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Friday, October 21

October 21, 2016

CNF Workshop: Today: Koscinski and LeRoy. WE held Mckinzie over until Monday. Nice job today in a smaller-than-average workshop!

Remember: Monday by 8 a.m., your fourth-round piece is due. And we’ll start with a reading quiz on the two essays I gave you last week.

Screenwriting Workshop: Today we read an excerpt from Mean Girls (referenced in the reading assignment), and briefly discussed the reading assignment. For next Wednesday, please read through page 88 (chapters 3, 4& 5). There may be a quiz, but either way we’ll definitely be discussing this in class, so it’s in your best interests to read.

On Monday we’ll be doing an activity in class.

Sarah and Sara are due to post on Monday; Ash and Chip are due to post on Wednesday.

Public Speaking: Today we watched five short TED talks, all within the length guidelines you’ll be observing for your midterm and final. They all came from this playlist.

We started with Matt Cutts’ “Try Something New for 30 Days,” which had as its strengths its well-chosen images, its you-centeredness (this is something that benefitted me, and will benefit YOU, the audience, as well), and his post-opening — which was very simple. He just said “The first thing I learned,” which told us two things: that we were transitioning into the body of the talk (it’s what a post-opening does), and that there would be a finite number of bullet points (in fact, there were three).

The second was Terry Moore’s “How To Tie Your Shoes,” which took a simple clickbait-y premise — you’re tying your shoes wrong! — and evidently made it irresistable, judging from the number of people who immediately tried it. The setup wouldn’t work well for us unless you used video; we won’t have different camera angles to see what you’re doing. But the gentle humor and audience-centeredness were both winners.

The next two speeches we watched were super-risky, and the polarized responses we got proved it. Some people loved Damon Horowitz’s decision to act out the inmate character in “Philosophy in Prison,” while some were distracted. And while I think most people agreed about the emotional impact of Stacey Kramer’s “The Best Gift I Ever Survived,” which was basically one long setup for an ending punchline (what’s in the box?) that was, we must admit, very audience-centric, not everyone liked the conclusion reached. Those are high-risk, high-reward gambles. My advice would be not to take them, but I wanted you to see them anyway.

The fifth and final talk was by Derek Sivers, “How to Start a Movement.” Here there are a couple of things worth pointing out: this is how you want to use video, if you use it: it perfectly illustrated his points, entertained viewers, and allowed him to do “play-by-play” as the audience watched. The other thing is that this talk was a great example of the value of being counterintuitive. Rather than deliver another boring talk about leadership, Sivers came up with a new angle: it’s better (and braver) to be the “first follower.”

There’s no assignment for Monday, but expect regular assignments over the next couple of weeks. We’re going to get these speeches written during that time.

BatCat: Please check your calendars: first, for Handmade Arcade (Dec. 3) and for the following Saturday (potential workshop in Millvale).

We will be staying after school next week for marbling – Thursday!

Horror: Began watching Tod Browning’s 1932 classic Freaks, the film that essentially ended his Hollywood career. We’ll finish on Monday and discuss.

Survey: Combined: Bookmakin’ (not the gambling variety).

Thursday, October 20

October 20, 2016

Spongebob: Today we added our final two archetypes, both predominantly female:

11. The Waif (variations: The Princess; The Orphan)
12. The Free Spirit (variations: The Comedienne; The Trailblazer)

The difference between these two archetypes is best measured via Disney princesses (though that’s certainly not the only source of examples). Waifs tend to be old-school Disney: characters like Snow White, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, who are dependent on other characters, male and female, to help them out of their predicaments. Some princesses (Snow White and Cinderalla) are examples of both variations. It is this archetype that Cheetah Girls famously rebuked in this early Noughties hit:

The newer breed of Disney princesses, on the other hand (that is, since 1989’s The Little Mermaid) have tended to be Free Spirits — mostly Trailblazers. They are determined to make their own way, even when it conflicts with the expectations of society. This trailblazing probably reached its peak in Mulan, where the heroine not only shows she’s as tough and smart as any man, but actually saves Imperial China in the process.

(Quick sidebar about the other variation, The Comedienne. The best example is Lucille Ball’s character Lucy Ricardo, who defied convention not by confronting it directly, but by making people laugh. Although Lucille Ball, the actress and behind-the-scenes mover and shaker, certainly was a trailblazing individual. Read about how she got her show made HER WAY sometime. Not many women successfully wielded that much power in the entertainment industry of the 1950s.)

