To make sense of this post detailing achievements for a student-centered or game-based Introduction to Poetry Writing course, you may want to first read the post which makes a case for a new system of assessment.

Before I jump into achievements, I’m going to refer a couple times to this term, which will be included in the syllabus:

Scheduled Poem Checkpoints

The goal of a creative writing class is to get you writing.  And write you shall!  In fact, you should carve out some time to write each day, whether you’re writing new drafts of poems, revising existing poems, writing craft papers about poems you really enjoy to better understand how they work, or journaling and taking notes which can be used in your poems later.

However, just writing a lot of poems in rapid succession does not ensure that you’ll get better as a writer.  Therefore, for the purposes of credit, you’ll only turn in <<a set number of>> poems during the semester.  To ensure that I can get you useful and timely feedback, there will be set due dates for receipt of poems, called scheduled poem checkpoints.  At each checkpoint, you may hand in one (and only one) poem.

The poems you hand in at each checkpoint a) become eligible to be workshopped during in-class discussion, and b) may be annotated by the author to be considered for other achievements.  For example, if your poem contains a metaphor, a heroic couplet, and a fair amount of consonance, you might ask for that poem to stand for the Metaphor Master, Heroic Couplet Hero, and Consonance Commander achievements.

You are not required to turn in poems at each scheduled poem checkpoint, but come on, you’re in this class to do some creative writing, so take advantage of all of these!

<<then I’ll list the dates of schedule poem checkpoints>>

I’ll also refer to an assignment called bookshop, which is a series of short craft papers that chart the use of a single element of craft throughout a poem or collection.  My students have to read a volume of poems and select a poem from that collection to write about.

This set of achievements is intended to be the gimmes: the easy stuff that students could use to start to build their scores early in the semester.  To avoid a flood of late-term, basic work, teachers may wish to set a cut-off date for submission of these artifacts, probably 2/3 through the course.  Most are designed to carry low achievement score values, and demonstrate student understanding of poetic terms through creation of original phrases.

 

This set of achievements may be earned in one of two ways:

  1. A separate document which includes the student’s name, the achievement(s) sought, and examples.  Students who seek credit for these achievements in a separate document must complete the achievement by <<date 2/3 through the course>>.
  2. Integrated into one of your poems handed in during the semester.  These may be handed in at any scheduled poem checkpoint.  However, remember that attempting all of these in a single poem may lead to a pretty bad poem.  Note which achievement(s) you seek as a footnote to the poem, including any additional notes required to earn the achievement.

If a Google search reveals that your example has been used before, you will not receive credit for the achievement.

Blank Verse Boss | 5 achievement points – Write at least three lines of blank verse.  Include marks of scansion.

Concrete Image Commander | 5 achievement points – Write at least three original concrete images.  Note what makes them concrete, rather than abstract.

Consonance Chief | 5 achievement points – Write five lines which use heavy consonance.  Change the consonant sound being used at least three times.

Dimeter Doctor | 5 achievement points – Write at least three lines of dimeter. Include marks of scansion.

End Rhyme Recognition | 5 achievement points – Write at least five lines of that utilize end rhyme.

Enjambment Expert | 5 achievement points – Enjamb four lines. Explain why enjambing these lines is more effective than end-stopping them.

Epigraph Appropriator | 5 achievement points – Write a poem which includes an epigraph from another poem or piece of prose, or provide an example from your bookshop reading.

Heroic Couplet Hero | 5 achievement points – Write an original heroic couplet.

Hyper-Hyperbole | 5 achievement points – Write something that’s extremely hyperbolic.

Mary Had a Little Iamb | 5 achievement points – Write at least ten lines of iambic verse.  Include marks of scansion.

Isn’t It Ironic? | 5 achievement points – Write something ironic, and then explain in a footnote how irony is being employed, including an example of how you could have pursued a non-ironic solution.

Metaphor Master | 10 achievement points – Write five original metaphors.

Metrical Maestro | 5 achievement points – Write at least three lines each of iambic, dactyllic, anapestic, and trochaic verse, and three lines which include at least one spondee.  Each line must contain at least three feet.  Include marks of scansion.

