Due dates:
at the end of every class session (17 available sessions; 13 required paragraphs)

Length & Format: 175-300 words (Times New Roman 12 pt font; single-spaced; one inch margins; name, date, & class single-spaced in the top left corner of the body (not the header) of the page)

15% of Final Grade

Before each class session, you will need to write and print one paragraph about your assigned poem (depending on whether you’re in Group A or Group B). We will use these paragraphs to practice writing and to guide our discussions. At the end of class, I will collect your paragraphs. Occasionally throughout the course of the semester, I will offer you feedback on one of your paragraphs in order to help you develop your critical writing, reading, and thinking skills.

Your paragraphs are graded holistically, which means that I take into account your improvement over the course of the semester. Your grade is also based on completion. You may skip 4 days of submitting paragraphs without any penalty to your grade. But I will not accept late paragraphs, paragraphs via email, or paragraphs turned in for you by another classmate – so save some of those skipped days for class sessions you may miss due to absences.

You might be asking: What’s my paragraph supposed to be about? Anything. But if you’re having a hard time coming up with something to say, here are some ideas to get you started:

1. Just try summarizing your poem. Here’s a template for that:

In [“Title of Poem”] [Author’s first name & last name] [depicts/explores/represents/describes] [A]. [Author’s last name] begins with lines that [evoke/list/name/question/suggest/emphasize]. This can be seen, for example, in the passage where [Author’s last name] writes: [“quote”] (line x or lines x-y). In other words, [B]. Where the poem begins with/by [a depiction/exploration/representation/description] of [A], it ends with/by [C]. This can be seen in [Author’s last name] [word choice of D / use of image E]. Overall, [“Title of Poem”] seems to be insisting that its reader(s) [recognize/realize/think about/imagine/] [F].

2. Consider what the most important line of the poem is. You can use these sentence models for this kind of paragraph:

To my mind, the most important line(s) in [Author’s first name & last name] is/are: “[quote the line(s)”] (line x or lines x-y). This line [depicts/explores/represents/describes] [X]. This line is the most important line in the poem because [explain]. In other words, [finish].

3. Consider what’s at stake in the poet’s choice of a particular word, their use of an image, or a theme that emerges from a pattern in the poem (what words end or begin lines; what words rhyme with one another; or what words or sounds are repeated). You can use these sentence models for this kind of paragraph:

In [“Title of Poem”] [Author’s first name & last name] uses [X, where X is a word choice, image, or pattern – try and be specific] to [emphasize / highlight / suggest / show / reveal / represent] [“Title of Poem’s”] theme of Y. In other words, [finish]. For example, [offer an example that makes reference to specific words or lines or patterns in the poem]. Overall, this [word choice, image, or pattern] [describe the effect the word choice, image, or pattern has on the poem’s theme – you might consider whether it illustrates or complicates the poem’s obvious theme].

4. Consider describing a point of confusion you have about the poem. Here’s a template for that:

I’m confused by [Author’s first name & last name]’s [description/representation/use of [term A or image B]] in [“Title of the Poem”]. [Author’s last name] appears to mean [X] when he/she writes [“quote from poem”] (line x or lines x-y). Yet this passage could be interpreted another way. On the one hand, one could argue that it means C. On the other hand, it might mean D. These contradictions, however, suggest that the poem’s concern with [theme E] is more complex than it at first appears. In other words, [finish].

These are just some ideas to get you started. You’re welcome to write a paragraph about any aspect of your assigned poem, and you don’t have to follow the sentence models exactly. Do keep in mind the advice offered on pages 891-910 in your textbook, and you should try your best to incorporate key terms from your textbook’s glossary into your paragraph.

Grading Criteria:

A: In order to receive an A for this assignment, all 13 paragraphs have to have been submitted on time. Additionally, A Paragraphs demonstrate consistent effort to read the assigned poems critically, carefully, and thoughtfully. They also demonstrate consistent effort to write well by using correct grammar, avoiding passive voice, incorporating quotations into sentences, citing according to MLA style, and focusing on one central claim for which compelling evidence is provided and explicated.

B: In order to receive an B for this assignment, at least 11 paragraphs have to have been submitted on time. Additionally, B Paragraphs demonstrate consistent effort to read assigned poems critically, carefully, and thoughtfully. They may struggle, however, to incorporate all the elements of strong writing. More work may need to be done in one or two of the following areas: using correct grammar, avoiding passive voice, incorporating quotations into sentences, citing according to MLA style, and focusing on one central claim for which compelling evidence is provided and explicated.

C: In order to receive a C for this assignment, at least 9 paragraphs have to have been submitted on time. Additionally, C paragraphs are inconsistent in their effort to read assigned poems critically, carefully, and thoughtfully – and they may occasionally fail to meet the minimum length requirements. They may also struggle to incorporate all the elements of strong writing. More work may need to be done in three of the following areas: using correct grammar, avoiding passive voice, incorporating quotations into sentences, citing according to MLA style, and focusing on one central claim for which compelling evidence is provided and explicated.

D: In order to receive a D for this assignment, at least 7 paragraphs have to have been submitted on time. Additionally, Daragraphs are inconsistent in their effort to read assigned poems critically, carefully, and thoughtfully – and they frequently fail to meet the minimum length requirements. They may also struggle to incorporate all the elements of strong writing. More work may need to be done in four of the following areas: using correct grammar, avoiding passive voice, incorporating quotations into sentences, citing according to MLA style, and focusing on one central claim for which compelling evidence is provided and explicated.

F: Student failed to submit more than 6 paragraphs on time and/or at least one paragraph violates Wright State’s Academic Integrity Policy.

 

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