Self and reality. Symbol and language. Myth and image. Memory and consciousness.
Dream and unreality: locus communis.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Apple, Pomegranate, Plum

As an experiment during the close of the 2014 Spring term, I wanted to torch the artistic impulse within my students by having them generate a group poem— a simple, instant project illustrating the creative writing process on a basic level.

Over the second half of the course, we had discussed the cultural shift from Victorian attitudes into Modernism, Postmodernism, and Post-postmodernism; I wanted t o leave them with the notion of logic behind experimental forms of self expression— of the various rebellions within the different strands of thought that braid the current poetic landscape— even if some of them would never look at modern writing ever again in their lifetime.

The project prompt was purposely left vague. No written instructions. Only a half sheet of blank paper. They were told to define or describe a specific object from recollection, in two or three sentences. One class was supplied an apple. Another, a pomegranate. The third, a plum. In addition, they were told to put on the page the first thoughts that came to mind.

When you click the links provided, the presentation of the entries retain the students' original intentions.Some punctuation and capitalization of words were added or changed. For the most part the words remain in their own possession.

One other item to keep in mind, these three courses were not creative writing courses. The courses similarly exist as secondary-level Freshman writing classes. One of the main emphasis out of Composition II is learning how to utilize and strengthen an analytical approaches when reading, conducting research, and correctly drafting an academic paper. Despite this, the results prove interesting. Only a handful of individuals broke out of a colloquial mindset, stepping away from formulaic declarations to provide a diverse view of the assigned object. Yet, because the chosen topic strayed in the realms of everyday reality, most of the responses resulted in repetitive phrases in the common vernacular.

As a simple example of meta-modern creativity, the collective, slightly random, student-voices produce eclectic refrains and echoes, shifting the basic understanding of an apple, a pomegranate, or a plum into a new form of poetic expression. Yes, the phrasings are awkward at times. Yes, the images surface into heavy clichés and expected notions of the world. However, the take-away concept from the experience remains the experience itself. The students learn the process of drafting the beginnings of a creative work. They learned how a product of creative thought translates and emerges into their personal community, beyond their hidden scribbles on a blank page. In a small fashion, they collectively have dropped small stones into the larger pond of a developing culture of their own time.

Lone Star–CyFair College,English Composition & Rhetoric 1302-5019 || Apple

Wharton County Jr. College— English 1302-20249 || Pomegranate

Wharton County Jr. College— English 1302-22187 || Plum

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