WEEK 2: READING ASSIGNMENT Reading: Read the chapters “Images” and “Simile and Metaphor” in The Poet’s Companion (85-103) before doing the writing assignments due on Friday (April 15). READ: From Totems to Hip-Hop, section 2, “Men and Women,” 73 – 95. Instructions for the weekly annotation are below. Annotation is due on Monday, April 18, to your instructor. Week 2: Annotation Writing Assignment Read the “Men & Women” section of From Totems to Hip-Hop (73-95). Choose one of the longer poems to work with – 2 pages or more. Consider “Woman,” “The Brides Come to Yuba City,” “Ringless,” “Bad Girl Blues” or another. This week we are taking our OBSERVING a step forward by breaking down the process into deliberate steps. Please follow the directions carefully, without hurrying. Hurrying, or rushing to judge some details as important and others not important, will undermine the purpose of the exercise and make it difficult to learn from it. The purpose here is to break down the observation process and deliberately notice different kinds of details. It’s called “the method,” and it can be applied to any written text. With some modification, it can be used to develop a response to a film, piece of art, music, etc. Take it slow. 1. Choose a poem to work with. Plan to spend at least an hour on the observing stage of this process. A cup of tea might be helpful! 2. Make a list of exact repetitions – identical or nearly identical words or details – and note the number of times each repeats. Consider different forms of the same word (run, ran, running) as exact repetitions. Skip generic tiny words (a, the, of), but don’t neglect any words that carry meaning. To find repetitions, write the word as soon as you notice a repetition and make check marks next to it as you go through the section – how many times can you find it? EXAMPLE: man xxxx George xxx ring xxxxx Then you can go back and count: Man (4), George (3), ring (5). 3. Make a list of repetitions of the same kind of detail or word. This is called a strand, a grouping of similar kinds of words or details. For example, tree, vine, plant, herb could be a strand, or hot, sun, boiling, bright. Be able to explain the strand’s connecting logic, how the words are linked together. Most likely some of the words from your “repetition” list will turn up here as well, as part of a strand. EXAMPLE: white / silver / black / red / gold (colors) Cocteau / Flaubert / Lorca / Dante / Browning (names of writers) moon / silver / marble / mirror (hard surfaces) marble / silver / jasper / jade / amber/ carnelian / gold (minerals) 4. Locate details or words that suggest binary oppositions, binaries or organizing contrasts. For example: open/closed, polite/rude, growing/dying. Binaries need not be opposites. They are pairs of words that are linked in a meaningful way, perhaps in contrast, similarity, or differences of degree. Words from your first two lists might turn up here again. EXAMPLE: finger / body peacock/ moon white / black George Washington / Cocteau 5. Look back at your lists. They should be pretty long. Identify the most interesting or key details (key repletion, key strands, key binary) and highlight them. Arrange your lists in some kind of order of importance, from most important to least. Type up your lists if you haven’t yet. 6. To finish, choose just ONE detail (a repletion or a strand or a binary) that seems especially significant. Write a healthy paragraph in which you explain your choice. What does this detail reveal about the text? What have you noticed about the poem that you didn’t see at first? 7. Submit your responses in a single document that includes: o title of poem you worked with (in quote marks “Ringless”) o list of repeated words o list of strands (related words) o list of binaries (pairs of words) o your final detail paragraph. This is another process based on an exercise in Writing Analytically, by David Rosenwasser and Jill Stephen.