Study Questions for 5/7

On The Craft of Research, pp. 189-199.

  1.  How do readers read your paper? What do they look for first?
  2. How do you test if the structure of your argument matches the structure of your paper?
  3. What might cause your readers to reject your argument?
  4. How do key terms help organize an argument and a paper?
  5. What are the components of an abstract? How does an abstract differ from a summary?
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Extra Credit

Just a reminder that there is an opportunity tomorrow to earn up to 20 points of extra credit, applied to your response paper scores.

You can earn ten points by attending the MA Conference Keynote Address, “The Art of Overanalyzing,” which takes place in Remsen 017 from 4:30 to 5:30 pm.  After attending, write a short 1-pg, single-spaced paper describing the talk and connecting it to some of the things that you have have learned about the English major in this and other classes.

You can also earn ten points by attending on of the conference panels that run throughout the day, from 10:30 am to 4:30 pm. I full schedule is posted online. Each session runs an hour and fifteen minutes.  As with the first opportunity, you should write a one-page, single-spaced essay describing the papers and linking them to some of the tings you have learned about the English major in this an other classes.

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Study Questions for 4/30

On the MLA Handbook, pp. 59-102

  1. How do you capitalize a short, untitled poem known by its first line?
  2. How does parenthetical citation differ for an quotation when it is a blocked quote?
  3. How many lines does a quotation need to run before it is blocked? Is this the same for poetry?
  4. What is “sic”?
  5. When quoting poetry, when do you use “ / “ and “ // “? What is each slash used for?
  6. How far do you indent a blocked quotation?
  7. What kinds of words do you not capitalize in a title?
  8. Where do punctuation marks like a comma and a period appear in text that you quote?


On The Craft of Research, pp. 248-268

  1. What is a nominalization? Why is it bad for writing?
  2. What does it mean to move from new to old information? How do you test your writing to make sure that are you doing this?
  3. How can you tell is you have used the passive voice? How do you fix it?
  4. Where should complexity in your sentences reside?


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Revision Guidelines

You’re welcome to revise any one of your first eight responses papers. The revised grade will be the one counted in your course grade. If you want to do a revision, you must:

  • Make an appointment with the instructor to discuss your revision strategies during the week of April 29 or May 6
  • Turn in the revised paper and the graded first paper on the final day class, May 14.
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Response Paper 8

For your eighth and final response paper, you will write a one-page, single spaced close reading of a poem from Eduardo Corral’s Slow Lightning that you signed up for at our last class meeting. The close reading should have an introduction that sets up the relevant context and makes an interpretative claim about the poem. The body of that essay should develop that claim through a close analysis of the poem’s content AND form.

During class on Tuesday, you will share your close readings with the group in a short presentation that offer an opportunity to discuss the poem beyond your interpretation of it.

The poems that you signed up for are:

  • Marwa:  Temple in a Teapot (Aquí Está el Detalle) (p. 58)
  • Brett: Watermark (p. 6)
  • Helen: Poem After Frida Kahlo’s Painting The Broken Column (p. 24)
  • Talie: In Colorado My Father Scoured and Stacked Dishes (p. 9)
  • Tasnim: Self-Portrait with Tumbling and Lasso (p. 21)
  • Conor: Immigration and Naturalization Report #46 (p. 16)
  • Cassandra: To the Beastangel (p. 53)
  • Michelle: Cayucos (p. 29)
  • Denise: All the Trees of the Field Shall Clap Their Hands (p. 51)
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Study Questions fo 4/15

Note: I’ll announce this in class on Tuesday, but, if you need more time on the annotated bibliography, you can turn it in as late as the Thursday of Spring Break (April 25).

On the reviews and interviews

  1. What concepts, frameworks, and key terms do the interviews and reviews reveal as relevant to any critical consideration of Corral’s writing?
  2. What references—biographical, literary, or historical—do these text expose?
  3. How is the review different from the interview in terms of the content it covers?
  4. What poems from Slow Lightning emerge as especially important in these readings?

 On Eric Hayot’s The Elements of Academic Style

  1. How should you arrange your examples in your paper? How many major examples would you anticipate having in a seminar paper of 18 to 20 pages?
  2. What is the form of figural language is that is best suited to academic prose?
  3. What are the functions of a footnote? How does a footnote point “us to paths untrodden and unchosen” (176)?
  4. What does Hayot mean when he says he is “anti-anti-jargon” (178)?
  5. What are some techniques for growing your lexicon?
  6. What are some reasons for using parentheticals?
  7. Which instances of “I” should be edited out of your final essay?
  8. Where should the more important information in a sentence appear? The less?
  9. What is phatic language? What is its relation to speed?
  10. What is weight, and how do you add it to your writing?


On Matthew Zapruder’s Why Poetry

Chapter 6: The One Thing That Can Save America

  1. What does it mean for the poem to ask for “ a different kind of attention” (79)?
  2. How does Wallace Stevens’s commentary on the “pressure of the real” force Zapruder to reevaluate the utility of poetry?
  3. What does Zapruder mean when he calls America a “negative capability” country?
  4. In his discussion of Ashberry and of Stevens’s definition of nobility (95-96), what role does poetry have in negotiating the borders and tensions between the private and the public?
  5. What is the “good news” of poetry?

