Week 1

Week 1 (May 21-27): *Note: Because the first week includes so many logistical items, this page will include more than the normal week’s activities.


  1. Anonymous, “Westron Wind
  2. W. B. Yeats, “Down by the Salley Gardens
  3. Patrick Kavanaugh, “Epic
  4. Emily Dickinson, “[I dwell in Possibility],” #657
  5. William Wordsworth, “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud
  6. T. S. Eliot, “Hysteria
  7. Elizabeth Barrett Browning, “Bertha in the Lane
  8. Stevie Smith, “The Heavenly City
  9. Countee Cullen, “Incident
  10. Audre Lorde, “Coal

Instructional Content:

  1. An Introduction to the Course
  2. Critical Thinking about Poetry & Genre
  3. Poetic Genres
  4. Defining the Genre (Activity Instructions)

Task List:

  1. Monday 5/21: Either create a blog (I recommend a WordPress site through RamPages, operated in-house here at VCU) or create a new post on a current blog of yours. Add a category or tag called “vizpoem,” and get into the habit of tagging/categorizing all writing for this course with that vizpoem label. Write an introductory post telling us about yourself, why you took this course, and when during the day you will probably be completing work for this course. Tell us a little bit about your other obligations and we may be able to accommodate your schedule. Then let us know and how familiar you are with poetry in general and “the lyric” in particular. You can find an example of an introductory blog post on my “introductions” page.
  2. Monday 5/21: Either create a new twitter account, or travel to your pre-existing profile at twitter.com. If you are already a member, depending on what you normally use twitter for, you may wish to to create a second profile exclusively for use in this course (I strongly recommend starting afresh). Your twitter avatar should be a picture of yourself for this class. I say this because it is much easier to be respectful to users of twitter if they appear to be human beings. Regardless, tag every tweet for this course #vizpoem, and it will be searchable on twitter by anyone interested in our conversations. Tweet an introductory tweet! Say hello! Then reload the vizpoem.wordpress.com site: your tweet should appear in the feed. Follow me on twitter (@jason_coats). Also, <optional> I strongly advise following everyone who uses the #vizpoem hashtag, since they are likely your classmates or people who are interested in visual poetry. It will make interacting with them easier.
  3. Monday 5/21: Fill out and submit the form on the “About” page just under the course trailer asap. Remember that until you submit this, your work won’t be aggregated on the netvibes page (and no one else in the class will know where to find it).
  4. Monday 5/21: View the content under “This Week” on the site banner menu for week one, including the linked poems and my instructional pages. Compose a new blog post that attempts to define poetry as a genre. Use as many examples as you can, but please restrict yourself to the ten poems under review for this week.
  5. Tuesday 5/22: Take to twitter and find my initial prompt under the #vizpoem hashtag (posted by 9am). Participate in the twitter discussion (I recommend a minimum of three interactions, although those interactions could take the form of retweets or amplifications of someone else’s original thought).
  6. Tuesday 5/22: Check your inbox for a Bb email from me describing the #popcornpoems activity (linked after Tuesday morning). Follow the instructions and begin constructing a class poem using the concepts from this week (due to finish Sunday).
  7. Tuesday 5/22: Read at least three other poetry definitions on other blogs on the netvibes page and edit your original post by 5pm (in order to distinguish old from new writing, I recommend either reblogging the original post with some new sentences and links added, or (my preference) editing the original, but appending some new materials after a horizontal line. Link to three other blogs that agree to some extent with you, but explain how you are thinking of poetry slightly differently. Create links to those blogs by copying the URL, selecting some text to anchor the link to, clicking the icon that looks like a chain link (or a paperclip), and then pasting the URL. Test your post later to make sure the links do indeed take people to the website you linked to.
  8. Wednesday 5/23: Compose a blog post that offers a sustained application of the definition you came up with on Monday to one of the poems from this week’s list. Refer to the instructions in “Defining the Genre” assignment for more information. Give your post the title “[Author’s name] illustration.
  9. Wednesday 5/23: Read other posts by students using the same poem as their examples. Edit your original post, linking to the other students’ posts, and compare your definition and example to theirs.
  10. Thursday 5/24: Take to twitter and view my initial prompt under the #vizpoem hashtag (posted by 9am). Participate in the twitter discussion (I recommend a minimum of three interactions, although those interactions could take the form of retweets or amplifications).
  11. Friday, 5/25: View my illustrated blog post (a limit case) under the Examples menu (posted by 10am).
  12. Friday 5/25: Compose a new blog post by the end of the day that refers to three tweets (your own or other people’s) in order to document how the class has come to collectively define the genre. Try to report on both the variety and the consensus among us as to what make a poem a poem.
  13. Sunday 5/27: Read the #popcornpoem for this week. Add a comment to that post (on vizpoem.wordpress.com) and apply your amended definition of poetry to it to suss out its meaning.

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