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English

While a speaker might be identified and a place or character or characters introduced, that isn’t always the case- such things are often omitted, in fact.

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In this assignment, you will choose one of the short stories we have discussed from the Future Primitive anthology (or one that we haven’t discussed, if you prefer) and a poem that we have not discussed from the selections I have chosen from the Ecopoetry Anthology as a ‘compare-and-contrast’ exercise. You can and perhaps should refer to the introductions to both of these volumes; you may also introduce other sources if you wish (if they are relevant, of course). Both of the pieces you have selected are supposed to address some of the environmental issues we have been discussing, albeit in very different ways, but now, of course, we are moving into fiction rather than (strictly) fact-based materials (nonfiction). Both poetry and short stories may refer to ‘real’ events and real persons (though the short stories we have read thus far, at least, do not), but they can and do depart from the world as we know it, sometimes radically so.
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What issue or issues do/does your short story and poem address? How do you know that- what evidence in the poem and short story supports your claims? Is one of them much better than the other? Why? How do various literary devices (again, that includes things like metaphor, simile, personification, alliteration, tone, diction, and so on) help or hinder these works?
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A poem, of course, really relies on such devices; that’s why students and teachers of literature often think of poetry as more, well, literary: it is a much more difficult form to compose and one that necessarily relies on compression- most poems (epic poems are the exception) are very compact and relatively short. While a speaker might be identified and a place or character or characters introduced, that isn’t always the case- such things are often omitted, in fact. A poem doesn’t usually have much of a plot, either; the goal of the poem is to capture a mood, a moment in time, and insight, an epiphany- things that are often fleeting and ephemeral, by nature.
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A short story, by contrast, almost always has at least one character and some sort of plot (though in much more abbreviated form than a novel). Literary devices are not absent, but may be much harder to see: they are buried in the verbiage, not necessarily ‘out in the open,’ so to speak, as they are in a poem. A short story might also include elements of satire, an allegorical dimension, dialogue (almost always), some sort of character development and so on. It is less “literary,” more accessible: does that make it better, or less “literary,” than a poem? You tell me.
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Other requirements: please include at least two properly formatted quotes from the poem and three or more from the short story; Times New Roman font, double-spaced, MLA format and style, separate Works Cited page.
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Please use ONE of these 10 poems for your essay: “Living Where They Raised Me” by Julianna Baggott; “As Children Know” by Jimmy Santiago Baca (note that the end of the poem came out upside-down on the next page- sorry, some weird scanner issue); “Birdsong from My Patio” by Ellen Bass; “Water” and “The Peace of Wild Things” by Wendell Berry; “Ezra Pound’s Proposition” and “Exit, Pursued by a Sierra Meadow” by Robert Haas; “Three Foxes by the Edge of the Field at Twilight” by Jane Hirshfield; “Romantic Moment” and “Wild” by Tony Hoagland.
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NOTE: The names of the poets do *not* always appear on the page with the poem- please see the list above to make sure you have the right poet with the right poem. DO NOT use any of the other poems that appear here- sometimes I had to include other poems to get the ones I wanted. Just stick to the list! When in doubt, ask.

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