The point of poetry

From Kenneth Koch and Kate Farrell’s Sleeping on the Wing:

Suppose you want to get an experience into words so that it is permanently there, as it would be in a painting—so that every time you read what you wrote, you reexperienced it. Suppose you want to say something so that it is right and beautiful—the way music is right and beautiful—even though you may not understand exactly why. Or suppose words excite you—the way stone excites a sculptor—and inspire you to use them in a new way. And that for these or other reasons you like writing because of the way it makes you think or because of what it helps you to understand. These are some of the reasons poets write poetry.


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412r final exam Fall 17

The final exam is worth twenty-five points.

For the final, read your secondary text as a fiction writing textbook. You picked your secondary text early during this semester.

Identify a fiction writing technique taught by the text. Your identification should be no longer than 500 words. When you write, be specific. Quote the text to support your assertions about it.

An example of your use of the technique you find in your secondary textbook is also required, but has no word limit. Your use of the knowledge you find should not take the form of a hypothetical consideration of how you might use the technique or be a quotation from your work. It should be an actual fictional fragment written for the exam. It should exemplify the fiction writing technique you identify.

The final is due on December 14th at 12:50 pm. I will stop collecting the exam after it is due. Turn the exam in by emailing it to me before it is due, or attending, writing, and emailing the exam in person on the 14th beginning at 11:00 am.

If you have questions, please email me.

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2250 final exam Fall 17

This take-home final exam is worth twenty-five points. It is due by the end of the final exam period on December 12 from 9:00-10:50 am. The late paper policy as described by the syllabus applies to the final exam. Turn the exam in by emailing it to me before it is due or by attending and writing the exam in person on December 12th. When you email the exam, include “English 2250” and your name in the subject line.

Using the attached examples, write a brief essay in which you read the short story as a textbook on fiction writing and read the poem as a textbook on writing poetry. Quote the story or poem to support your assertions about it. Focus on craft, not theme. You may use David Starkey’s Creative Writing and any notes you’ve taken as resources while writing the exam. You essay should be between two and five double-spaced pages.

After you write your essay, draft a prose poem that uses techniques you’ve identified from both fiction and poetry writing. The prose poem has no length requirement, but should meet the requirements of its form. Feel free to review those requirements as they are found in our textbook.

Answer at least the following questions as your write about this story:

  • What did you learn about characterization from the story?
  • Describe power shifts that lead toward the crisis moment.
  • Which fiction writing technique was best exemplified in the story? Why?
  • How might you apply a technique exemplified by the story in your own work?
  • What technique does the story inspire you to avoid? Why?

Answer at least the following questions as you write about this poem:

  • How are images in the poem created?
  • What does figurative language add to the poem?
  • Which poetry writing technique was best exemplified in the poem? Why?
  • How might you apply a technique exemplified by the poem in your own work?
  • What technique does the poem inspire you to avoid? Why?

Don’t forget to draft your prose poem.

If you have questions about this exam, please email me.


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2010 final exam Fall 17

This final exam is worth twenty-five points.

As we’ve discussed during the semester, the exam consists of you sending your final proposal in a business letter format to your audience.

To demonstrate that you have sent it, either CC or BCC me on an email to your audience, or have me watch you put a hard copy into an addressed, stamped envelope. Once the envelope is sealed, I’ll put it in the mail for you.

The late paper policy, as written on the syllabus, applies to the final exam. Turn the exam in on time by demonstrating you’ve sent it before the end of the final exam period which corresponds to your section number on the 12th of December. The exam times are listed at the end of this post. As long as I’m CC’ed, emailing the final exam demonstrates that you’ve sent it.

I will be in my office (CB 407 F) during the final exam period if you need to visit with me in person.

If you have questions about any of this, please contact me.


Final Exams:

2010 044 12 Dec 1pm – 2:50pm

2010 049 12 Dec 3pm – 4:50pm


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Characterization and work

This exercise has its roots in Benjamin Percy’s excellent Thrill Me: Essays on Fiction, specifically the “Get a Job” chapter.

Characterize by writing about the character’s job. Address at least the following prompts:

  • How did the character get the job?
  • How does the setting/dress of the character change as a result of it?
  • Describe the character’s relationships with at least three people at work.
  • Describe/contrast these relationships with at least three people not at work.
  • How does the job change/shape/impact the non-job relationships?
  • Given this job, what point of view makes sense? How is the character likely to see the world?
  • List three metaphors this character would use.
  • What new language/jargon/jokes does the character learn as a result of the job?
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2010 Proposal example

In a small group, read and grade this APA-style example proposal. Use our criteria. Note any problems you see for our later discussion.

Emily Hanna

Rethinking Recycling: Why Reusing Needs to Be User Friendly

Many people hold on to the belief that recycling is unnecessary, and even among those who believe in reducing waste, some find recycling to be inconvenient. Facilities do not always exist to handle certain materials (such as packaging and batteries), and some towns require residents to go through elaborate sorting processes or transport their recycling to a central location, all of which can seem like extra tasks in a busy world. But recycling is becoming increasingly important. According to Zellar (2008), in an article for National Geographic entitled “Recycling: The Big Picture,” “Every shrink – wrapped toy or tool or medical device we buy bears the stamp of its energy – intensive history . . . . A product’s true cost includes greenhouse gases emitted in its creation as well as use, and pollutants that cause acid rain, smog, and fouled waterways” (para. 4). Essentially, recycling is necessary because of the amount of resources and energy required to produce new items from scratch. Furthermore, landfills have become too large to accommodate in some areas, and they emit unwanted gases that damage the environment (Kaufman, 2009). Because of the repercussions of wastefulness, recycling is essential. Thus, it should be universally available and streamlined for maximum benefits.

