All blog posts are due Thursday by 8pm, though I encourage earlier posts.  If you choose to comment on a post instead of composing your own original post, you can have until midnight.

The blog is required reading, and there might be quizzes on this material as well. 

There are 10 required posts, and you will notice that there are six blogging opportunities during week seven and before, and six opportunities from week eight through the end of the course.  This means that you can opt out of one week on either end of this mid-point.

The MOD Blog—300 / 30%: Over the course of the semester, each of you will compose 10 blog posts of 300-400 words (not including quotations). I will grade these posts in two groupings: at the mid-term point and at the end of the semester.  I expect your posts to be polished, free of errors, properly formatted, and they will, at times, incorporate various forms of media and external reference (images, video embeds, links to other sites or posts, and so on). Never blogged before using the WordPress platform? Check out the instructions in the drop-down under the blog link in the main menu. As you review the instructions, please pay close attention to the use of categories. As you see on the course schedule, each group rotates through six blog categories: “CloseRead,” “Chronos,” “Critical,” “Creative,” “Archival,” and “Wildcard.” Each group will also cycle through two “Off” weeks every six weeks. Here’s what each category is about:

  • “CloseRead”: In these posts, please practice your skills at literary explication, also known as “close reading.” Poems are often dense and difficult, and modernist poems are often especially so. The goal here is to pay attention to the texts’s particulars–to sound, formal structure, allusion, metaphor, ambiguity, voice, speaker,  lineation, narrative, themes, motifs, and so on. Even in a course where we will do our best to situate each poem within its cultural and historical context, we can’t forget matters of style and form: we must read through them, rather than around them. To achieve the highest possible points for these posts, your close reading should be guided by a focused central claim, and that claim should be supported by carefully selected quoted evidence. The strongest posts will also demonstrate an awareness of relevant literary, cultural, and historical contexts. Also, please assume an external readership, which means you should set up quotes and scenes using narrative / descriptive cues.
  • “Chronos”: Each book we read in this class occupies a distinct historical moment–what we might call a “poem world,” though as we discussed on day one, how a poem relates to its broader context can be difficult to pin down.  But rather than irrefutably connect how a poem might be directly referencing its context, the goal in these Chronos posts is simply to build a running historical record that tracks our historical progress through time. We might see direct connections between our poems and the historical record, but this won’t always be the case. Use Wikipedia’s year-by-year breakdown of world history (or another historical source) and select one item each from the following categories, spending roughly 1/4 of your space/time on each category (some items naturally overlap, so use your best judgment)–and make sure you link to the materials you are referencing, note how it relates, whether explicitly or not, to the poems we’re reading, and be sure to paraphrase rather than cut-and-paste:
      • Arts and Culture
      • Science, Technology and  Ideas
      • Social Change (issues of gender, race, class, immigration)
      • War, Politics, and Nature.

No Commenters for the “Chronos” category.

