Intro to Poetry

Register to Vote!

ballot-boxFor those of you who are eligible citizens, be sure that you are registered to vote in the upcoming election. For many reasons, this is a very important election, and you should be a part of it! And it’s not just the presidential election–we’re voting for representatives in the House and Senate, as well as state and local representatives.


Here are a couple of links that will help point you in the right direction:

Campus Vote Project
Info for the state of Georgia:
The election will take place in November, but keep in mind that the registration deadline in Georgia is October 11.

Example Scripts

It might be helpful to you to look at some example scripts as you work on yours. The scripts I’m posting here are not specifically about poetry, but they will give you an idea of what it looks like when people do this kind of work.

Here is a great database of comics scripts. It’s actually got some big-name books and writers in there, including an issue Neil Gaiman’s Sandman and an issue or two of Batman, so if you into comics, it might be fun to peruse some of these.

I haven’t found a comparable database of video scripts, but here is one example that you may find helpful. You don’t have to follow this format specifically, but this writer’s attention to detail for each shot might help you out.

Tips and Tricks for Your Video Script

This post will be shorter than the previous one because there’s a lot of overlap. In both cases, you need to think about things like color, how you’re going to represent the poem’s images, how you’re going to incorporate the text of the poem, etc.

For the video, though, you also need to think about sound. Of course, your video isn’t required to have sound–that’s a choice you make–but it’s an option that isn’t available in comics. Also with your video, you need to think about how long shots will take. Just as the comics scripts need information about how many panels will be on a page, your video script will need to indicate timing and framing for each shot you propose. Be specific about what your vision is.

You’ll also need to consider what kinds of images your video will use. Will it be animation or live action? A series of still images? How will you transition between scenes?

Here’s a link to a Wikipedia article on cinematic terms that might help you find the right language for your vision.

Tips and tricks for your Comics Script

If you’re writing a comic script for your poem, here are some terms and resources that might help you out.

One of the things you’ll need to describe in your script is how your pages will be laid out. How many panels will there be on the page? How will those panels be shaped? Think about what kind of effect you’re trying to evoke through the visuals. Think also about how the form of the comic your creating might contribute to the content of the poem. For example, the more panels you have on a page, the more frantic or hectic it will feel to the reader–not unlike very short lines in poems. On the other hand, large panels on a page with a lot of detail in each has the effect of slowing the reader down and inviting them to linger, similar to poems with long lines and lots of enjambment. A splash page (on which the image takes up more than half of a page and up to two facing pages) make the content on that page feel extremely important. Think about what kind of reading experience your want your reader to have, but also think about how best to communicate something about the poem’s form and meaning through the layout of the page.

There are loads of good resources available to help you think about page layout and other other visual choices related to comics. Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics is a classic text both for people who study and write comics, and there are plenty of other books you can look at. There are also websites that can help. Wikipedia has a pretty good page on comics terminology and this blog and this one aimed at artists have some great tips as well.

You’ll also need to think about what kinds of images you want to include. Cartoonish? Realistic? More abstract? Along with that, what will the coloration be? Do you want your comic to be black-and-white, or do you want to use color? Perhaps a combination? If you’re using color, will the colors be bright, primary colors, or do you want more subdued colors? Again, you want to think specifically about how the color choices you make reflect the content of the poem.

Welcome to the Wonderful World of WordPress

Okay, alliteration aside, WordPress is pretty great. It’s user-friendly, and it’s one of the most popular content management systems available–which is great for us because that means that you can find answers to almost any question about WordPress with a simple Google search. There are even blogs devoted to helping people learn to use WordPress (like this one or this one). Since this will be the first blogging experience for most of you, I think you will appreciate having so many tools available to you.

Another useful place to go for help is the Domain documentation pages. Emory’s Domain of One’s Own faculty and staff have worked to gather as much useful information as possible for us in these pages. In particular, you may find the page about WordPress very helpful now as you get started.

For now, what’s most important is that you’ve got a blog set up and you know how to post. Basically, you go to your blog dashboard (which you get to by logging into your control panel from the Domain page and then clicking on your blog under “My Applications”). Then click on the link to your blog with the /wp-admin/ at the end of it. From there you can click on “Posts” in the left sidebar and then click “Add New.”

Easy peasy. You’ll want to give your post a title to indicate what it’s going to be about. And then you just type in your content. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can upload images or link out to other sites (I’ve done a lot of linking here). As we go through the semester blogging together, I’ll offer tips, and y’all can offer tips to each other too.

And here’s the first tip:

When you’re writing your post, think about what you like when you read content on the interwebs. As writers, it’s import to let audience expectations help determining how we write. One way to help yourself think about your audience is to think about what you like. Do you like short paragraphs? Images? Links to more information?

Also, think about your own ethos. How do you want your readers to think of you? How will you use style and tone to help shape your readers’ perception? Keep in mind that ethos is about credibility and character.

One more thing on ethos. Yes, you’re doing this blog for a college class, but that doesn’t mean that you should try to affect some overly formal and academic ethos. You don’t have to write in a formal manner to build your ethos. What makes a good ethos changes depending on the audience and the situation. This isn’t the same rhetorical situation as an academic paper, and so you should develop your ethos differently without sacrificing credibility.

If you want an example, check out this blog post about “Requiem for the Croppies,” the poem we read in class today. Notice that the writer isn’t overly formal in tone. Another, non-poetry example is this blog called Mind Hacks. It’s an academic blog on neuroscience and psychology written by a couple of PhDs who are experts in the field. The blog isn’t written like a scientific paper, but the writers are able to maintain their credibility.

Using this website

This website will be the electronic hub for our class. I’ll post information, clarifications, examples, and anything I feel is relevant to the course.

You can find all of the syllabus information in the top menu. I haven’t added content to to the assignments menu yet, but you can expect those sometime in the next week or so. On the right side panel, you’ll find my contact info and office hours (during which I will usually be sitting in “my office” at Peet’s in the library basement). If you need to meet with me outside of my scheduled office hours, shoot me an email and we’ll set something up. Keep in mind that I have a pretty packed schedule; I’ll do my best to accommodate you, but you need to plan ahead, contact me early, and be flexible.

Also on the right side panel, you can find a calendar which I’ll keep updated with assignments and events related to class. If you have an event you want publicized to the class, let me know and I’ll put it on the calendar. Underneath the calendar, there’s a subscription bar where you can put in your email address so that you’re notified every time I post on the website. I recommend that you subscribe so that you don’t miss anything. You’re adults; it’s up to you to keep up with the website.

Intro to Poetry

i_love_poetryWelcome to Intro to Poetry with your host, Shanna Early. This is going to be a great semester. We’re going to learn strategies for reading poetry that will help you to enjoy and understand poetry better. My hope is that you develop a great appreciation of poetry, not only as a unique and beautiful art form, but also as a valuable contribution to the broader artistic landscape through which we respond to the world around us.

Much of what we’ll do when we read poetry during this class is analytical in nature. We’ll be talking about what poems mean, what words, form, images, etc., are doing, how and what the poem communicates–that kind of thing. But the point of reading this way will not be to “dissect” the poem. Our aim will not be to read violently. Instead, we want to gain a greater appreciation for the artistry and energy of the poetry though understanding. As I said in class, I like to think of careful reading of poetry as a kind of conversation–the text speaks, you ask it questions (in a sense), and you listen for answers. We’re aiming for what Billy Collins describes in the first part of his poem “Introduction to Poetry,” which we read together in class today. Let’s “feel the walls for a light switch,” as Collins suggests.

In our next class, we’ll start talking about strategies for this kind of reading.

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