Paper 3/Digital Project

CLICK HERE: Printable Assignment Sheet

Paper #3: Be Interested…An Investigation!

For the last paper of the semester, I’d like to encourage every single person in this class to really play with the idea that “everything has the potential to be interesting.” I know that many of you find “poetry” to be perhaps the furthest thing from interesting possible, but now’s your chance to “transform what would otherwise seem mundane and unremarkable into an opportunity for thoughtful reflection.”

Step One: Select one specific poem that you either love or feel very interested in.

Some sites you might visit to find poems…

The Poetry Foundation

Electronic Poetry Center

Pennsound (audio & video recordings)

Step Two: You must do some research on your chosen poem. Visit the library, search JSTOR and other databases, find at least one article or source on your poem (or writer). What do these “critical” sources tell you about your topic? What thesis is proven in these sources? Do you agree or disagree with the point of view presented? Why or why not?

Step Three: What made you pick the poem you’ve chosen to write about? The answer to this question should help you to formulate a thesis or opinion about the work, an argument that makes an opinionated statement about your chosen subject.

Keep in mind that this assignment is purposely vague—I wanted our last paper of the semester to really give you some room to explore a topic or question of your own choosing. But, please make sure that your paper is specific and opinion-driven. You should think about how to use the research you’ve done in order to support your own ideas.

It is not acceptable to think of a thesis as a statement like: “Anne Waldman is one of the best living poets because her work is strong and powerful.” A more successful thesis might be something like: “Anne Waldman’s Fast Speaking Woman is a poem that has stood the test of time, presenting a litany-esque critique of women’s roles (in all their variousness) in society—an open form that is timeless in its assertions of gender equality and a poem that should be a mantra for all women growing up in American society.”

Cover Letters: At this point in the semester, I think you know what I expect of cover letters. Each draft must have one. Each cover letter should serve as an opportunity for you to tell the reader what you think you achieved in the paper and what you need help with.

ROUGH DRAFT DUE:  Monday, April 29 (5-7 pages, bring 3 copies to class)


FINAL DRAFT DUE: Wednesday, May 8 (5-7 pages typed)

I will not accept any papers later than May 8, 2013.

I will not accept this final draft via email.

You MUST hand this paper in on May 8, in class!


The DIGITAL Component

OPTION ONE: The Digital Essay

What is a “digital essay”?

A digital essay (in the context of this course) is a piece of work that uses audio, video, text, and/or images. Your goal for this project should be to create a short film that essentially illustrates the thesis of your research paper visually. Your digital essay should be two to three minutes long.

How do I do this? I don’t have a camera! I don’t have the right software!

Video Cameras: You may borrow a Hitachi camcorder from the Newman Library. All you need to do is go to the Circulation Desk on the 2nd Floor and request one. You are permitted to borrow it for three days, with the possibility of renewal.

Production Information:

  1. As you know, a movie is a short video or film that includes actors and has some semblance of a narrative or plot. To do this successfully you might want to ask some friends to help you out and draft a “script” or choreograph what will happen when and where.
  2. Select the tools you will you use create, edit, and share your project. We will review these tools in class.  The tools that are available are all free and user friendly, so do not worry if this is your first digital project!
  3. Make sure to visit the “Digital Project Resources” page on the class siteeverything you need to know (regarding “how to”) is there!


The purpose of embarking on this “digital essay” project is to give you the chance to explore your thesis statement visually—using images instead of words. Another way of thinking about this might be do try to make something you cannot do or accomplish through paper and print alone. You might want to try to imagine your content—what does this look like visually? What images do you see? What images do you need to depict your main point?

A few examples:

“Unnatural Enemy” (based on a poem by Anne Waldman):

“Speak and Be Heard” (based on a poem by Audre Lorde):

“Mankind Destroys & Saves the Earth” (based on a poem by Tracy K. Smith):

“We Real Cool” (based on a poem by Gwendolyn Brooks):

“The Barbie Complex”:

When you post your completed digital project, please make sure to also post a reflective process note—let your viewer know how and why you made what you made and what you hoped to accomplish in this visual medium.

OPTION TWO: Making a 3D Object

If you prefer to actually create a “physical” object, and try your hand as producer, instead of making a short film, for the “digital” component of the paper, I invite you to try your hand at creating a physical object that represents the central idea of your essay. You will need to draft a 3D object of your own—this means that you can either create something from “scratch” or use a design you find on a site like “thingiverse” and edit it. You will then need to take screenshots of your process and be prepared to present how and why you made what you made, when your classmates are showing their films.

Depending on how many students opt for the 3D option, we will figure out how to print these objects when the time comes. 3D printing is very time consuming, so is lots of people make 3D objects, not all projects will be able to be printed by the semester’s end.

DUE:   All digital projects must be posted to the class blog no later than 9AM on Monday, May 13

3 Responses to Paper 3/Digital Project

  1. aw143129 says:

    does the poem we pick have to be related to New York City or do we have the freedom to choose anything

  2. EKaufman says:

    You can choose anything!

  3. NastShcher says:

    For Monday do we have a blog or response paper due? And in what format should it be done?

Comments are closed.