Metonymy Maven | 5 achievement points – Write three original examples of metonymy.

Mixed Metaphor | 5 achievement points – Write a badly mixed metaphor.

Onomatopoeia | 5 achievement points – Write at least three original examples of onomatopoeia.

Parallelism Pro | 5 achievement points – Write at least three lines or sentences which include heavy parallelism.

Pentameter Prima Donna | 5 achievement points – Write at least six lines of pentameter.  Include marks of scansion.

Run On! | 5 achievement points – Write a ridiculously long sentence which spans twenty or more lines of a poem.

Scan Me Up, Scotty | 5 achievement points – Scan a poem of twenty lines or more.

A-simile-ate | 10 achievement points – Write five original similes.

Synecdoche Swami | 5 achievement points – Write three original examples of synecdoche.

Tetrameter Tutor | 5 achievement points – Write at least six lines of tetrameter. Include marks of scansion.

Virtuoso of Vulgate | 5 achievement points – Write several lines that use vulgate diction.  Include, below the poem, alternate versions of those lines in elevated and colloquial diction.

 

Some other achievements I’ve already gotten to work on:

Conceit Captain | 10 achievement points – Find an example of a published poem in a bookshop assignment that uses a central conceit.  Hand in a copy of the poem (including the author’s name and the source of the poem), with a three-sentence description of the conceit of the poem.  If I can Google the title of the poem and the term “conceit” to find your example, you haven’t earned this achievement.

Dirty Limerick | 5 achievement points – Write a limerick.  It doesn’t have to be dirty.  Seriously.  Not all limericks are dirty.  This poem will not count toward scheduled poem checkpoints.

Elegaic Eye | 10 achievement points – Find an example of a published poem in a bookshop assignment that serves as an elegy.  Write a bookshop entry on elegy, or hand in a copy of the poem (including the author’s name and the source of the poem), with a three-sentence description of how you determined this is an elegy.  If I can Google the title of the poem and the term “elegy” to find your example, you haven’t earned this achievement.

Epigram: Shorter is Sweeter | 10 achievement points – Find three examples of epigrams that amuse you.  Then, write your own epigram.  This poem will not count toward scheduled poem checkpoints.

Erasure E as  e | 5 achievement points – Perform an erasure on a poem you wrote about for bookshop.  This poem will not count toward scheduled poem checkpoints.

Found Without Being Lost | 5 achievement points – Write a found poem.

Four-malist | 60 achievement points – Hand in poems written in established forms at four scheduled poem checkpoints.  Forms must be ten lines or longer, which excludes short forms like haiku and limerick.  These may include abecedarians, villanelles, sonnets, pantoums, sestinas, rondeaus, terza rima, or ghazals.

Inventor | 25 achievement points – Write a poem that invents a new form.  Include a description of that form which details the devices that must be used

Influential Inventor | 5 achievement points – Have a classmate use your invented form at a scheduled poem checkpoint.  The classmate will earn credit toward the Four-malist achievement.

I’ll probably create lower-value achievements for each individual form.

Personification In Action | 10 achievement points – Find an example of a published poem in a bookshop assignment where the poet uses personfication.  Write a bookshop entry on personification, or hand in a copy of the poem (including the author’s name and the source of the poem), with a three-sentence description of how you determined this was an example of personification.  If I can Google the title of the poem and the term “personification” to find your example, you haven’t earned this achievement.

Refrain from Smoking | 10 achievement points – Find an example of a published poem in a bookshop assignment where the poet uses a refrain.  Write a bookshop entry on refrain, or hand in a copy of the poem (including the author’s name and the source of the poem), with refrain lines highlighted and a short description of the effect of the refrain.  If I can Google the title of the poem and the term “refrain” to find your example, you haven’t earned this achievement.

Did I forget certain poetic devices that it would be easy to demonstrate some mastery of?  Let me know in the comments!  Any other kind of feedback would be welcome.

Comments (3)

  1. Pingback: RossWhite.com » Intro to Poetry: The Bookshop

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  3. Pingback: Intro to Poetry: Some Other Achievements | Ross White

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