Backstory Driving into work I was listening to NPR and they were interviewing Nikki Giovani a poet from Virginia Tech. In high school I was one of those people who really suffered reading the The Red Wheelbarrow and other non-rhyming poems. They irritated me in the same way people seem to be annoyed by White Paintings or 4’33”. In any case, in college I took lots of English classes. One of those classes was on poetry with Donna Hickey. The class selection was driven more by fitting my schedule and a vague notion that I might minor in English rather than any real interest in poetry. The first day of class she had everyone list their favorite poets. I don’t recall what people chose but I remember feeling like my choices of Shel Silverstein and Dr. Suess was not of the same category. In any case, I had a great deal of fun with the course and using poems as games and puzzles to think around and through. I later took a graduate course with Dr. Hickey1 in poetry and made my first digital liberal arts website around 2001 or 2002. It focused on breaking down various Richard Hugo poems and creating attempts at multimedia experiences.2 That stuff is all long gone from the UR website. I might have backup […]
He stood so still while the world moved on around him. Just a little animated gif made from two shots I took walking past this gentleman staring so intently at his phone. He didn’t move a bit but because I was walking the shot shifted some allowing me to animate it and give you this 3D feel. I know I’ve seen this before but my memory of the name for it is hazy. It did lead me to stereoscopy, stereo photography and animated stereograms so sometimes a bad memory leads to good things. And it turns out at least one person would call this a stereoscopic animated gif. I also figured this was a #ds106 assignment and was not disappointed. Since this was the first #ds106 assignment I’ve done in a long while, I threw in a tutorial as a form of tithing. I do all of this of my own free will and in spite of Jim Groom’s personality rather than because of it.
I was inspired by Jason Coats’ #vizpoem students sharing poetry images on Twitter (see the whole course here) and decided to take a stab at an old favorite – Wallace Stevens Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird. Source files for the crow and mountains.
The mission is “Truth” through omission. Can you get at the underlying truth of a historical document through blackout poetry? Blackout poetry has been fairly popular for a while1 but I haven’t seen any done on historical documents with the intent to get at a deeper, if fairly melodramatic, “truth”. I decided to use The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. It makes for a pretty interesting way to interact with a dry document and requires a pretty close, and repeated, reading. I like the idea of redaction being a way to expose, rather than hide, things the government would rather not have said. The text from above . . . The United States of America in violation of the principles of the of the Charter of the United Nations and of international law, have deliberately and repeatedly attacked the Communist regime in North Vietnam the United States has territorial, military, political ambitions in that area desires the Congress approves the United States regards the Constitution its obligations reasonable assured except that it may be terminated earlier by concurring resolution of the Congress. 1 It appears Austin Kleon invented the idea in 2010 which seems crazy.
As an English or foreign language teacher I’d be all over the “small people” quote by BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg. It’s not going to be useful much longer so act now. Questions: Should this comment make people mad? What did he mean? What should he have said? It’s a beautiful entry to arguing about word choice, synonyms and nuance. In this case, one word really mattered quite a bit. It might be fun things like have students reword famous quotes/sayings using synonyms to make them offensive or otherwise rob them of power. “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” becomes “A chopped up house, will fall down.” Minnesota’s “Land of 10,000 lakes” becomes “Our state has a lot of standing water” After you get them written, you could have them post them in some way and students could try to figure out what the original quote was. Another bonus was I found that I could search MSNBC video by certain keywords- in this case, small people. It highlights those words in a transcript and shows the points in the time line where the words occur with colored dots for the video. A really nice way to quickly get where you want.
My favorite kind of edtech use- free, quick and slightly odd1. The Weird Book Room is, obviously, a collection of really odd book titles and covers2 This is prime fodder for all kinds of entertaining creative writing activities. Things I would want to try- Show the students three or four covers/titles. Their task is to pick one3 and write a Amazon style summary of the book totally based off the odd title and cover. The focus here would be on style, looking at how these reviews generate interest and what structural components they normally contain. Instead of a summary write a review of the book as if you’ve read it. Give it 1 or 5 starts and write your review accordingly. I’d put a heavy slant on opinion and bias on this one, encouraging students to put themselves in personality roles with strong opinions and assuming that voice. Use the titles in poetry. Students could just use the title as the first line, or they have to use X number of words from the provided titles. Lots of options. If you had the time, students could write the book or at least a pitch for the book. Have them generate a character list, plot summary, etc. As a frustrated art teacher, I’d give the titles and have students create the […]
Picture CC from DuneChaser Four people got to this blog today searching for “wolverine poems.” I hate to leave people disappointed. I’m not sure which wolverine they’re looking for so I’m covering my bases. Wolverine: The Haiku Wolverine is the man with adamantium bones and sharp claws. Wolverine: The Animal Carcajou, skunk bear, you glutton! I call you out as a big weasel. This did inspire me but it also got me thinking about how many fun sources for poetry/writing prompts that are out there just begging to be used. I’d love to do things with Google Trends. Take today’s (at around 9-10 PM Eastern) trending topics- No. 1 with a bullet is “applebees menu1.” I would also be forced to use #44 “goonies 2” Then it’s on to #64 “agent cody banks” and finish it off with #47 “19 pound indonesian baby” and #48 “sycophants definition.” I consulted the Applebee’s menu yet again. It had answers, but not the ones I wanted. I was hungry . . . for knowledge. “Is Goonies 2 an actual possibility? Am I getting my hopes up for an inevitable disappointment?” I wondered again. My mind tends to drift when I am stressed. I tried to relax. I knew Agent Cody Banks was on the case. I had no way of knowing that a […]
I’ve been interested in using this Garfield Minus Garfield site for a while. Here are a few ways I might use it. Instant creative writing prompt- Write a love poem to a wolverine. Or write a love poem from the perspective of a wolverine. Or simply write a love poem using the word “wolverine” at least once1 The image matters. Having images like this always changed the quality and engagement I got from my students. And we have a vocabulary exercise, in this case, for the word consume. Depending on where the student is at, they could match words to provided comics, find their own comics matches etc. I’d probably have them find their own matching comic and create a sentence along the lines of “Though Jon consumed the socks, the meal did not quench the fiery passion in his heart.” If you feel like really making your students work, you might white out all the words and have them use the comic of your choice to explain something complicated or leave the words in and ask them to provide the context that will make it make sense. For instance- this comic re-worded could become . . . a look at King George III’s thoughts on the American colonies2. Part of the assignment would be explaining why your comic makes […]