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Tuesday, September 22

September 22, 2015

Violence: Today we heard Ted Hughes reading “Pike,” and we discussed the ways in which it fits into our ongoing discussion about natural violence. A giant Pike ! 135 cm  Salto Lake in Italia: Big Fish, 135Cm Pike, Catch Northern, Big Pike, Giant Pike, Awesome Fish, Northern Pike, Fish Big, Http Www Fishinglondon Co Uk

It is hubristic in a sense: the author brings back some small pike to keep in a tank, despite realizing they are “killers from the egg.” Then he goes out in a boat and the tables are turned. He has gone from being an observer to being observed by the much larger pike, and there’s a clear sense of threat, although no violence — yet.

We noted that we’ve been looking at three basic types of nature poems:

  1. Man against Nature (Man is the aggressor; “Nutting”)
  2. Nature against Nature (Man is merely an observer of natural violence; “The Stoat,” “Pike”)
  3. Nature against Man (Nature is the aggressor; “The Wind”)

You might argue that the two flood poems, especially “A Voice From Death,” belong in categories 1 and 3.

We also noted that writers (including the creators of classical mythology) have a tendency to personalize Nature. Why? Not only because it makes Nature understandable, but because it makes Man’s ongoing struggle against Nature seem like a fair(er) fight. (It isn’t.)

Then we watched the first 15-20 minutes of Deliverance, the 1973 film adaptation of James Dickey’s novel about four “city slickers” who go on a canoeing trip before the river is dammed up. I also gave you a short excerpt from later in the book.

For Thursday, I want you to read the excerpt, and think about how the film clip and excerpt fit into our discussion about natural violence. Please write a one-paragraph response (with MLA header) for Thursday.

If you were absent, please see me to get a copy of the movie and the excerpt.

Radio: Today we started off by reporting weekly listening, then took the rest of the class to talk about the “reading on the air” chapter that was assigned for last Tuesday (technically) and then today. Remember, take some of the things presented in this chapter to heart – what works for you might be different from your friend, so don’t think that there’s ONLY one right way to approach this stuff. That said, if you disregard all of the information in this chapter, you are certainly doing yourself a disservice.

For the next 10 weeks we’re doing something in addition to regular weekly listening – each week a different member of the class will bring an audio clip (shoot for about 5 minutes) to share with the class. The clip you bring in should be a part of a podcast or show that you’ve listened to – it can be something you find particularly well done, or something you think isn’t effective. It be an example of a technique that you admire (or don’t), or an example of something you can’t figure out (but want to). It could be a story you think was written especially well for the form, or a story you think is “performed” well (or not). Etc. There are lots of different ways you could approach choosing a segment. You can plug the speakers in directly to your device, or I can find/play the segment if it’s on Stitcher. Your choice.

Siren: Returning staff talked about the following:

  1. Editorializing, and why we shouldn’t do it.
  2. Ending stories with quotes whenever possible.
  3. How to get good quotes so you can end your piece with a good one!
  4. The expectation for October: two bylined pieces from each returning staff member.
  5. Our editorial policy: do we have one? Should we have one? What is it, if we do?

Then we talked about everybody’s favorite: the other types of leads. Roundup, Wordplay, Scene-Setter, Anecdotal, Blind, Direct Address and Startling Statement (plus Question and Quote; those are OK to use in certain situations, despite what the author suggests). It’s less important to know them by name than to know HOW to use them, but it’s not unimportant. (We have to call things by their names, as big a pain as that can be 🙂

Style: Today Cecilia read her story about going to the dentist, and the rest of you handed in your Rakoff-based pieces.

The style for this week is BLAST (even though it shouldn’t be – my fault, looked at the wrong list). It’s poetry, or at least poetry-related. You’ll probably/definitely want to read the introductory paragraphs for greater context (or maybe even do some outside research). Notes are due on Thursday, as always.

Middle School:

Survey: Poetry: We took a quiz on Chapters 1, 3 and 4. Then we read the Dylan Thomas poem “Fern Hill” (it’s in your textbook on page 21) and talked about how the sound of the poem helps dictate the mood.

We defined two terms that aren’t (I think) in your textbook: euphony (a combination of sounds pleasing to the ear) and cacophony (a combination of harsh, grating or discordant sounds), and described letters that produce both effects.

I asked you to read Chapter 5 for Wednesday, paying special attention to the following terms: alliteration, assonance, consonance and onomatopoeia; true, slant and eye rhyme; and enjambment and end-stopping.

Survey: Fiction: Today you started off by taking a quiz on Steinbeck’s The Chrysanthemums and we had a conversation about the story and what it all added up to. Keep up the good work!

We added a few more terms to your notebooks: setting, atmosphere, mood, and foreshadowing. The rest of this break-less (sorry) class was spent working on Prompt 4 (Fiction 9.21.15 – Prompt 4, setting). We did Part A in class and discussed it, then went outside to do Part B. If you finished, great – no homework. If you need to do a little more on Part B, please have it done for Wednesday. We will likely be sharing some of these in class! No coercion, but hopefully some of you will be willing to share.

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