Our earlier descriptions of Jung’s anima and animus would make sense if we viewed the anima (the more feminine, passive, maybe even weaker side of men) as better represented in literature, since most writers have been male. Representation of the animus (the tougher, more analytical side of women) would have taken longer to be represented, since female authors are a fairly recent proposition, at least en masse. (However, this is an advance that has been, I think we could say, internalized by male writers, as well as females. Many of Disney’s proto-feminist princess films have been written by men; even Mulan, which has something like 30 screenwriting/story credits, is the result of a majority of male voices.)

That brings us to our assignment for next Tuesday: reconsidering Twilight, or Ann Perkins from Parks and Rec. Choose one (you can do both, but you have to do one) and answer this question: is Bella, or Ann, a Waif, or a Free Spirit?

To give one example of a more specific line of questioning, is your choice a waif which represents backlash against the preponderance of Free Spirits in our culture, or is she actually a Free Spirit herself? Please use examples from the books, films or TV shows!!

I am requesting a one-page response, hand- or typewritten. Answer the question completely.

Critical Reading: Your filters assignment, Part C (historical filter) was handed back and we briefly went over the different categories of quality/success that you may have fallen into. Generally, these were much better than Part B. Please do see me at your convenience to discuss this assignment if you have any questions.

Your research on Bentham’s panopticon was checked, and then we proceeded to talk about it quite extensively. The last 15 minutes of class you were asked to write a response aligning Bentham’s panopticon with the Foucault reading – what connections can be drawn, and why it might make sense to consider them both simultaneously.

There is no homework for Tuesday. Next week, we will be watching Rear Window, which will serve as the base work for your first paper, which will be assigned shortly. Watching the film more than once – as many times as you can – really will be in your best interests, so if you can find the film elsewhere, you are highly encouraged to watch it before next week and after.

Siren: LAVA rehearsal #1.

Style: In class we discussed the Poe poetry. Here is a picture of the mail:

[I’ll add this as soon as I can!]

For Tuesday: write one solid narrative poem in the style of Poe. Make it creepy/disturbing if you like, since Halloween is just around the corner. You don’t have to, though – your choice. The usual content restrictions apply.

Reading for Writers: Today you got back into your groups to discuss your books a bit more, and then we reorganized into groups that included at least one person from each book assignment. Your objective is to come up with a timeline of events, pulling information about the Glass family from all three books. Nobody finished; you’ll have time in class on Tuesday.

A permission slip was handed out for The Royal Tenenbaums. Please get this signed, one way or another, by Tuesday.

Survey: Poetry: I gave back the scansion quizzes and your metered poems. We talked about counterintuitivity, and brainstormed some examples. This was part of a larger process of trying to generate ideas for poems. We saw three examples, which should help you if you get stuck in the weeks ahead:

  1. Starting with a counterintuitive idea that goes against the received wisdom of the world.
  2. Starting with a tenor, which might be expressed as a question. (The slips you picked from the jar.)
  3. Starting with a striking image, which you wrote down on a notecard, and then attaching a tenor to it later.

Your sonnets are due Tuesday. Follow the guidelines: you can break all the rules later, after you’ve followed them first.

Wednesday, October 19

October 19, 2016

CNF Workshop: Lost half the class to the PSAT, but those folks who stayed did a nice job. We workshopped Kasper; Koscinski, LeRoy and Mckinzie are up Friday. Then we have a reading quiz Monday; your round four piece is due on the blog by 8 a.m. Monday.

Screenwriting Workshop: Today we read the first 34 pages of Stranger Than Fiction. Then I’m not sure what you did!

Most of class was gone to the PSAT or absent. There are copies of this script in the box waiting for you. This one has some interesting interaction with an narrator – definitely worth a read. It may appear that a lot of “rules” are broken here, but it works very well overall.

Public Speaking: Heard your speech openings. Some press folks joined us to offer feedback. Overall, well-done, but remember: moments where you hesitate (as opposed to purposeful pauses to let a thought resonate) are invitations to your audience to clock out.

Friday we’ll share the intro feedback and start talking about how to build these speeches.


Horror: Took a quiz on Pet Sematary, chapters 42-47.

We talked about the Wendigo and its connection with cannibalism among Native American tribes, and added a ninth item to our list of Stuff That Scares Us: Mythical Creatures. Vampires, werewolves, zombies, wendigoes, etc.

