For Thursday (12/1) and Tuesday (12/6)

For Thursday and Tuesday, read Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl.”  Make three annotations on the poem.

We won’t have a final essay or project for the class.  However, I will create a writing event for you on the Harlem Renaissance/New Negro Movement.  This will be available on Monday.

For Thursday (11/3) and Tuesday (11/8)

On Tuesday, we’ll continue talking about Hemingway’s In Our Time. (Let’s focus on two short stories: “Soldier’s Home” and “Cat in the Rain.”)

In addition, let’s get started with our too brief engagement with the “Harlem Renaissance” or “New Negro Movement.”  Read Langston Hughes’ essay – – “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain” – – and make three annotations.  Bonus points if you also read Alain Locke’s essay, “The New Negro,” and make three annotations on that essay.

Finally, don’t forget to finalize your Eliot annotations: revise with my feedback in mind, and tidy them up (so that you’ve left three sharp, clear, multimodal annotations).

For Thursday (10/20) and Tuesday (10/25)

Let’s try to get several things done by the time we meet on Tuesday:

Start Ernest Hemingway’s short story collection – – In Our Time. (You can view/download a pdf of the collection here. I can also distribute a version of the book for Kindle or Apple Books apps.  Let me know if you prefer this:  For Tuesday, try reading up to the end of “The Battler.”

We’ll continue discussing Eliot’s “Waste Land” on Tuesday.  Between now (Thursday) and Tuesday, let’s get ready to produce our super-annotated version of the poem.  What does this mean?

Our goal is to “bring” the “Waste Land” and its bristling allusions into the 21st century.  More broadly: how can we create a more contemporary context for Eliot’s poem?  Another way of thinking about this is: how can we make the poem richer and more accessible for contemporary readers?

Our method for doing this is to provide as many and as rich annotations as we can.  These should be images, videos, audio, and any other (hyperlinked) written texts.  A good annotation for this purpose should not just illustrate an image or line from “The Waste Land.”  Instead, a good annotation should expand on or comment on the meaning of an image or line or lines from the poem.

For instance, if I were looking for a super-rich annotation for the line “April is the cruellest month,” I might annotate it with Childish Gambino’s “Feels Like Summer.”  Both the line and the song speak to a radical disjunction between nature and humanity – – a big motif in Eliot’s poem and a critical issue for us today.

Here’s how we’ll start our project:

  1. For now, let’s super-annotate just the first section of Eliot’s poem – – “Burial of the Dead.”
  2. For Tuesday, think about, retrieve, and add at least four good contemporary (post-1960) texts (visual, audio, image, written) to the new version of “The Waste Land” that I’ve created. When you add each annotation, briefly explain in the annotation box why you’ve chosen this piece to add to the poem.
  3. As you re-read “Burial of the Dead” and think about how you want to annotate it, remember some of the motifs we talked about in class last Tuesday: zombies, dryness/wetness, polyvocality/heteroglossia, fragments, the story of the “Fall,” nature, etc.
  4. Remember, your annotations should not just illustrate.  Instead, think about what Eliot seems to be trying to say in his poem (through this particular line/motif) and how your annotation text develops or adds to or contests the meaning of this line/motif.

This is an opportunity, in some ways, to re-make the poem so that it speaks to your contemporary realities/experience.  Think of it as a kind of creative re-writing of Eliot’s “Waste Land.”

For Thursday (10/13) and Tuesday (10/18)

For Thursday, take a look at Gertrude Stein’s “Sacred Emily.”  There’s really no way to make sense of this poem using our normal ways of reading.  It may be the most avant-garde text we encounter this semester.  I wonder though what would happen if read it as a “heap of broken images” or “isolate flecks”?  What kinds of things do you see in the poem if we read it this way – – as a collage or fragments?  Use (three) annotations to explore this idea.

On Tuesday, we’ll talk more directly about Eliot’s “Waste Land.”  As you finish reading the poem – – think about how many zombies you see.  That is, how many in-between places, things, people, and voices can you find in the poem?  Use (three) annotations to locate zombie moments in the poem.

For Thursday (10/6) and Tuesday (10/11)

For Thursday, let’s start reading Eliot’s “The Waste Land.”  Make three annotations.  However, these will be special annotations: make at least three visual annotations on the first section of the poem – – “The Burial of the Dead.”  (Not sure how to insert an image into an annotation?  See this handy guide.).   These annotations can contain images or videos.  In each case, use a couple of sentences within the annotation to explain why you’ve selected this image or video.  Try to finish these annotations by the weekend.

On Tuesday, we’ll talk about William Carlos Williams’ “To Elsie” and begin our discussion of Eliot’s poem.

For Thursday (9/22) and Tuesday (9/28)

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.”

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.)