Recommended Books

June 7th, 2010

Throughout the term, I brought in books to share with you. I’ve compiled a list of all the ones I could remember. I also added a few. If there was one that you heard me mention or that I forgot to put on the list, just let me know.

Grammar and Style:

Fowler’s Modern English Usage

Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing by Mignon Fogarty (or any of her other books)

Grammar Snobs are Great Big Meanies by June Casagrande

The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White

Books on Craft of Writing:

The Writer’s Notebook: Craft Essays from Tin House

Writers on Writing: Collected Essays from The New York Times

Academic Writing:

The Everyday Writer by Andrea A. Lunsford

They Say, I Say by Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein


Rose, Where Did You Get That Red? Teaching Great Poetry to Children by Kenneth Koch

Making Your Own Days: The Pleasures of Reading and Writing Poetry by Kenneth Koch


Why I Write by George Orwell

The Artist’s Way by Julie Cameron

The Writer’s Path by Tod Walton and Mindy Toomay


Send: Why People Email So Badly and How to Do It Better by David Shipley and Will Schwalbe

Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud

Best American Essays series

Lives on the Boundaries by John Rose

A Poem

June 3rd, 2010

Here is the poem that Frank brought to class this morning.

A Poem
By Darla Hitler
Rain…..comess thou down have thee not enough? You makest me wet…..with
thy unfriendly water. Thou art the bringer of sadness, upon a nation
of lovers of Bar-B-Ques. Making us leavest NOT uncovered our
Tatersalad. Though waterlogest our hotdog buns and makest them but
stinky damp dough.
I shelter my weary head from thee….lest thou ruin my $30 hairdo. Ducks
may love thee, yeah, all birds may love thee….for thou makest, many
and ample bath places for them, in gutters and low spots in yonder
pavement. Green have thou made the dopplar radar…but blue havest thou
made me inside.
oh Rain, Have thee not a dry thought…..yeah Rain…not one? Why comest
though down with such vengeance? Thou seemest angry, and thy furious
moist rage is saturatory…and low, even misdirected. Like a cross-eyed
WalMart Greeter, that guigeth me to the wrong ile….for he knoweth not
what that one eye looketh at.
Rain…..oh rain, turn thy baromatric bombardment, else where. Makest
thy soakifiable sadness halt…..for it is June. Torment us no longer
with thy torentialness……forceth not thy dreadful drips past the duct
tape and plastic barrier that sheildeth the passenger side window of
yonder camaro.
Rain…sendeth us a respit, from thy precipitus engourgement, and we
shall welcome thee back at a time more befitting thy wettification.
And yeah though we walk through the Willamette Valley of dampness, We
shall fear no forecast, for thou art expected….for we know that thy
down pouriousness is expected, and will depart fouthwit as the endeth
of Rose Festival draws nigh… sayeth Matt Zefino
A Poem
By Darla Hitler

No Office Hours Tomorrow

May 19th, 2010

I will not be having regular office hours tomorrow. I will have limited e-mail availability. If this is an emergency, please go to the nearest hospital emergency room.

Please see the next post for the homework on writing in-class essays.

In-class Essay Activity for Friday

May 19th, 2010

For Friday’s class, we will be doing a timed, in-class essay writing activity. In preparation, please read this handout on strategies for writing timed essays. Also, skim these pages on Writing Essays for Exams and Strategies for Writing Essays.

We will be beginning promptly at 10:15, so it is crucial that you arrive on time. Bring plenty of paper and a trusty writing utensil. There will be three prompts: one persuasive, one expository, and one narrative. You will have to budget your time for outlining, writing, and proofreading. You will be turning your essays in at the end of class.

Part of this activity is learning writing strategies like understanding prompts and time management, but the other part is becoming familiar with the sensation of stress and anxiety that come in timed-writing situations. If you know that you will have to do timed essays for scholarships, standardized tests, or for your major, it’s going to be important that you take as many opportunities as possible to practice. The more you acclimate yourself to the sensations of writing under pressure, the easier it becomes, and the less power the stress-response has over your writing performance. If you’re getting a little nervous, that’s a good thing.