One thing they all have in common is that the stories don’t just come from nowhere: these creatures usually have some basis in real events. Sometimes diseases (like hypertrichosis and lycanthropy); sometimes conditions in a certain place (that’d be zombies and the wendigo — read this story about the real-life Wendigo hunter Jack Fiddler – among others); sometimes even real people (like Vlad the Impaler). When they are turned into creatures like those listed above, however…they belong on our list.

Survey: Fiction: Today we did a lot of different things: a quiz, followed by adding distance and immediacy to your notes (officially). We then talked briefly about POV analysis, and how you’re going to start writing these as paragraphs instead of filling out worksheets. Here are the relevant documents: fiction-10-19-16-pov-analysis-paragraph-samples fiction-10-19-16-prompt-7-pov-analysis-paragraph

We also talked about your next big writing assignment, which can be found here: fiction-10-19-16-assignment-2-flash-fiction.

Here’s a list of what’s due, and when:

Monday, Oct. 24: Prompt 7 is due

Monday, Oct. 31: Assignment #2 is due

Wednesday, Nov. 2: Review for midterm

Friday, Nov. 4: Midterm

Tuesday, October 18

October 18, 2016

SpongeBob: Our two superhero teams divided up and we analyzed the archetypes in each. I thought it went well, overall: remember that everyone is learning how to use these archetypes, so confusion over an archetype could be the result of 1) a layered archetype, 2) an imperfectly-rendered archetype, or just 3) something someone said in the “personal interview” part of this that could have sent you in the wrong direction. Part of learning how to use archetypes is knowing the stuff to NOT use in your character’s backstory. No fictional character is as complete and fully-rounded as a human being — nor, I don’t think, should they be.

We have two more archetypes to add Thursday, and that will complete our list. Tuesday will involve practicing for Thursday’s midterm film — and then, of course, your midterm! More details Thursday.

Critical Reading: Today we discussed the last half of the Foucault reading. Here is a picture of the board:

[I’ll add it as soon as I can]

Your homework for Thursday is to research Jeremy Bentham’s panopticon. Take notes (typed or written; pulling up a website is not enough); these will be checked for points.

Siren: A whole bunch of October stuff, leading up to publication next week. Remember: LAVA reading practice during 2B Thursday.

Style: Today many of you read your animal essays. VERY nice readings today, so thank you. I’m looking forward to reading them all.

The style for this week is poetry by Poe. Love it, hate it, that’s what it is. Take notes for Thursday, as usual.

Reading for Writers: Today you all took quizzes on your respective Salinger books. The rest of the time was spent with the others that read the same book as you, discussing a range of issues pertaining to the books. More of this will happen on Thursday, but in perhaps a different way.

No new homework, but if you didn’t actually do all of the reading, it would be a super idea to catch up!

Survey: Poetry: Today you turned in your metrical poems. Then we quickly ran through stanza lengths (they’re in the book, but not all in one place, like this):

Two-line stanza: couplet

Three-line stanza: tercet

Four-line stanza: quatrain

Five-line stanza: cinquain

Six-line stanza: sestet

Seventh-line stanza: septet

Eight-line stanza: octave

Then we talked about sonnets and the rhyme royal, two types of formal poetry. (By “formal,” we just mean that they have a fixed form — not that they’re “fancy.”) Here is the handout survey-of-forms-formal-poetry-sonnet-and-rhyme-royal-oct-17-2016 which you should keep and consider part of your textbook (albeit a part you can write on).

Your assignment for Tuesday is to write either a sonnet or a rhyme royal. If it’s a sonnet, English or Italian, it doesn’t have to rhyme, but it has to have a shift, and (of course) have 14 lines. If it’s a rhyme royal, it has to follow the ababbcc rhyme scheme. Both, it should go without saying, need an identifiable tenor and vehicle.


Monday, October 17

October 17, 2016

CNF Workshop: Today: Pilch and Hulick. New plan for Wednesday: just Kasper (I gave out the hard copies today), because of the PSAT.

That moves Koscinski and LeRoy to Friday, along with Mckinzie. That will finish Round 3.

Your fourth round essay is due on the blog Monday by 8 a.m. If you want a prompt, here it is:

  • Similar to Zadie Smith’s “Find Your Beach,” I want you to center your essay around an object you see every day, or at least on a regular basis. It CANNOT be an object in your home, or one that belongs to you or someone in your family. Ideally, it will be something you have little or no past history with. It should be an object — not necessarily a billboard; not necessarily something with writing on it — that you can invest with some significance and explore more deeply, as Smith did with the billboard in her essay. Is there a sign you pass every day that you’ve never thought about before, and deserves further reflection? Maybe there’s a neighborhood landmark — an old house, a vacant lot, even a tree — that you could invest with some imagination. What does this object say or suggest? What might it mean in the larger scheme of things?

