Final Items

A few reminders to finish up the semester:

Remember, your “Ecstasy of Plagiarism” project is due Tuesday, December 5, by noon.  Just slide it under my office door at HUM 553 by the deadline (along with any other work you may need to surrender).

Remember, I will turn off text annotations on Tuesday, December 5, at noon.  If you want to add some more annotations – – get them done before that high noon.

As you may have heard, SF State administration has chosen to terminate about 150 instructors for Spring 2024.  This means that several hundred class sections will be missing from the Spring 2024 schedule.  Some colleagues have put together this (anonymous) survey to gauge how these massive cuts will affect students.  If you get a moment, please visit the survey here.

I will be on strike on Tuesday, December 5.  I invite you to participate in the festivities at 19th and Holloway.

Friends, it’s been a true pleasure to share Tuesday afternoons with you.  Keep reading and thinking, and keep on truckin’!

For Thursday (10/19) and Tuesday (10/24)

In our chat about Eliot’s “Waste Land” on Tuesday, I tried to outline a way of reading the poem faithful to its radical, collage form.  Keeping track of a motif as it appears throughout Eliot’s long poem offers us a way of noticing patterns and of thinking about how the poem uses repetition to develop its meanings.  Recall some of the motifs I pointed to:

zombies: “A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many,/I had not thought death had undone so many.”

wet/dry: “Here, said she,/Is your card, the drowned Phoenician Sailor,/(Those are pearls that were his eyes. Look!)”

exile: “Frisch weht der Wind/Der Heimat zu/Mein Irisch Kind,/Wo weilest du?”

fragments/fragmentation: “A heap of broken images”

polyglossia/Babel: ““You! hypocrite lecteur!—mon semblable,—mon frère!”

men and women/romance: “Your arms full, and your hair wet, I could not/Speak, and my eyes failed . . .”

nature: lilacs, tubers, hyacinths, “brown fog”

(As you can see even from these examples, motfs are not exclusionary – – sometimes they intersect and double-up.)

Here is your goal for our next foray into “The Waste Land“: choose one of these motifs; find three instances of the motif in the rest of the poem; annotate each instance, explain how this motif connects to other instances.

For Thursday (10/12) and Tuesday (10/17)

Let’s start reading Eliot’s The Waste Land.  For Thursday and Tuesday, let’s just read the first section of the poem – – “Burial of the Dead.”  Make at least three annotations.  These annotations should only consist of questions, questions or confusions prompted by lines or phrases in the poem.  I.e. don’t worry about “interpreting” the poem, just use the annotations to record your experience of the poem.

For Thursday (9/5) and Tuesday (10/10)

For Thursday (10/5), read these poems by William Carlos Williams.  I’m particularly interested in “To Elsie.”  Make three annotations anywhere you like.

For Tuesday (10/10), you’ll want to read the wild poem – – “Sacred Emily” by Gertrude Stein. Make three annotations – – but let’s do something different, more modernist with these annotations.  Make three visual annotations so that we create a kind of visual collage of the poem.  The visual annotations should be inspired by – – but not limited to illustrating – –  the poem, i.e. you have as much leeway as you like to attach images to lines and words.

For Thursday (9/28) and Tuesday (10/3)

The Armory Show was first presented at New York City’s 69th Regiment Armory, on Lexington Avenue between 25th and 26th Streets, from February 17 until March 15, 1913. Organized by the Association of American Painters and Sculptors, the show introduced Americans to the latest, avant-garde styles and innovators – – including many cutting-edge contemporary European painters and sculptors.

For Thursday, you’ll visit the 1913 Armory Show.

First, take a look at these representative “classical” paintings to remind yourself of what traditional art looks and feels like :


After enjoying these paintings, head over to the Armory Show. Take your time and wander through the galleries.  As you do, pick out three paintings or sculptures that you think are the most “modern” (especially in relation to more “traditional” images like those above).  Click this link  to curate your mini-exhibition (password = “Armory” – – without quotes). Curate your portfolio of visual modernism by writing a couple of paragraphs that explain what makes each of your three works of art modernist – – i.e. decidedly not “traditional.” Complete this tour/tour guide by Monday (10/2) morning.

On Tuesday, we’ll talk about the Armory Show and about Ezra Pound’s tiny poem – -“In a Station of the Metro.” (No annotations necessary.)

If you did not surrender a copy of your “Mystery Text” assignment to me in class last Tuesday (9/26) – – DO NOT EMAIL A COPY.  This will only create scads of confusion.  INSTEAD, slide a printed copy of your assignment under my office door (HUM 553) as soon as possible – – definitely no later than Monday, October 2.