English 207: Studies in Poetry                                  

Dr. Morillo

Creative Project Assignment


Graded, 15% of Final Grade

All Sonnets or Projects and Write-ups of them are due in class, Monday, October 31.

As part of the work and grade, you will either read your poem to the class or briefly talk about your project

You will present your completed assignment on either this Monday or on Wednesday, November 2, depending on what group I put you in.


Write a Sonnet

 You will write a sonnet, and a brief prose self-evaluation of it. That is, you will write about your own poem, in prose, by explaining what you tried to accomplish, and evaluating how well you think you did with the set of challenges posed by the sonnet.  

Part One, the Sonnet Itself:
Subject matter: you may write your sonnet about any topic you wish, and in any tone
Sonnet Type: Shakespearean/English (4-4-4-2) or Petrarchan/Italian (8-6)
length: 14 lines
rhyme: alternating, except for the final couplet if you chose the Shakespearean form
meter:  baseline meter of iambic pentameter ( 5 iambic feet in each line = 10 syllables in each line); "baseline" means the majority of feet are iambs, but not every one must be, as you've seen with other good sonnets
figurative language: try to use  metaphor and/or simile

Part Two, Prose Explanation and Evaluation:

length: 1-2 pages
Those challenges posed by any sonnet include: fitting the subject into only 14 lines; maintaining a baseline meter of consistent iambic pentameter; creating an alternating rhyme scheme; and having it say something interesting in language that is not simply prose. So I can see what you aimed to do in your poem, explain that goal first, and then evaluate how well you achieved that goal.  Aim for as clear expository prose in writing about your own work as when writing about poems in the book.

Competed assignment for option one is therefore 1 page for the poem, and 1-2 for the explanation & self-critique
, plus reading your sonnet aloud to class.

This assignment asks you to create something that is not a written argument on paper, but that nevertheless shows a thoughtful and original response to poetry.

You will create a response to one published sonnet of your choice, either in the Seagull Reader or found elsewhere.

Instead of being a written argument, however, your response will be a creative work. Critics these days call this working across media an exercise in remediation. You may respond with a poem of your own, a story, a drawing, a painting, music, animation, sculpture, programming, anything that allows you to respond to art with creative thinking and making. Try to draw on a particular skill you have that you feel you do well and would like to practice. Think of how you might employ any strength or interest of yours from academic fields beyond literature (e.g. history, psychology, sociology, communications, etc.), from the fine arts, from design and engineering. 
You might think of the project as a kind of metaphor, because, as scholar and philosopher George Lakoff puts it, “metaphor is principally a way of conceiving of one thing in terms of another, and its primary function is understanding” (Metaphors We Live By 36). You are thus coming up with something creative to bring together with a poem (or poems) as a way to show your understanding, and in order to see what the new and perhaps strange conjunction of two kinds of works brought together creates for others.  Your muse can be someone else’s creation.

If you pick a poem not on the syllabus or in Seagull be sure to get me a copy of it along with your project about it.
What you will turn in must include a 1-2 page written summary of why you chose the project and what you aimed to show with it. The form of the rest of the project will be up to you.

The project might be in any of these media: creative writing (fiction, poem, play, comic strip); web page(s), power-point files, programs, animation(s), film, video, visual art, music, 3-D model, clothing design. I have seen good ones in each of these forms.

If you have any questions about your choice of project, be sure to ask me via email or in person.

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