Final Illustration Project

For this assignment you should choose one of the three paths below and couple it with the same explanatory appendix (see below). All three versions of this project include a creative component and a critical appendix. The assignment should be published as your culminating blog post for this course by the end of the term (July 12th), although you should feel free to complete it earlier than that since you will also be studying for the final exam and engaging with a final round of #popcornpoems next week.

Creative Component options:

  1. Illustrated Annotations: [For the student who does not believe he or she is a creative soul] Choose a poem linked to in the eight weeks of this course, or email me with a poem of your choosing to vet by Friday 7/7 (I can’t imagine I would say no, but I would want to urge caution if you choose a poem that would be too short for the assignment to be successful. Also, I might know the poem well and could offer advice). Amply annotate whichever obscure terms, figures, ironies, &c, inhabit the poem (whatever the previous version of yourself, before you entered this course naturally, might have needed help interpreting — and certainly anything the present-day version of yourself needed to look up). Make sure that these annotations are interpretive rather than definitional: you don’t need to link us to wikipedia or We’re only interested in seeing how you interpret the poem via your annotations. Similarly, illustrate the poem with a featured image that precedes the poem and at least three (though preferably more) images that are either embedded between stanzas for a multi-stanza poem, or linked outward for a shorter effort.

  2. Design your own Flarf poem: Design at least three parameters for yourself that will act as constraints as you approach an internet-based app, and make sure you allow for the possibility of collecting the text that results (possible example apps include a google search, Facebook timeline, twitter feed, tumblr community, one Youtube video’s comments, etc — I don’t want to be too prescriptive, but it should be of the internet). Make sure your parameters include what to do if your step comes up empty (example: I decide to open the dictionary to a random page and do a google search on that word, and then nothing comes up; I ought to include in my list of steps to follow what to do if I need to redo a step). Then carry out the parameters, gather some sentences, following the rules set by the parameters you predetermined, and rearrange the results into a found flarf poem. Make sure the entirety of the words in the poem comes from your collected text.

  3. Design your own Visual Poem: Compose a hybrid poem out of text and images. We will have a twitter conversation on Thursday 7/6 about what distinguishes visual from concrete poems, and how one could successfully blend media such that pictures could coherently make up a visual-poetic text. Prepare your visual poem to present within a website frame — this means you can either construct the text entirely digitally, or set up the visual poem in “real life,” take a picture, and digitally share it, as my former student @jurasvoza_imelda did here:


Critical Appendix:

All projects must then conclude with a critical appendix of this experience. It can be informally written (even in bullet points if you wish) but should be coherent, intelligible, and say enough to allow me to assess the following criteria of your illustration project:

  • A description of your process. Reflect and then tell us why you decided on your creative component option, how you went about creating, and what you learned from the experience.
  • A reading of your poem’s persona: Based on the information you have presented (even or especially if you created the poem yourself), say as much about the persona of your text as you can. Cite evidence from the text as you depict the figure of the speaker of the poem. Be as comprehensive as possible.
  • An interpretation of your poemWalk your audience through a specific meaning of the poem. You will be in charge of determining which meaning to explore, and it ought to be appropriate to the course theme, any applicable course pages that deal with your creative option, and the audience of the students in this course. But regardless of your choice, organize this section so that you have a claim (what the poem means) and you support that claim with your own reasons, which are in turn supported by the evidence you see within the poem.

The ratio of attention you should bring to bear on the above bullets is 1:2:3. The third bullet is the most important of the three.


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