Here’s the official assignment (uploaded 3/8 and to be discussed in class on 3/10):
The final project for this class consists of 3 parts: PACKET, PAPER, and PRESENTATION.
For your final project you will choose an American poem that we have not studied in class and undertake the challenge of compiling a PACKET of materials that can be read in relation to it. This will be a time consuming process, so you should start early. You need to make sure that you choose a poem that you are excited to study, but you also need to make sure that there is enough information out there on this poem. Many students have had to change poems once they have started the project, so, like I said, start early. Make sure that you come see me during my office hours (Thursdays 11-1 in the Bookmark Cafe) to discuss you choice. (If you have another obligation during this time, please let me know and we can find another time to meet.)
Your packet should include 6-10 items and should be posted to your page on the “Final Assignments” part of our website. Please also provide the text of the poem on this page. This page will work the same way the “Weekly Assignments” and “Additional Contexts” pages work – you can post text and links, but you cannot upload anything. Therefore, if you have an article in your packet, simply post the full bibliographic information (author, title, publication, date, and page numbers). In order to figure out which 6-10 contextual materials you would like to use, you will need to collect many more than this. You will probably encounter at least 20 options, and then you will have decisions to make about what items fit into the packet best. Again, starting early will ensure that you aren’t simply including the 6 that you can scrape up at the last minute. We will talk extensively about the sorts of items that might appear in your packet, but remember that you should include a range of sources and contexts.
In addition to making this packet, you will also submit a 10 page PAPER. This paper can be structured any way you want. In the end, make sure it accomplishes the following things:
1) analyzes the poem
2) discusses each of the items in the packet and says what sort of context each one provides for understanding the poem
3) talks about the process of making the packet (things you wished you had found but couldn’t, frustrations you had with the process, real “finds” that you are proud of, etc.)
4) discusses some of the larger issues that this class has raised for you
As always, I want you to find your own, interesting way into your writing. You are welcome to return to any of the writing you did this semester and reflect on it. Please make sure that your grammar is correct and that you have proofread this paper. Please make this paper enjoyable for you to write and for me to read.
In the final weeks of the semester, you will each be doing a PRESENTATION to the class about your project. On the day of your presentation, you should bring in 18 copies of the poem to pass out to the class. You will then have 15-20 minutes to use however you would like. Your goal will be to “teach” the poem to the class. You may want to begin by reading the poem and talking about it and then moving on to talking about the contextual materials that you have put in your packet. Or you may want to go about things differently. It’s totally up to you. (You will have access to the course website via my laptop, so make sure that everything is online on the day you do your presentation.) You should touch on each of the items in your packet, summing up what kind of context it provides, and saying why you thought it was necessary to include it. You may also want to talk briefly about the things you decided to exclude from your packet, the things that were very difficult to find, what you feel is missing but you couldn’t find, etc. Students should be prepared to ask questions of the presenters. (You will sign up for a presentation date as we get closer to the end of the semester.)
Your final project will not be complete if any of there three components (packet, paper, presentation) is missing. The final version of your packet will be up on the website and the paper will be turned in on the last day of class, Tuesday May 3rd. The final project will constitute 50% of your final grade. If you have any questions or just need to brainstorm, feel free to come see me. I am happy to look at packets-in-process as well as read rough drafts of papers.
Good luck. And remember that this should be fun!
*Earlier Post about the Final Assignment:
About half way through the term you will choose a poem that you would like to study and that we haven’t considered in class. Your project will be to gather various materials and sources on this poem. You are welcome to work individually, with a partner, or even with a larger group. At the semester’s end, every student will turn in a copy of his/her packet as well as a paper (approx. 10 pages, double spaced) in which you discuss the process of putting it together and what you learned from it. You will write a rough and final draft.
More detailed instructions will be posted as we approach the middle of the term.