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Film Poems

A. Van Jordan
Robert Hayden Collegiate Professor
English Language and Literature
 

Professor Jordan specializes in Creative Writing, Modern and Contemporary Poetry, and Film Studies. He is the author of four collections, including Rise (Tia Chucha Press, 2001).

Jordan teaches a variety of courses in the study of poetry as well as writing poetry, including the ENG 440: Fearless Verse.

Jordan shares his experiences with an assignment that asked students to become experts in a subject or a poet over the course of a semester and create a series of podcasts and a website to host them as a showcase project.


Resources

Browse resources for the film poem assignment and examples of student work. 

Course Details

Course: 

ENG 440 Modern Poetry, Fearless Verse

Related Learning Objective: 

Become a better reader of poetry and identify techniques and themes of modern poetry that continue to inform contemporary poetry.

Assignment Prompt/Description: 

Creation and presentation of a final project in the form of podcasts and a homepage.

Assignment Details

Part 1: Podcasts
You will develop three group podcasts and store them in M+Box.

  • A five-minute podcast: In this episode of your podcast, you will succinctly introduce your podcast’s theme (used to open every episode) so make sure your intro is a good one that you all can live with, and discuss how your historical topic is tethered to the present moment. Within that discussion, tell us a bit about why you chose this topic and about ways in which each of you personally feels connected to it. This podcast, essentially, focuses on intentionality.

  • A 10-minute podcast: In this episode, you will discuss one moment that represents that historical topic in great detail. You will need some artifacts to discuss: post images from archives on the homepage and tell your listeners not only to refer to them but also tell them in what archive you found the images. This podcast tells a story.

  • A 15-minute podcast:  In this episode of your podcast, you will discuss your topic with an expert in your field. At this point you know enough about your topic, you’ve looked into archives, you’ve talked to research librarians, you’ve read books. You’re ready to talk to someone who knows your topic intimately. Bring them into your conversation. This, like many of your podcasts, will probably be a longer conversation than 15 minutes, so you will edit it down to the 15-minute requirement. This podcast is essentially about the conversation.

All of your podcasts will have extra footage so if there’s something you want to add to the homepage, feel free to do so in another stream, but edit all of the three above down to the three required formats. Look at both the Homecoming Podcast homepage and the S-Town Podcast homepage and listen to how they introduce extra material to their listeners and how they make it available on their respective homepages.

Part 2: WordPress Home Page
Each of your homepages will be singular to your subject and theme; in fact, you have control over how it looks, aesthetically. That being said, there are three things that you must have on your homepage:

  • Your three group podcasts

  • Your bibliography:  All your combined sources, divided into categories. At the end of each entry, list your LAST name. i.e. Bishop, Elizabeth. Geography III. Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1976. (JORDAN)

  • Your poems: Each of you will write two poems: a sonnet, in a predetermined rhyme scheme; and a blank verse poem, no less than 10 lines but no more than 20 lines.

Offer revisions on the homepage, which is how I will grade this work; that is to say, I don’t have to like the poem or think that it’s perfect. I simply want to see the spectrum of revision. Add images and art and video or more podcasts with extra footage. Make it yours as if it were your room and you were decorating it. Don’t feel confined by my requirements.

Examples of Student Work