Monday, April 03, 2006

Dear Eric...

A fun bit of brainstorming this morning.

Hi Eric,

It's April and I've been teaching my students poetry since January. They're tired and I'm tired. I would like to assign them a creative project that enables them to combine their knowledge of Petrarch, Donne, Rich, Gluck and Lorca. I'd like it to have a visual and a written counterpart. Any suggestions?

Hmm...says I. What about:
  • A set of love letters or other courtship materials. A lot of possible couples here, all of them nicely complicated and more or less impossible: Petrarch and Rich, Petrarch and Gluck, Donne and Rich, Donne and Gluck, Rich and Gluck, Lorca and either of the guys, Lorca and either of the women. Think of the passions and difficulties, the debates they could have!
  • Or a poetry comix assignment: turn some set of poems into a "graphic novel." Or they could find an existing graphic novel or comic and do a "detournement" of it: erase the previous text and ink in lines from the poems.
  • Some sort of collage assignment, along similar lines?
  • What about a rewriting assignment? Donne in the style of Rich. Gluck in the style of Lorca?
  • Petrarch, Donne, Rich, Gluck, and Lorca form a band. They make some albums, then break up. Make a fan website for the band that tells their story, complete with music, lyrics, gossip, pictures, solo projects, etc. Students with video capability could shoot a documentary history, in manner of This Is Spinal Tap, or shoot some videos of their poems (or "songs") in manner of the United States of Poetry series (
  • Or how about this? Petrarch, Donne, Rich, Gluck, and Lorca are advice columnists, in manner of Dan Savage or Dear Abby. Students write letters to them and their responses. Or they write to one another for advice?
I think the band one is my favorite. They're a sort of love poetry supergroup, like Blind Faith, after all. So: who plays what? Lorca on guitar, natch. Gluck on bass, with Entwistle cool? Or maybe they're a Fleetwood Mac arrangement, with Rich as Stevie Nicks (tee-hee!).

In any case, a fun way to spend the morning--

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