creative writing 5 1

1. Choose a prompt, write your response, post your work, telling me which prompt you chose, and writing a brief “defense” — something about why you chose that prompt, what challenges you encountered, what the process was like, what insights you gained, etc. Then, I will comment on your work; you will then reply to my comment by focusing briefly on one or more specific aspects of craft; finally, I will enter a grade.

5.4: Epithets

“Epithet (Links to an external site.)” means something like name, but in poetry or other rhetorically-aware writing, it is a renaming, a byname, a replacement for a name, a nickname, a descriptive name, etc.

A name is, in a sense, an argument about identity and relationship or association. I will provide one other naming exercise later in which you might focus on your own name, but in this one, what I have in mind is something broader or subtler: the various ways in writing that we make arguments about identity and association through renaming. In the model poems below, you will see some of the following poetic strategies:

  • Copiousness: adding names together, letting them accumulate, in a sort of argument of riches.
  • “Branding”: associating, however arbitrarily, a common thing, animal, or person with something famous.
  • Conjuring: repeating a name in a way that calls forth some presence, often to contrast with stark absence.

So: write a poem, essay, or story that explores aspects of naming or labeling, and the secrets, contradictions, contrasts, etc. that arise from studying and arguing for names.

brooks.jpgKarl Shapiro (Links to an external site.), “Buick” (Links to an external site.)

Henry Reed (Links to an external site.), “Naming of Parts” (Links to an external site.)

Gwendolyn Brooks (Links to an external site.), “Mayor Harold Washington” (Links to an external site.)

Marilyn Hacker (Links to an external site.), “Iva’s Pantoum” (Links to an external site.)

Laure-Anne Bosselaar (Links to an external site.), “Stillbirth”

2. After readings some of the Web Links, Suggested Readings, or Lectures (from any week or the supplements), write your report here. Remember to write at least 100 words.

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