Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Writing the Voice Sketch

In my experience, one of the most difficult parts of writing a voice piece is finding a way to capture a unique voice without exaggerating that voice to the point of disbelief.  And the two pieces we read for class cut a very fine line here, managing to capture some of the extremes of local dialects without inflicting a cliche.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Links to Literary Terms

I had a very good question today about how to know which terms to identify.  Given the snow, we haven't gone over as many of the literary terms and techniques as I would have liked, so I've included a list here of useful websites for literary terms.  As the semester progresses, I will focus in on the literary terms which I find the most important, but you may discover that additional terms are needed to describe the works from The Hopkins Review.

Hopkins Review Essay: Evaluating Poetry

The Hopkins Review essays mark an important departure in the course from our regular focus on writing creatively.  Although the essays may require more research than the poems you've submitted thus far and a bit of a closer analysis than our in-class readings, they should be something to worry you.  I grade the essays on a relatively simple rubric - by following the rubric and the simple tips, you will be able to write a quality essay which reveals important aspects of both the work evaluated and poetry in general.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

What is a Setting Poem?

Before I discuss the specifics of setting poems, I'd like to introduce a major concept in poetry which is often overlooked when trying to categorize poems.  Essentially, any poem has elements of every poem.  For example, in Bishop's "In the Waiting Room," it's a narrative poem, but we have the elements of a child-like voice and the setting details surrounding her narrative.  In Larkin's "Church Going," we have a similar effect, but it's a setting poem because the narrative is somewhat less important, but we still have some elements of narrative along with the voice of a man who's detached from religion and church in general.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

What is a Voice Poem?

At its heart, a voice poem is about this nebulous term we know as "voice."  The easiest way I've found to think of this is to imagine the voices of people I've met and picking apart the interesting differences that come out.  Unfortunately, this can be harder than it sounds - most of the people we know and hang out with speak the same way we do.  They are interested in the same topics, and they often hold the same views and opinions.  And this is somewhat natural.  Just think about chemistry: we're kinda the lipids in olive oil doing our best to avoid the wrong-headed vinegar peeps in our lives.