Assignment: Report on 2 Issues of The Common; select and discuss various, particular elements of the literary journal. 6 pages (1,800 words) minimum.
You will select and discuss 6 items, one from each of the categories below. You must write about at least one item from each issue. Choose from among:
—The Common Statement
—Elsewhere (Bombay/Mumbai, New Poems from China, etc.)
Discussion should lead to two results.
1) Analysis and clarification of the material. What is the author saying? What is the author’s intended effects of key words in the text? What do you see as the theme of this story, poem, essay, art or play? What elements contribute to this theme?
2) Response to, and criticism of, the author’s work. What do you think of the author’s techniques? How does this story/poem/essay/art/play make you feel? Why? What connections (harmonies or conflicts) do you find between this author and others with whom you are familiar? What is the piece like?
It is best to attack these two tasks, analysis and criticism, in the order described; after all, we must understand possible readings of the work before we can properly respond or criticize. Keep pulling toward clarification (What does the author mean by…? What is a possible reading of…?) and you will achieve good balance between analysis and criticism.
Adapted from Judy Baumel, Professor of English and Founding Director of Creative Writing, Adelphi University