Saturday, March 15, 2008

An update

Hello everyone. This is certainly a message I never anticipated posting. Unfortunately, I have just recently found out that I will be needing some surgery as soon as possible. Because of the lenghty recovery period anticipated, I will most likely not be returning to KU this semester. On a positive note, Dr. Janice Chernekoff, herself no slouch when it comes to Rhetoric and Lit., has agreed to take over the class, beginning on Weds. Wednesday's assignment will stay the same.

I invite all of you to stay in touch; I'd love to hear from you. I also hope that you all still walk for CF on April 5 (go Team Rhet of Lit!) as we had planned and take lots of pictures!

Take care of yourselves and have a great rest of the semester.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Hello everyone!

I hope you are all beginning to relax and enjoy your break. But remember that in the midst of all that enjoyment, you might want to start thinking about your final projects. If you've got something in mind, please tell us all about it here. We may be able to offer suggestions and support!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

More poetry

A former student (and current teacher) just sent this to me. Thought you might enjoy it.

“Do You Have Any Advice For Those of Us Just Starting Out?"
by Ron Koertge

Give up sitting dutifully at your desk.
Leave your house or apartment. Go out into the world.

It's all right to carry a notebook but a cheap one is best,
with pages the color of weak tea
and on the front a kitten or a space ship.

Avoid any enclosed space
where more than three people are wearing turtlenecks.
Beware any snow-covered chalet
with deer tracks across the muffled tennis courts.

Not surprisingly, libraries are a good place to write.
And the perfect place in a library
is near an aisle where a child a year or two old is playing
as his mother browses the ranks of the dead.

Often he will pull books from the bottom shelf.
The title, the author's name, the brooding photo on the flap
mean nothing.
Red book on black, gray book on brown, he builds a tower.
And the higher it gets, the wider he grins.

You who asked for advice, listen:
When the tower falls, be like that child.
Laugh so loud everybody in the world frowns and says, "Shhhh."

Then start again.

from Fever, 2006 Red Hen Press

Friday, February 15, 2008

Preview of Final Project

If you'd like to plan ahead, here is a sketch of your final project that I promised to give you on Weds., had class not been cancelled. We'll go over this next week, but feel free to offer any comments on the blog before then. Enjoy!

Final Paper: Transforming Rhetoric

I believe that one of the most interesting aspects of studying rhetoric and literature is examining the ways in which language can undergo a transformation to reflect the culture, the genre, the writer’s motives, the anticipated reader/ listener/ viewer, and so on. For this final project, I would like each of you to identify some literary transformation and trace it as completely as possible. I have many suggestions, some of which are listed below, and we will brainstorm a list of possibilities in class as well. This will be an analytical paper that involves close readings of the various texts. Suggested length is a minimum of 6 pages; the paper should include some secondary research but the extent of that is up to you.

Myth into poetry and/or fiction
Daedalus and Icarus; Daphne and Apollo; Narcissus; Persephone, and many
(see Nina Kossman’s Gods and Mortals: Modern Poems on Classical Myths)

Fiction into Film
A useful website for this is called Based on the Book.

Play into film
Versions of Hamlet
Macbeth and Throne of Blood

Perspective changes in fiction
Jane Eyre and Rhys’ The Wide Sargasso Sea
Beowulf and Gardner’s Grendel
The Odyssey and Atwood’s Penelopiad

Fairy Tales through the ages
Various versions of Cinderella
Anne Sexton’s Transformations
Rapunzel and Donna Jo Napoli’s Zel

Music and Poetry
Anne Sexton’s poetry and the music of Her Kind
Joy Harjo’s poetry and the music of Poetic Justice

Representations of the trickster, vampires, you name it, in word, art, film

Any literary theme or historical event in word, art, film

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Great poems

Thanks for all of these wonderful poems, but they're no substitute for three great hours spent with all of you on Wednesday afternoons ;-) Here is the poem I was going to give out today if the weather hadn't intervened. What do you think?

I ask the impossible

I ask the impossible: love me forever.
Love me when all desire is gone.
Love me with the single-mindedness of a monk.
When the world in its entirety,
And all that you hold sacred, advise you
Against it: love me still more.
When rage fills you and has no name: love me.
When each step from your door to your mob tires you
Love me: and from job to home again.

Love me when you’re bored
When every woman you see is more beautiful than the last,
Or more pathetic, love me as you always have:
Not as admirer or judge, but with
The compassion you save for yourself
In your solitude.

Love me as you relish your loneliness,
The anticipation of your death,
Mysteries of the flesh, as it tears and mends.
Love me as your most treasured childhood Memory
And if there is none to recall
Imagine one, place me there with you.
Love me withered as you loved me new.

Love me as if I were forever
And I will make the impossible
A simple act,
By loving you, loving you as I do.

Ana Castillo, 2000

When We Two Parted

George Gordon, Lord Byron

When we two parted
In silence and tears,
Half broken-hearted
To sever for years,
Pale grew thy cheek and cold,
Colder thy kiss;
Truly that hour foretold
Sorrow to this.

The dew of the morning
Sunk chill on my brow—
It felt like the warning
Of what I feel now.
Thy vows are all broken,
And light is thy fame;
I hear thy name spoken,
And share in its shame.

They name thee before me,
A knell to mine ear;
A shudder comes o'er me—
Why wert thou so dear?
They know not I knew thee,
Who knew thee too well:—
Long, long shall I rue thee,
Too deeply to tell.

In secret we met—
In silence I grieve
That thy heart could forget,
Thy spirit deceive.
If I should meet thee
After long years,
How should I greet thee?—
With silence and tears.

Love Poems?

So...I don't often find myself reading Love poems. I don't know why, it's not that I'm against love or showing one's emotion, it's just not my thing. However, I adore love songs of any shape and size, especially ones that aren't terribly serious. Anyway, I recently saw the movie Juno in theaters(LOVED it.) and this was the opening song. I'm pretty sure it's by the Moldy Peaches, but I'm not 100% sure. I just thought it was a very simple way of telling someone about love.

If I was a flower growing wild and free,
All I'd want is you to be my sweet honey bee.
And if I was a tree growing tall and green,
All I'd want is you to shade me and be my leaves.

All I want is you, will you be my bride?
Take me by the hand and stand by my side.
All I want is you, will you stay with me?
Hold me in your arms and sway me like the sea.

If you were a river in the mountains tall,
The rumble of your water would be my call.
If you were the winter, I know I'd be the snow.
Just as long as you were with me, let the cold winds blow.

All I want is you, will you be my bride?
Take me by the hand and stand by my side.
All I want is you, will you stay with me?
Hold me in your arms and sway me like the sea.

If you were a wink, I'd be a nod.
If you were a seed, well I'd be a pod.
If you were the floor, I'd wanna be the rug.
And if you were a kiss, I know I'd be a hug.