Speaking of reading packets, I gave out a new one today with two essays. There’ll be a quiz next Monday.

Screenwriting Workshop: Today we finished round 1! As I mentioned at the end of class, this was perhaps the best first round out I’ve ever seen, both in terms of quality of work and of comments/annotation completion and attendance. THANK YOU. Let’s do it again. Soon. Sarah and Sara are due to post next Monday, and will be workshopped next Friday.

For this Friday – please read the introduction, chapter 1, and chapter 2 of Syd Field (books were handed out in class). We’ll be discussing – there might be a quiz, just to make sure that you did the reading. No homework for Wednesday (PSATs are happening; attendance will be spotty).

Public Speaking: Today you practiced your speech openers, which you will deliver (with your notecards, but no podium) on Wednesday.

I gave back scoresheets, with your grades on the stories — everyone did pretty well — and feedback from your peers, in this class, and from the Press folks. There are quite a few numbers, so how should you interpret them? A couple of suggestions:

  • I think if you scored 3 or more on the “I am interested in hearing this talk” score, from both this class and the Press, that is probably a sign that you’ve chosen a decent subject, so I’d proceed.
  • I think if you scored 3 or more from at least one group, you should look at the other numbers and see what they suggest. For example, say you scored less than 3 with our class. You should look first at the reaction to your story. Did it seem to make people more interested in hearing your talk? (You can judge this by looking at the story score — I’d say around a 1.5 shows your story changed some minds — and at the number of people who gave your story a 1, indicating that their minds WERE changed. That number is in parenthesis; five or six or more is a good suggestion that your story really helped.)
  • I think if you scored less than 3 with BOTH groups, you should look first at your tagline. Did a lot of people say they didn’t understand it? If so, that indicates a problem. If the comments indicate that people are getting the wrong idea about your talk from the tagline, that also indicates a revision is in order.
  • I think just about everyone needs to tweak their tagline, because they could all stand some improvement. Capturing a whole talk in one catchy line is really difficult!
  • I think you shouldn’t change your topic unless you’ve decided that YOU just don’t want to do it, or that you have found something that interests you more. Don’t let other people talk you out of something you really want to do.

We’ll see how these presentations go Wednesday, and then plan our next move.

BatCat: Today we discussed plans for Handmade Arcade. We’ll be launching into assembly line mode soon, so buckle up.🙂

Horror: Today we:

  • finished watching the Pennhurst episode from the History Channel.
  • talked a little more about eugenics. Don’t forget that eugenics was a theory advanced by a good number of “respectable” people in both Europe and America in the first half of the 20th century. That theory involved things like forced sterilizations of some “undesirables” — specifically, people with physical or mental infirmities, but also minorities in some cases — and the encouragement of birth control (including abortion) to stop these undesirables from reproducing.
  • posed this question: almost everyone now acknowledges that eugenics is discredited. But how different is it, really, from things that are widely condoned now, like trying to create “designer babies” and the abortion of babies with birth defects? Maybe less than we’d like to believe, in our enlightened modern world.
  • added an item to our list of “Stuff That Scares Us”: Playing God. The terms “God syndrome” and “God complex” were suggested as alternatives, and both have some merit. But I like “playing God” because of the childlike aspect of it: it suggests that, as advanced as we may think ourselves, we’re really just playing in the cosmic sandbox. And when we forget that, horror is often the result. (You could make the case that all horror involves some “playing God,” in the sense that this might be another term for hubris. But I think “playing God” suggests a more willful boundary crossing, like that of mad scientist types — as opposed to those who do it carelessly.)
  • listened to this podcast about the science behind Pittsburgh’s ScareHouse. If you missed it, listen in: it only takes about 15 minutes, and I think it’s pretty cool that a well-known local place employs a sociologist to study the effect of what scares people. Kind of like us! You probably heard a couple of things that match up with our list. (There are also some interesting links at the bottom to other scare-related broadcasts.)

Remember: reading quiz Wednesday on chapters 42-47 from Pet Sematary.

Middle School Rotation: Used our advanced mathematics skills to figure out that you guys spend an average of two hours being transported to and from school daily — which figures out to 90 full, 24-hour days over a six-year high school career. #Respect!

