Public speaking is one thing, but THIS, as exciting as it was, is so not my thing ... ... ...
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EngW 3104 Intermediate Poetry Writing
Linde / Spring 2008
Recording and Midterm Reading
Due March 10
This assignment asks you to really listen to your own poems, think about how they work and how they might fit together, and become more comfortable presenting your poetry to an audience.
A) Recording: Record yourself reading a series of 3-5 of your poems, and upload this recording to our course blog (go to blog.lib.umn.edu, then log in). You may use a variety of audio or video technologies. Test to make sure the device is picking up your words.
Practice your reading before recording it (and/or make several recordings). Be sure to give each word, each line, each pause the time it deserves. Begin each poem with the title. When you finish a poem, wait for a moment before launching into the next one. Listeners enjoy letting a poem sink in.
B) Paper: Write 2-3 double-spaced pages of prose about the experience of selecting, ordering and reading your poems. Here are some questions to get you started:
- Why did you choose these poems?
- How do you see these poems fitting together (thematically, stylistically, etc.)? How did you decide on this order?
- What considerations (pacing, emphasis, etc.) went into your reading? What kinds of effects were you trying to create in your audience?
- Describe the difference between seeing your words on the page and hearing them from your own mouth. How did this experience compare to your usual interactions with your poems? What did you notice about your poems for the first time; what surprised you?
- Which aspects of your reading, as you listen to it now, please you the most, and why? What would you change if you recorded the poems again (and what do you plan to change for your in-class reading)?
C) Reading: Prepare a poetry reading (4-5 minutes) to give on March 10. This may be identical to your recording, or you may have to omit a poem or two to stay within the time limit. Rehearse your reading and time yourself precisely. In your live reading, as in your recording, heed the advice about reading more slowly and carefully than you would normally. Most people read more quickly (nervously) in front of an audience. Watch out for mumbling: make sure we can hear and understand each of your words. We will be especially impressed if you can deliver your poems with minimal glancing at the page.
Evaluation: This assignment is worth 10% of your course grade. The key evaluation points are careful reading (recorded and live) and reflection (in your paper). I’ve included some suggestions for successful readings. I will also consider your recording in light of your paper: what strategies are you using, toward what effects? Recall that I value concise, straightforward prose.