Link to University of Washington
Information for Current and Prospective Students
Puget Sound Writing Project
Course Portfolios
London Theatre and Concert Tour
About Me
Contact Information


English 270 A, Fall, 2014

Assignments and Updates

See also: Blackboard

(Back to Main 270 page)

This page has the most up-to-date information available on this website. Please check this page frequently throughout the quarter!!

(Information on this page will be listed in reverse chronological order--beware!)

For help with grammar and mechanics for ELL/ESL students, try:

or our own OWRC's page:

Tuesday, October 14:

Reading: Reading: Robert Frost, "Design," page 70 of PP 2.

Writing: Two tasks: first, having read the poem, give me three What's and Why's, and take a guess at what you think it might be about. Then, write out as best you can a phonetic transcription of the poem using the International Phonetic Alphabet we have been practicing over the past week (I know you will not be perfect!).

Make sure at least one of your noticings has to do with how Frost uses the sounds of English.

NOTE: I know this will be hard to do--so get as far as you can, and we'll work on the transcriptions in class. We will also pay attention to the form of the poem--its rhyme scheme and its rhythm in each line. (This poem is among the best known poems in all of English literature.)

Thursday, October 9:

Reading: "Catch," by Robert Francis, and "Meeting at Night," by Robert Browning. Both are in Pocketful of Poems, Vol. Two)

Writing: Begin with the same What and Why exercises we have already been doing, but add to this noticings that include sound. The more complicated of the two (though neither is all THAT complicated!) is "Catch." It has lots of sound play. "Meeting at Night" uses sound, too, but more as part of the way he emphasizes and directs, in effect, readers of his poem. Be ready to point to at least three notice-worthy sound effects each poet uses.

Tuesday, October 7:

Reading: Robert Burns, "Oh, My Love Is Like a Red, Red Rose," and Dorothy Parker, "One Perfect Rose." (Both are in Pocketful of Poems, Vol. 1)

Writing: Here we have another pair of poems that share much but are very different. So, the assignment is the same as for last week's Tiger poems, but also a little different:

For each poem, notice three choices (Whats) that you think might be worth attention. Then for each, write a short paragraph exploring Why you think the poet may have made that choice. What work does that choice do to make the poem more interesting?

Then for each of the poems, Think about roses. We have talked in class about "semantic features" of words--tigers have a number of features: ferocious, carnivorous, scary, but also beautiful, svelt, even symmetrical (because of the stripes). They are also four-legged, have tails, have retractile claws, sleep 20 hours a day.

Some of those are "relevant" to the uses Blake makes of the word, and some are relevant to what Rich does. But some are NOT relevant to either one or the other or both (like "have tails").

So, what features of roses are NOT relevant to Burns? What features of roses are NOT relevant to Parker? Give me three irrelevant features of each.

Thursday, October 2:

Reading: A RE-reading of both the poems you wrote about yesterday.

Writing: For the two Tiger poems: you'll now write your second "response paper." Here I want you first to reread the two poems, and to focus on the tigers. Blake's Tyger and Rich's tigers are obviously similar, but they are also different. Use this as a way to NOTICE what each poet is doing. List as many similarities and differences between their "tigers" as you can.

Example: Blake's Tyger is represented as powerful and dangerous, created by a divine blacksmith. Rich's tigers are not as frightsome. Indeed, they are "topaz denizens." Look up topaz to be sure you know what it means. Which of Rich's words for her tigers might Blake use? Which would he NOT use? Which of Blake's words for his tiger would Rich use? or NOT use?

Again, this is an ECI assignment--do what you can, and we'll talk more in class.

Tuesday, September 30:

Reading: First, the syllabus (see the English 270 page). Quiz on the syllabus for Tuesday.

Second, the two Tiger/Tyger poems I assigned on Thursday.

Writing: For the syllabus, no writing, but be prepared for a quiz!

For the two Tiger poems, you'll write your first "response paper." This is step one towards becoming a better reader and writer—every one of you here will benefit from this in several different ways, and some of you will benefit more than others. You will do these very frequently—and doing so will build your reading and writing skills better and faster than any other single thing we do.

Because this is your first response paper, some of you will be a little cautious or even resistant. You may even think it risky.

But it is not.

The criterion for response papers is "ECI"—Engaged Critical Intelligence. Pay attention and do your best, and you've done everything I want! (How hard is that?!)

So, what do you write about these poems? What's and Why's. For each poem, notice three choices that you think might be worth attention. Then for each, write a short paragraph exploring Why you think the poet may have made that choice. What work does that choice do to make the poem more interesting?

(For those of you new to reading poetry, this will seem hard. But don't worry—do the best you can and we'll talk about it on Tuesday.)