  • “Critical”: These posts required that you summarize a peer-reviewed academic article or book chapter. Use the library catalog or the MLA International Bibliography or a smaller database like Project Muse (both accessible through the library–click on the “Databases” tab above the main search bar when you go to the library website) to locate an article relating to an author or poem or cultural idea under discussion. I assume that most of you have taken either academic writing or ENGL 299–both of which usually include a dedicated assignment related to responsible summary. These are research-based posts and they should always be written with reference to the article and its author. The easiest way to make sure you’re doing this correctly is to (1) maintain the summary frame by using frequent signal phrases (“so-and-so argues,” “so-and-so describes”); and (2) introduce quotes without assuming that anyone else in the class is familiar with the article (we’re not). Note to commenters for this category: if you want to offer a comment in place of an original post, you can only do so if your source naturally responds to or relates to someone else’s source; you can’t comment in place of bringing in a source here. So, you can “comment” for this post, but the post still has to fulfill all the requirements above.
  • “Archival”: This category is all about blogging the Archives. The Modernist Journals Project is an electronic storehouse of what they called “little magazines.” The Poetry Foundation also houses a complete archive of Poetry Magazine. has a ton of periodicals to explore as well, many that touch upon literature and politics. You might look at Century, American Mercury, The Living Age, The Nation, The New Masses, North American Review, Partisan Review, and The Saturday Review.  Many of the authors that we’ll be reading first published their poems in magazine contexts. For this post category, your goals is to either: (1) situate a poem we’re reading specifically within its original publication context (see what kinds of things surround it and consider what that says about the poet / poem); or (2) as it can be difficult to find out where an individual poem was first published, ignore the specific publication context of one of our poems, and instead try to bring an author back from the dustbin of cultural history or reaffirm their place there. Do this by share a poem with us that was published in the years we’re currently covering and ask yourself why it’s a poem or poet that we no longer read (or read as frequently). Is the banishment justified? How do these forgotten poems help you better understand the achievement of poems we now consider “canonical” modernist poems; or, finally, (3) focus on a cultural conversation unfolding in a periodical contemporary with the poem we’re reading. So, if we’re reading a poem by Ezra Pound published in 1913, you might final some conversations about poetry or culture or politics happening in one of the little magazines found on the MJP, or in one a higher profile publication found on UNZ. The choice is yours! Note to Commenters.

No Commenters for the “Archival” category.

  • “Creative” or “Comment”: For this prompt, you can either compose a “Creative Post” (see below) or comment on any other post from this week (creative or otherwise).  Even if you’re not a poet or have never written a poem, engaging the various projects of modernism from the perspective of creation rather than reflection can be eye-opening. Here, you have two options:
    1. Compose a poetic imitation embodying the aesthetic principles or formal tricks at play in one of the poems we read for class.  Please include a brief reflection on your imitation to help frame and explain your efforts–and what you learned through them–to the rest of the class.
    2. Compose a poetic response.  While an imitation is more calculated, what I am calling a response might be thought more as an inspired “talking back” the source–talking back with anger or agreement or sadness or joy or sarcasm.  Again, please include a brief reflection, for the benefit of your readers, that helps frame or justify your response. 
  • “Wildcard” (post spring-break)–you can post within one of the above categories, or, if you feel that our post doesn’t quite fit in any of them, just post it under the wild-card category. Run with it!

I expect your posts to be polished, free of errors, properly formatted, and they should, at times, incorporate various forms of media and external reference (images, video embeds, links to other sites or posts, and so on).

Specs: Posts should be 300-400 words (that translates to roughly one full page, give or take, double-spaced).  You can comment on another post in place of the “Creative” category; you can also comment on a post for credit if your category allows (see above). Of course, you should feel free to comment more informally whenever you want; such participation is the whole point of creating a course blog.  If you are less likely to speak up in class regularly, you might view commenting on the blog as one way not to lose any participation points.

Style: Though blog posts are naturally more informal–and perhaps less affectedly stuffy–than the writing you typically do for English courses, I expect them to be intelligent, engaging, and free of grammatical errors.  If your post seems too casual, vague, and don’t engage their putative subject with rigor and depth, it will receive a lower grade.  I will comment on your posts every week, feedback that I hope helps you come to understand what good blogging entails.  It is good to keep in mind: though more “informal,” blog posts are often riskier, pithier and more dynamic than standard research-paper writing in my experience.  And remember: this blog will be public and searchable—it can and will be read by people outside the class.

Timing: As noted above, all blog posts will be due on Thursdays @ 8, though if you choose to comment instead you have until midnight. Of course, please feel free to post earlier in the week–on Sunday as you complete your reading for Monday, for example, or Tuesday as you react to a conversation we began in class.  I will comment quite extensively on many of your posts, as will your classmates, so please check back in with the MOD blog before class on Friday. I consider the blog required reading, which means you need to read it to prepare for discussion and possible quizzes.