For this reading, you will present a selection of Poetry that in performance is no shorter than 4 minutes and no longer than 6 minutes, including the introduction.
Chose a poem (or poems) that appeal to you and that you want to share with the class. It is preferable to choose one poem of the required length, but that is not a restriction. If you want to study and perform a poem that is shorter than the required length, choose another that is complementary. Look for thematic links, complementary images, and contrasting images--consider their juxtaposition. Think of your performance as one whole--the two or three poems and their order presented should create a desired effect.
After making a selection, complete a full Dramatistic and Modal Analysis. The following reminders on those models should help. Feel free to use other analytic models if you think they will be useful to your understanding of your poem(s). Many students have found a biographical analysis especially helpful for a deeper understanding their poems. Take careful notes while analyzing and be sure to collect specific examples when answering the questions below. Not only will these help you choose performance analogs, your notes will help you prepare the written portion of this assignment.
DRAMATISTIC AND MODAL ANALYSIS OF YOUR SELECTION
Is the speaker a narrator? A character? (If "character" would looking at "4 levels of characterization" be helpful?) An undefined persona? If the speaker is a narrator, what is this narrator's point of view? Describe the narrator's attitude toward the story and toward the character(s) if any, in the poem. Does the narrator's attitude ever change? How and why? If the speaker is a character, describe this character physically, socially, psychologically, and morally. If the speaker is an undefined persona, describe how she or he is affected by the experience in the poem. What is the speaker's emotional attitude? What are the audience modes of this poem? Why do you think so? What performance analogs are prompted by the preceding questions? What kind of poem is it generically? Why do you think so?
WHOM IS THE PERSONA ADDRESSING?
Consider the internal mode of each line. When is the persona addressing her- or himself (lyric)? When is the speaker addressing an audience inside the poem (dramatic)? When is the speaker addressing an actual audience (epic)? You yourself have wide latitude in making these decisions. Be creative.
IS THE SPEAKER SPEAKING ABOUT?
Explicate the poem. Be able to explain, in your own words, what is happening in each line.
IS THE SPEAKER WHEN HE OR SHE SPEAKS?
Is a specific locale indicated? How can you create a sense of place or "story realm"? Through physicalizers?
IS THE SPEAKER SPEAKING?
What tense is used? Does the speaker speak of the past? Of the future? Is the speaker remembering or describing?
DOES THE SPEAKER SPEAK?
How does the speaker use language? What style is used: formal? Consultative? Casual? Intimate? Why do you think so? How will you perform this?
DOES THE SPEAKER SPEAK?
What is the speaker's purpose in speaking? To praise? To defend? To relive a past experience? To settle an argument? To purge emotions? How does this affect performance?
What is the significance of the title of the poem? What information does the title reveal? Where do transitions occur? What do they signify? Where is the fulcrum? What change does it mark? What is your performance analog for this?
ASSIGNMENT (part one) (part two is below)
On individual, double spaced, typed copies of your poem(s),
Through what other texts, past experiences and interests did you read this text? In other words, how did the events in your background influence the way you interpreted this text? How did you grapple with issues of ethnicity, gender or culture? This section of your paper should deal specifically with your and the poets understanding of gender, culture and or ethnicity.
YOUR ANALYTIC DECISIONS INTO PERFORMANCE ANALOGS
When you have done a thorough examination of your selection, begin choosing performance analogs. Active selection of analogs (not silent consideration) will be more efficient and productive. Get up and try out your ideas vocally and physically. Let your voice and body help you choose analogs. Let your analytic findings prompt vocal and physical responsiveness. Here are some questions in addition to those above meant to prompt analog ideas:
After selecting individual performance analogs, rehearse your poem(s) as one fluid performance. Be sure to consider the beginning energy, how the poem flows, ways to keep it dynamic, when to change intensities and how to end the performance. Rehearse your poem(s) and introduction several times so that your analogs can be presented in a clean and coherent manner.
ASSIGNMENT (part two)
Keep careful notes of your interpretation process as a kind of road map to your performance. Answer any (but not all) of the above considerations you applied to your poem(s). Provide a record, in standard academic prose, of why you chose your poem(s), what your Dramatistic and Modal analysis taught you, why you chose particular performance analogs, and how you think the audience will receive them. Standard academic prose means typed, double-spaced paragraphs. Include an introductory paragraph that sets forth your intent for the paper. Use your analysis and performance notes to create the body of the paper. Use specific examples from your selection whenever appropriate. Have a concluding paragraph. Remember to consider intertextuality in your paper. It is expected that course-specific terms be used in all papers to demonstrate your mastery of course topics. I will be looking for such specificity--that will earn you points. Be opinionated but back opinions up. I won't be grading opinions but looking for how you support them.
An evaluation form (and your paper plus poem charting) will be used to assess your performance. Most of the form will be filled out during your perform, but your grade will not be assigned until after your paper has been read. You will receive a letter grade for your performance that is worth a maximum of 125 points. In addition, the formatting, style and specificity of your written component can earn you a maximum of 30 points. The paper needs to be submitted the day you perform; e-mailed submissions are not acceptable.