Animal Assignment-Practice of Poetry p97

Animal Assignment-Practice of Poetry p97 - fairy tales,...

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'oj ~J-'" : .• '.' '.~ .\. _ EVOLUTIONS Deborah Digges This assignment was given to me in 1981 by my teacher Larry Levis, who said that his teacher, Philip Levine, had once given it to him. Said Levis via Levine, 'When you can't write, try writing about an animal." Since then I have revised and expanded the assignment for my undergraduates at Tufts University. Assignment: Write a poem in which an animal figures prominently. As you decide on your subject, consider an animal that fascinates, even confuses you, one that incites in you wonder, perhaps even fear. Brainstorm a bit, taking quick notes on any particular experi- ences you've had or heard about in relationship to that animal. Reread stories,
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Unformatted text preview: fairy tales, biology texts, in which your animal appears. Go look at it if you can, or study its features in a book. You might also trace the etymology of its name to discover new fads and information that might trigger your imagination. For instance, squirrel comes from the Latin skia or shadow. Tortoise comes from the Greek iariarchos, meaning god of the underworld. There are risks to this assignment, and once you have your notes/ drafts in front of you, be careful not to begin with the most obvious details. And be careful not to sentimentalize, to usurp the animal you have chosen by turning it into a flaccid symbol for 97...
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