Peer Response: The 4 Cs

May 10th, 2010

We will be getting more involved with our peer responses for this preliminary draft.  I want you to consider another framework for not only critiquing your classmates’ writing but also revising your future drafts in this course.

Clarity: Is the writer using simple, necessary word choice? Are they punctuating so that their ideas are being expressed clearly?

Correctness: Are there errors in detail, quotes, or references? Has the writer represented the topic with factual accuracy? Is the paper formatted correctly?

Consistency: Does the writer give you a smooth reading experience by using a consistent tone? Has the writer stuck to a particular style of writing (i.e. British vs. American spelling, citation style, capitalization)?

Coherency: Is there a clear assertion that flows throughout the entire paper? Are all parts organized in a logical form? Does the writing give you a clear introduction, transition between ideas, and conclusion?

Use these criteria to make sure that the writing says what it means and means what it says.

Keep the prior considerations of global, paragraph, and sentence-level issues in mind. If you need a reminder, please see this post.

In addition to any line notes throughout the draft, I want you to fill out the Responding to a Draft worksheet.

They Say/I Say

May 3rd, 2010

Here is a .pdf of the templates for incorporating sources.

They Say/I Say

Three Important Pieces of Information

April 28th, 2010

1) Dina kindly brought it to my attention that the assigned reading is for chapter 41 (not chapter 4 as indicated on your schedule) in the NFG.

2) Remember to meet in Library 160 on Friday at 10:15. Please bring your completed homework assignment.

3) Here are files for the two handouts from today’s class.

Research Project Schedule

Working Bibliography

See you Friday.

Persuasion Assignment for Wednesday

April 27th, 2010

After you have done the readings in NFG, read this post and complete the assignment at the end.

As I have already said, you are free to choose your topic (with some boundaries), but it needs to have some connection to your life and have more than two possible positions. I encourage you to be creative and original in both your topic and your proposed solution.

Remember that topics are everywhere.  So avoid “pre-fab” issues we can all argue in our sleep (capital punishment; abortion; gun control, etc.) and look instead at issues you may be debating with yourself or with someone else in your own life (becoming a vegetarian; whether to have children or not) or issues that haven’t yet been thoroughly hashed out in the public domain (food carts; violence in sports). Because we are tackling so many other tedious skills with this assignment (i.e. rhetoric, audience, incorporating sources, summary, paraphrase and quote, MLA citation style, and thesis statements) I have kept the organization of this essay more structured. It’s less about crafting an epic treatise on a controversial issue, and more about getting the hang of the basics while writing about something meaningful to your everyday lives.

Now that you have found a tentative topic and explored what you know about it, please respond to the following:

1) What else do you need to know about your topic?

2) What are some plausible solutions to your problem?

3) What types of evidence could you use to establish background on your topic, support the success of your solution, and prove results of taking action or not taking action with you?

We will be sharing this work with each other on Wednesday to build a research plan, so it is crucial that you come prepared.

Homework for Monday

April 23rd, 2010

In addition to the homework listed in your updated schedule, please write a paragraph on the following:

How could Penrod’s sources have been more credible? What other kinds of evidence might he have used?

If you were to propose a solution to the problem of a decline in intellectualism, what would your solution be? Follow the last three steps of the persuasive essay as your guide.




Your paragraph can be typed or hand-written.

And remember: we are practicing the art of persuasion. The rhetorical situation is about winning your audience over, if not to take action with you, then at least to consider your solution a plausible and reasonable one. The rhetorical situation is not righteous annihilation of the opposition. I can’t emphasize this distinction enough.

Class Canceled Today

April 19th, 2010

Sadly, we will not be gathering today to begin discussing the exciting world of persuasive writing as  I am too ill to come to campus. However, you are still required to turn in your artist profile final drafts.

I hope with this message that I have saved you the hike down to the Unitus Building only to discover a sign posted to the class door. Instead, I am requiring that you hike up to the fourth floor of Neuberger Hall and turn in your papers to my box in the English Department Office room 405.

In addition, you need to read NFG chapter 9 on Arguing a Position and post two discussion questions based on the reading to the comment section below (preferably before Wednesday morning).

Wednesday we will be exploring argument and persuasive writing, and I’m sure I will be feeling much better by then.