At Oregon State University, the administration, faculty, and students are used to seeing and using recycling containers to pitch water bottles, surplus paper from printers, and cardboard (Oregon State University, 2014). However, the administration does not systematically implement the recycling services on campus, creating misunderstanding about what can be recycled and where. The types of bins and services available vary by building and department, making it hard for those who live, work, and study on campus to make the most efficient recycling choices. For example, the residence halls have commingled recycling that accommodates some plastic, metal, cartons, and paper, whereas the library has different bins for paper or bottles and cans only. This difference means that, in some campus locations, most waste continues to be sent to landfills. In addition, many of the vendors and departments on campus continue to use products — such as waxed paper cups, coffee – cup lids, and plastic utensils — that cannot be recycled on campus. To solve these problems, Oregon State University should implement a reorganized system that includes matching bins across campus to accommodate a wider range of items and the systematic replacement of everyday items that cannot be recycled with ecofriendly or recyclable options.

Streamlined bins will allow staff, students, and faculty to learn about one recycling system and to use it regularly. If the recycling system in the library matches the system in the Memorial Union, those on campus will be less likely to toss things into the trash because they are not sure if it is recyclable. The University of Maryland (2010) has worked hard, and had success, with such measures on their campus. The school’s website states that one of the university’s goals was to make steps toward a “zero waste” initiative. Specifically, “These improvements include installing more recycling and compost collection bins, implementing education and outreach activities, and eliminating the distribution of condiment packets and instead creating condiment stations near food courts” (University of Maryland, 2010, para. 2). The university also made trash bins harder to access, allotting each faculty member a tiny desk bin that he or she then had to take t o a central location. Such initiatives combined with a sleek, well – run recycling system increases recycling participation on campus.

New — and more — bins will require Oregon State to invest in additional education on recycling for members of the community. That is, students, faculty, and staff will need to be taught what can go in each bin and why these measures are so important. Things tend to go awry if new systems are not accompanied by clear instructions. According to Kaufman (2009), such a which bans the use of polystyrene foam containers, said that some citizens had unwittingly put the plant -based alternatives into cans for recycling, where they had melted and had gummed up the works” (para. 26). Such problems can be avoided, she added, when education is part of the initiative.

A similar mishap occurred in Santa Monica, California when residents mistook compostable cutlery for plastic and put them into the recycling bins. She wrote, “Josephine Miller, an environmental official for the city of Santa Monica, Calif., The new system and education initiatives should be combined with a movement away from products that are the hardest to dispose of ethically and with concern for the environment. This not only limits waste, but also off sets some of the initial costs of the new endeavors. For example, the University of Maryland began using compostable takeout containers that cost a bit more than the old products (University of Maryland, 2010). However, they combined the use of these new products with an emphasis on using reusable plates, cups, and silverware. As a result, the food services produced less waste, needed fewer takeout containers, and spent less money. Zellar confirmed that one of the best ways to lessen the amount of waste being produced is to move away from heavily packaged items that contain unrecyclable elements.

Critics of recycling initiatives often cite wasted energy during collection, high costs, and poor user – friendliness as reasons that recycling does not work. Zellar (2008) made note of some opponents who felt the environmental impact of collecting recyclable waste offsets the benefits of recycling. However, Zellar demonstrated that creating brand new products actually uses significantly more energy than an efficiently run, frequently used recycling system. If members of the Oregon State University community are encouraged to use a simplified (but still comprehensive) system, the environmental impact is much smaller. Similarly, the costs of such a program are mitigated by using fewer disposable items and by a decreased need to haul trash to landfills. Zellar also noted that “some municipalities . . . are starting to demand that businesses help cover the costs of recycling” (para. 14), certain materials that are expensive or difficult to recycle. This approach has the benefit of lowering recycling costs for consumers, along with the bonus of discouraging companies from creating and distributing products that are bad for the environment. Oregon State could, then, ask the city of Corvallis to consider such a measure.

According to sources cited by Kaufman (2009), large institutions have the most potential for affecting change in how waste and recycling are handled because they produce more waste and, thus, have the ability to change demand for certain products and services. She continued, “[C]ustomers will have to be taught to think about the destination of every throwaway if the zero – waste philosophy is to prevail, environmental officials say” (para. 27). As home base to thousands of employees and students, Oregon State University has the privilege of being an institution that can make a positive impact through education about and implementation of a comprehensive, user – friendly recycling system. If you see the need for this change to occur, contact your administrative officials in Business Affairs and tell them you want to see improved recycling efforts on your campus!


Works Cited

Kaufman, L. (2009, Oct. 19). Nudging recycling from less waste to none. The New York Times . Retrieved from

Oregon State University. (2014). Recycling FAQ. Retrieved from – us/recycling – faq

University of Maryland. (2010). Recycling, composting, and waste reduction. Retrieved from

Zellar, Jr., T. (2008). Recycling: The big picture. National Geographic . Retrieved from http://ngm.natio






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Proposals and urgency

Consider these examples of early paragraphs in proposal essays.

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