Chapter 8: Three Political Poems

  1. Zapruder mentions Keats’s “negative capability” twice in the chapter (117, 125). What is negative capability and how does it connect to the political poem?
  2. What does good political poetry do?
  3. What does it mean for a poet to put his “queer shoulder to the wheel”?
  4. Which of Corral’s poems seem the most “political” in the senses that Zapruder describes?

Afterword: Poetry and Poets in a Time of Crisis

  1. What is the Wallace Stevens’s argument about poetry’s use in “The Noble Rider and the Sound of Words”? What two ways does Zapruder see poetry responding to the “pressure of the real”?
  2. Zapruder claims that poetry does not comfort us or tell us what to think. What does it offer us instead?
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Study Questions for 4/9

On Jonathan Culler’s “Language, Meaning, and Interpretation”

  1. Culler identifies three levels of meaning: meaning of the work, of an utterance, and of a text. What differentiates these levels?
  2. What does it mean to say that language is a system of differences? How do poems exploit this aspect of language?
  3. How does language determine what can be thought?
  4. What is the difference between langue and parole? Between poetics and hermeneutics?
  5. What is literary competence and how do you get it?
  6. Culler notes that intention, text, context, and reader each determine meaning. What are the limitations of each of these categories?
  7. What is the intentional fallacy?
  8. What does Culler mean when he says that “meaning is context-bound, but context is boundless” (something he repeats on page 67 ff)?
  9. What is the difference betweens a hermeneutics of recovery and a hermeneutics of suspicion? What does it mean to read “symptomatically”?

On Jonathan Culler’s “Rhetoric, Poetics, and Poetry”

  1. What is the difference between poetics and rhetoric?
  2. What the four master tropes? What is a trope?
  3. What different questions do we ask if we think of a poem as an event rather than a text?
  4. What are the sublime, apostrophe, personification, and prosopoeia.?
  5. How have Russian formalists, New Critics, and Post-Structuralists differed in their approach to interpreting poems?


On Matthew Zapruder’s Why Poetry

  1. What is a symbol?
  2. Why is the sestina the form that best exploits the symbolic potential of language?



“London” (Bryan, Brett, Marwa) I

“The Sick Rose” (Denise, Helen, Conor) II

“The Tyger” (Michelle, Talie, Tasnim, Cassandra) III

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Response Paper 7

Anne Mellor’s essay wasn’t available from the library, so we will read instead David Fairer’s “Experience Reading Innocence: Contextualizing Blake’s ‘Holy Thursday,'” which should provide a model of how to develop a research essay on a single poem.

For your response paper, you write a single-spaced page that produces short analyses of the ten paragraphs that comprise the essay’s introduction (running from page 535-540). In your paper, you can begin each paragraph with the paragraph number, followed by a sentence or two that described what that paragraph is doing. As you do your description, make sure to draw on the terminology that we have learned from Booth and Hayot.

Then, do a sentence outline that for the paper’s introduction. Each line should be a complete sentence. As you complete the outline, you will need to make determinations about which are the main sections of the introduction and which are subordinate. You’ll also need to figure out which information from within the paragraphs seems important to note in a outline that shouldn’t extend beyond one page.

The first part of the response paper should look like:

  • Par 1: [one or two sentence account of what that paragraph is doing]
  • Par 2:
  • Par 3:
  • Par.4:
  • Par 5:
  • Par 6:
  • Par 7:
  • Par 8:
  • Par 9:
  • Par 10:

In contrast, the outline should look like an outline. See The Craft of Research section on sentence outlines if you are unsure of what an outline should look like.

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Study Questions for 4/2

On The Craft of Research (pp. 173-188)

  1. What four things should be included in a preliminary introduction?
  2. What is a “road map”? When is it most appropriate? Do road maps belong in literary criticism?
  3. Why should you create a page for each section of your paper when you are planning out the essay?
  4. What are some common flawed plans?
  5. How does spending time on the plan catalyze the writing process?

On The MLA Handbook (pp. 102-129)

  1. When do you use a “+” when listing an article’s page numbers?
  2. What should be omitted from URLs that you include in your Works Cited page?
  3. How should you list multiple works by a single author in your Works Cited page?  What order should the texts go in?
  4. What is a “cross referenced citation”?
  5. What is an indirect citation? How should it be cited in your essay?
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Study Questions for 3/26

On Laura Mandell’s “Imagining Interiority”

1.  What is “remediation”? What role does that term play in Mandell’s argument?

2. What is the second paragraph (which begins “”current criticism seems . . .”) on page 219 doing? What’s noteworthy about how that paragraph is constructed?

3. What is a “lexical image” (220)? What is “catachresis” (220)?

4. How does the photograph differ from painting in terms of who it orients subjectivity?

5. What is Mnadell’s claim about Blake’s poem “London”?

On Saree Makdisi’s Fierce Rushing

1.  What types of history does Makdisi use to frame his discussion of America, a poem by Blake that we did not read?

2. What were the prevailing academic understandings of the 1790s? How does Makdisi disrupt this?

3. What does Makdisi’s reading of “the fierce rushing” scene help us understand about Blake’s political thought?

4. In what ways is Makdisi’s essay a new historicist inquiry?

On Zapruder’s Why Poetry

1.  What is the difference between reading poetry for its devices and reading it for its effects (7-8)?

2. How does poetry defamiliarize language, the reader, and our experience of time?

3.  What do the line break and rhyme accomplish for a poem?

4.  What is metaphor? What does it help a poem accomplish?

5.  How is a symbol different from a metaphor?

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