope that this will be the next major phase in the development of biology. Here and there awareness is growing that man, far from being the overlord of all creation, is himself part of nature, subject to the same cosmic forces that control all other life. Man’s future welfare and probably even his survival depend upon his learning to live in harmony, rather than in combat, with these forces.”
— From Carson’s “Essay on the Biological Sciences” in Good Reading, 1958