Middle School Lit Arts Enrichment: Quiz on chapters 10-15 of Neverwhere. We talked about two key points: that Richard does change, noticeably (Hunter is the one who notices) after he successfully passes his ordeal. He becomes more mature, more of a man. This is an old, old idea, but it has animated countless works of literature. (And obviously, it can apply to female characters as well.)

The second point is that Islington turns out to be a traitor. This is a classic example of the Shapeshifter archetype, and we discussed, briefly, some other examples: Scar, Ursula, Snape, etc. This archetype is used again and again: the reason is not just because it can provide a huge surprise (usually a good thing), but because it plays into one of our greatest fears: being betrayed, and left exposed and looking foolish (or worse). Most of us have experienced this. Authors exploit it because it is a universal fear that we never really outgrow.

We went outside to take a quick grammar/spelling quiz. The highest score wins a valuable prize next week. This is going to become a regular feature of this class, because many of you need it badly — so, positively reframed, it means you’ll have plenty of chances to win a prize! Hooray!

Survey: Fiction: Today we went over distance. If you were absent, definitely get notes from a classmate! There were a lot.

Your homework for Wednesday is to finish the analysis sheets for all four of the flash fiction pieces. They will be collected and graded.

Friday, October 14

October 14, 2016

CNF Workshop: Today we workshopped Kennedy, Adamson and McDanel. Good job today doing more of the work of workshop.

For Monday: Pilch and Hulick. You will be getting a new reading packet.

For Wednesday: Koscinski and LeRoy

For Friday: Mckinzie and Kasper.

For Monday, Oct. 24: Fourth round essays due on the blog by 8 a.m. Reading quiz.

Screenwriting Workshop: Today we workshopped Sara and Haley. Henry and Layla are for Monday.

Here are the due dates for Round 2:

Due Monday, Oct. 24: Sarah, Sara (Workshop date: Friday, Oct. 28)

Due Wednesday, Oct. 26: Chip, Ash (Workshop date: Monday, Oct. 31)

Due Monday, Oct. 31: Layla, Cassidy (Workshop date: Friday, Nov. 4)

Due Wednesday, Nov. 2: Alexa, Olivia (Workshop date: Monday, Nov. 7)

Due Monday, Nov. 7: Haley, Henry (Workshop date: Monday, Nov. 14)

Due Wednesday, Nov. 9: Rachel, Joanie (Workshop date: Wednesday, Nov. 16)

Due Monday, Nov. 14: Spencer, Payton (Workshop date: Friday, Nov. 18)

To recap: we’re doing two workshop days a week, to accommodate the length of this round. When you post to the website, please make a note of how you want to handle reading your piece in class (are we reading the whole thing, or an excerpt – and if an excerpt, what part?).

Wednesdays will be special topic days – we’ll be reading scripts, watching things, and doing related activities. Wednesdays will also be overflow days, in case we run out of time for discussion on other days.

Questions? Let me know.

Public Speaking: Today we finished your stories.

Then we watched this TED Talk by Nigel Marsh:

It’s a modest, but very effective talk: There are multiple reasons for watching, but we focused on two:

1. It has great examples of the power of silence. Watch how he avoids filler sounds and simply pauses after making each point, to let the idea land. You have to be confident to do this — but if you can, it will make a huge difference in your speaking.

2. It also has a very effective opening, in which Marsh does four smart things in the first minute:

  • He begins by involving the audience, asking them a question.
  • He then uses a startling statement that seems to insult his audience. (But not really – it also makes them laugh.)
  • He explains — very briefly — the “source” of the statement, St. Benedict.
  • And then he turns the focus back on himself. In other words, he’s saying, I’m the real idiot here.

We’ll come back to this speech, because it offers a nice template, potentially, for your own speeches. But for Monday:

  • Your assignment is to write down, on a note card, a maximum one-minute opening for your speech. It could be a reworking of your story. It could be something brand-new. But it DOES have to be written down, word-for-word, and it CANNOT last more than one minute. I will collect these at the start of class.

Also Monday, I will be giving you your feedback sheets for the taglines and stories. I solicited some additional input for you today, which I found interesting, and which you may find helpful.

BatCat: Frostburg is tomorrow (

Please make sure that you read the new submission labeled “all read” by Monday. There are some others that ought to also be looked at.

