Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Haiku part deux and the Art of Revision

Warmup: Haiku writing on the theme of Saturday

1. We shared some haiku out loud and talked about how to cut out unnecessary words to leave just the good stuff.

2. The class watched their section's junk band performances, received a CD with the videos, and were handed back their evaluations with grades for the project. The videos require Quicktime to be viewed, which can be downloaded in a few minutes from the Apple website. Instructions are on the README files on each disc.

3. Revision time! Students got their poems back and partnered up for rewriting. Some tips:
  • Cliches: search and destroy! Replace overused, tired or common phrases with fresh new ones
  • Accidental repetition: find and rephrase. Pretty often, poetry students will get caught up just getting words on the page and they'll end up repeating words or phrases that, while accurate, could be expressed more vividly. Repetition that you use on purpose to emphasize an idea is okay. Good repetition: "Oh captain, my captain!" Dull repetition: "The wind blows in my face. My hair was blown back by the wind. The wind blew."
  • Abstract words and phrases: figure out if you can express that idea more precisely and beautifully by using a concrete description. "Fun" is abstract. "the electricity that shoots up my spine at the very top of the roller coaster" is concrete. Abstract words are often too general to express exactly what you mean, so get specific. Show, don't tell!
  • Awkward rhyme: trash it. If trying to fit a rhyme scheme made you choose a word you don't really mean, get rid of it.
No homework tonight. We'll rewrite more tomorrow and get started on a final poetry project due Friday.

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