Blog Forum 2: Listening to Poetry, Due Sept. 29/Oct. 1

The second blog forum begins this week. If you were a blogger last time, then you are commenting this time and vice versa (i.e., Group B is now blogging; Group A is commenting). Group B’s blog posts are due a week from today, on Tuesday, September 30, at midnight. Comments are due a week from Wednesday, on Wednesday, October 1, at midnight.

The Assignment Sheet and Evaluation Rubric for the Blog are attached here and still posted on T-square under the Assignments menu in the left nav:

1101 Blog Assignment
Blog Forum Rubric Fall 2014

Blog Forum 2: Listening to Poetry
This forum requires you to observe yourself engaging in some of the kinds of listening described in the readings (Marshall, Chion, Siddons) and to pay attention to the culture of listening as represented by a poetry reading in the twenty-first century (as opposed to those Judith Pascoe describes in the early nineteenth century).

Bloggers and commenters alike will have to attend the Poetry@Tech Bourne Poetry Reading, featuring Richard Blanco and Jericho Brown, at 7:30pm on Thursday, September 25, in the Kress Auditorium at the Paper Museum on west campus, 500 Tenth Street NW (here is a map). I hear it gets crowded, so arrive early!

If and only if you have a conflict with the reading Thursday night, be you blogger or commenter, you should instead watch the ABC News broadcast of Richard Blanco reading the inaugural poem in 2013 (about 6 minutes) as well as Jericho Brown’s 2013 reading at James Madison University (about 45 minutes).

As in Forum 1, posts should run about 300 words or be a 2.5-minute audio response (remember: one of your blog posts needs to be an audio recording of your response to the prompt).

Option A
In discussing Gilbert Austin’s Chironomia and its attempt both to “make it possible for future generations to witness a facsimile of a dead actor’s performance” and to document “that speech and gesture are inextricably intertwined,” Judith Pascoe cites a number of contemporary critics who observed Siddons’s “strategic use of the sustained pause” that accompanied the dramatic gestures she used (74–7). In the world of poetry, we call this sustained pause, or strategic silence, a caesura. Whether you attend the live reading or watch the recordings of Blanco and Brown posted online, identify one dramatic gesture and one strategic silence that seem particularly significant and explain their significance in relation to the recurrent themes of the poems read on that occasion. The gesture and caesura don’t necessarily have to occur together. They can be within the poems or part of the evening’s larger proceedings.

Option B
You will remember that Michel Chion makes a distinction between semantic listening, in which one listens for the message or code formed by the sounds one hears, and reduced listening, in which one listens to the sounds themselves. Poetry’s heightened attention to sound and sense ought to afford a special occasion to experience pleasure from reduced listening. Whether you attend the live reading or watch the recorded readings online, use reduced listening to hear one poem each by Blanco and Brown—that is, listen to the sound independent of the meaning of the words—then describe, compare, and contrast the sound of each poet’s voice. Does this attempt at reduced listening give you any greater sense of what, according to Kathryn Lynn Guerts’s research, the Anlo-Enwe people call a “feeling type of hearing”?

As in Forum 1, comment writers should write three responses, each approximately 100 words: two must comment on primary posts and one must respond to someone else’s comment. I will write a comment on one post for each section, so the first comment writer has a comment to respond to. You should carefully read your classmates’ work first. Your comment should then respond to your classmate’s observations, descriptions, or reasoning and advance the thread of the conversation. You may respectfully disagree, suggest another line of thinking, or raise a question for discussion by later commenters.


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