Horror: Today we continued our discussion of haunted places (item #7 on our list of Stuff That Scares Us) by watching two things:

  1. A Twilight Zone episode from 1963, “A Young Man’s Fancy,” which explores a potentially novel idea: a newly-married man returns, with his new wife, to his old house, which they’re planning to sell. Until a year ago, when she died, the man’s mother lived here, and the man begins to have second thoughts about selling the house — which seems to take on a mind of its own. Or is it the mind of the dead, domineering mother? No, it turns out that it’s the mind of the man himself — who wants to return to his boyhood. But clearly, the boundary crossing is when they return to the old house. They should never have come back, and let the house take control.
  2. This History Channel documentary, “Lost Souls of Pennhurst,” about an asylum outside Philadelphia that appears haunted by spirits of its past residents:

In this documentary, you heard the term eugenics used, and some of you already knew that this was a movement that promoted improving the human race by “selective breeding” to remove “undesirables.” This took on many ugly forms in the first half of the 20th century — the Nazis, obviously, approved — but 100 years ago this month, Margaret Sanger founded Planned Parenthood, opening the first birth control clinic in the United States. Sanger, whom many people lionize, was also a eugenics supporter. Here’s a brand-new piece about her:

What Margaret Sanger Really Said About Eugenics and Race

Read for yourself and decide.

Remember: Pet Sematary quiz on Wednesday — chapters 42-47.

Middle School Rotation: Getting to know you day. We’ll talk more Monday about the cards you filled out.

Survey: Fiction: Today I handed back your POV analysis sheets from Wednesday (analysis of The Jilting of Granny Weatherall + 1 additional story) and we discussed them briefly. You took notes on audience and distance (if you were absent, get these from a friend).

Your homework for Monday is to complete the first part of the POV analysis sheet for each of the four pieces of flash fiction that you were to read for today. I will be checking these for completion. Here is the sheet if anyone needs an additional copy: fiction-10-5-16-pov-analysis-sheet.

On Monday, we will talk more about distance. See you then.

Thursday, October 13

October 13, 2016

Spongebob: Today we reviewed your homework — nice job, everyone!

Then we talked about the archetypes you felt were missing from our list, which is nearly complete. A couple I agree are missing (and we’ll be getting to them soon); a couple I think we’ve covered; and a couple seem to me like single-purpose characters.

I gave you a superhero creation assignment for Tuesday. Remember: you need to fill out the form I gave you, and bring in some item that represents your hero (even just a logo). If you don’t fill out the form and bring in your item, you become the enemy of the gathered superheroes and will be dealt with accordingly.

Critical Reading: Today we continued our discussion of Foucault and related ideas. Everyone was present, so I’m not going to recap it all here.

Please look over the second half of the reading assignment for next Tuesday (where Foucault starts to break things down in a numbered list) – this is what we’ll be going over.

Also, your filters assignment (part c) was due today. If you didn’t hand it in for some reason, you’ll want to do that ASAP.

Siren: Did a timed AP Style and lead-writing activity, which is gonna become a weekly thing for us. We’ll get to your leads on Tuesday.

Style: Today: notes on the essays featuring animals. For Tuesday, please write a personal essay of your own – it does not need to be in the specific style of one of these authors (since it will have to be a personal essay), but you can think about things like distance, moment/riff balance, and the way the animal is used in the narrative. Make this one good!

Reading for Writers: Country building, continued. You handed in Part C at the end of class.

Have your assigned Salinger book read for Tuesday.

Survey: Poetry: Scansion quiz. Then we talked about pages 91-94 in your book: five ways to mute meter. They are:

  1. Bridging: having a word “bridge” two metrical feet, as in this line: I never ever went to town. “Never” and “ever” bridge two feet, which you can see if you scan the line.
  2. Substitution: substituting, say, a trochaic word in an iambic line. Like this: I never ever saw running. The line is iambic, but that last word — “running” — is trochaic, so it shuffles the pattern a bit.
  3. Enjambment: Instead of end-stopping, which — remember — emphasizes meter.
  4. Alternating metrical line lengths: As in the ballad, which alternates lines of iambic tetrameter, and iambic trimeter. Listen: 
  5.  Don’t rhyme! Rhyme and meter tend to accentuate one another. So dropping rhyme can help mute the effect of meter. Shakespeare did this all the time by writing his plays in blank verse (unrhymed iambic pentameter; yes, this will be a guaranteed test question). He used iambic pentameter because it’s the foot and line length that most closely approximates human speech.

Remember your poem assignment for Tuesday.

a. You have to write no less than six and no more than eight lines.

b. You choose the foot and line length, which I want you to identify. Keep it consistent.

c. It goes without saying that there needs to be a tenor and vehicle.

d. Rhyme is optional.

e. Hand- or typewritten is fine, but please, no emails.