Weekly Blog Posts

The best way to become comfortable writing about any topic is through practice. With that in mind, beginning the week of September 13th, each student will be responsible for posting a 250 to 300-word blog entry about the week’s reading on the class blog. The aim of these weekly blog posts is to give you an opportunity to do some low-stakes writing on a regular basis outside of the more formal assignments. Think of this as a slightly more focussed version of thinking aloud on the page—or, rather, screen—recording your response to what you’re reading for class. Ideally, the blog posts should help you get a feel for writing about poetry while engaging closely with the course material. Your posts will also help guide class discussion, and students are encouraged to read each other’s posts in advance of our meetings. Each post will be due by 5pm on the Sunday before class, or the Tuesday on weeks in which we do not meet on Mondays. No posts will be due on Week Ten (our visit to MARBL), Week Fourteen (the week of one-on-one meetings), and Week Sixteen (our final class).

To help you focus your writing and align it with the course themes, please complete the following steps in composing each of your posts:

  1. Identify a moment or passage in the week’s reading that stopped you in your tracks.
  2. Reflect, in as precise terms as possible, on what it is that makes this particular passage a difficult one.
  3. Offer some suggestions on how you think the passage might be approached. This is not so much a matter of “solving” the difficulty, but an occasion for thinking with and through it to some new ideas about the text at hand.
  4. Give your post an original title that describes the content of the post. “Aaron’s Response to Sonnet 3,” for example, is not a a descriptive, original title. A title like “Confusing Syntax in Sonnet 3” will give your reader a better sense of what to expect.
  5. Categorize your post as belonging to the week’s round of posts. For example, if you are posting your entry for Week Four, select “Week Four: Adventures in Form” from the category list to the right of the blog composition panel.

I will grade each post on a ✔-/✔/✔+ scale, with an emphasis on regular completion determining your overall grade. My rubric is as follows:

✔+ = In addition to completing the basic requirements of the assignment, the post demonstrates exceptional attention to the text, the author engaging carefully and closely with his or her selected passages and offering insightful responses to the problems presented by the passage of his or her choice.

✔ = The post fulfills completely the requirements of the assignment, identifying a difficult passage from the text, explaining in precise terms the source of the passage’s difficulty, and offering an original approach to dealing with the problems presented by the chosen passage.

✔- = The post partially fulfills the requirements of the assignment, but is missing one or more of the required elements.

0 = The student fails to submit a post by deadline.

Grades will be posted weekly to the Blackboard Grade Center. Scored out of ten, a (✔+) is worth ten points, a (✔ ) eight points, a (✔-) six points, and an incomplete zero points.

Click here for detailed instructions on how to get started on the class blog.