Teaching “Entre Ville” by J. R. Carpenter

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Read I ♥ E-Poetry entry on “Entre Ville”

This lesson plan– the first in the E-Lit for ESL series— takes advantage of J.R. Carpenter’s polyphonic approach to the city to introduce the characteristics of e-literature, to provide some reading strategies and to encourage the use of digital tools in writing. The text “Saint Urban Street Heat” and its multiple vignettes that can be explored become a resource for reviewing the use of adjectives and presenting hyphenated adjectives to students.

This resource has been designed for teenagers and adults with at least an intermediate proficiency level. Its activities include:

  • the use of pre-reading strategies,
  • the reading of “Saint Urban Street Heat” in print and then within “Entre Ville,”
  • the reflection of the author’s experiences in her work,
  • the introduction to hyphenated adjectives, and
  • the elaboration of a collage using PowerPoint and digital materials provided by the students.

Access the Teaching “Entre Ville” lesson plan.

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New Series: E-Lit for ESL

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The purpose of the E-Lit for ESL series– a branch of the E-Lit Pedagogy CFP– is to offer teaching resources for ESL based on the works featured in I ♥ E-Poetry. These materials will consist on highly adaptable lesson plans which seek to:

  • develop proficiency in any of the four basic language skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking),
  • introduce grammar structures and vocabulary, and
  • integrate digital literacy in high school and college ESL classrooms.

These lesson plans are designed to be modular, describing activities without predetermined time periods, in order to make them adaptable to multiple environments– age groups, proficiency levels, course objectives, and educational contexts. Teachers will be able to select the activities they want to implement and decide whether a task can be performed during a class session or as an assignment.

We welcome feedback and suggestions on how to improve these lesson plans. Please use the Contact form to do so.

iPoe: Effecting the Text

iPoe by Play Creatividad
iPoe by Play Creatividad

The Play Creatividad Editions are more than illustrated editions of Edgar Allan Poe’s texts. The reader can interact with the illustrations to discover what lies beneath (and, Poe being Poe, what lies beneath is generally a nasty surprise). The tales have been supplied with sound and music. But not with the kind of music that one would expect of a repetitive video game: each text has its own piece with a mood and rhythm that complements it perfectly. It is a labor that requires ideas, but also talent and love.

If we take “The Oval Portrait,” for example, the music is sweet and haunting, ultimately sad. The opening of the story, which describes the “chateau” in which the narrator will discover the oval portrait, is set over a grey scene on the background of which is the mansion, illuminated by the moon and surrounded by grey pine trees. In many of the illustrations, the movement of the device causes them to shift their angle. When we least expect it, the howl of the wolf merges with the melody.

The opening of "The Oval Portrait" in iPoe
The opening of “The Oval Portrait” in iPoe

As we advance in the tale, we discover that some of the phrases of the story are emphasized by using a darker and larger font. Eventually, the candlelight, allows us to illuminate the oval portrait, just after the narrator has discovered it.

The degree to which “The Oval Portrait” achieves the merging of the interactive features and multimedia elements with the original text  goes beyond what the reader would expect. In a print edition, for example, we read:

And then the brush was given, and then the tint was placed; and, for one moment, the painter stood entranced before the work which he had wrought; but in the next, while he yet gazed, he grew tremulous and very pallid, and aghast, and crying with a loud voice: ‘This is indeed Life itself!’ turned suddenly to regard his beloved:- She was dead!

This could be modified with clever design, but in iPoe, we have a story presented with skilled subtlety.  In one screen we have:

And then the brush was given, and then the tint was placed; and, for one moment, the painter stood entranced before the work which he had wrought; but in the next, while he yet gazed, he grew tremulous and very pallid, and aghast, and crying with a loud voice:

"The Oval Portrait" in iPad
“The Oval Portrait” in iPad

The typography of the last phrases bold and increasing in size (in the iPhone version, the iPad has the same size through that paragraph, as it can be seen in the image above) perhaps referring to the state of excitement exhibited by the character.  In the next page we have the portrait, covering blurry letters.

The portrait in "The Oval Portrait," photographed in an iPad.
The portrait in “The Oval Portrait,” photographed in an iPad.

The reader is forced to move the portrait out of place to discover the dead woman and the text above the corpse: “‘This is indeed Life itself!’ turned suddenly to regard his beloved:- She was dead!”

The end of "The Oval Portrait" in iPoe, photographed in an iPad.
The end of “The Oval Portrait” in iPoe, photographed in an iPad.

The wonder is of iPoe’s “The Oval Portrait” is that it can enhance the reader’s experience. This is not just Poe’s text in a new edition, it is Poe for the 21st century reader. I, for one, will never teach Poe from print again.

Literaturtidsskriftet Lasso Interview

Cover for Litteraturtidskriftet LASSO #2 - 2013 Digital
Cover for LASSO #2 – 2013 Digital

I was recently (March 25 – April 9, 2013) interviewed via e-mail by Pia Sophie Berg, a student at the University of Oslo and writer in the student-run literary journal Litteraturtidsskriftet LASSO. The interview (an abridged version of it) was published in the issue depicted above. I have scanned the published interview– abridged due to lack of space in the publication– and included the rest of the interview in this document, available online via Scribd.

This interview should be of interest to literature students curious (and perhaps anxious) about e-literature, regular readers of this blog, and anyone who teaches e-literature. In the interview I discuss the following topics:

  • I ♥ E-Poetry’s title, particularly the use of the “♥”.
  • Its goal of accelerating a literary and cultural shift towards the digital.
  • A definition of e-literature written for literature students.
  • Advice for current literature students on how to prepare for the (already ongoing) “digital turn.”
  • I ♥ E-Poetry role in meeting the need for content curation.
  • Answers to the FAQs:
    • “How do you choose what to publish?”
    • “Do you have to ‘like’ the piece to publish it on your blog?”

Share and Enjoy!

I ♥ E-Poetry’s Summer of Pedagogy

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Since completing the first phase of the I ♥ E-Poetry project, which consisted of a 500-day critical writing performance that resulted in a resource with over 500 works of e-literature, I have been busy migrating the blog from Tumblr to WordPress, inviting guest contributions through two CFP, developing new ways to access the content, and developing partnerships, visualizations, and resources to make the project a more valuable and user-friendly resource for the teaching of e-literature.

One of these resources will be a presentation for the E-Poetry 2013 Pedagogy Colloquium, titled “Teaching with I ♥ E-Poetry.” I have included a draft of the presentation slideshow, which will be a Pecha Kucha (20 slides, 20 seconds per slide). I will make an updated version available with voice recording after the presentation on June 17, 2013.

[slideshare id=22086999&doc=teachingwithie-poetry-130528152248-phpapp01]

This presentation is a piece of a summer-long development in the project, during which I will write about:

  • Metadata: categories, publication venues, technologies, genres, and series
  • Pedagogy: assignments, resources, reading lists, new groupings of works
  • Scholarship: critical methods, scholarly resources
  • E-lit Courses: syllabi, writing assignments, student writings, assigned materials, topics

My goal is to develop I ♥ E-Poetry into a powerful teaching resource for those interested in teaching and learning about electronic literature and its poetics.

I invite feedback on this phase of the project, particularly in the form of suggestions for E-lit course websites, syllabi, resources, and even requests for entries on specific categories or aspects of the project. Please use the contact form to offer your input.

And in the Fall 2013, I’ll launch the next stage in the I ♥ E-Poetry project!

The I ♥ E-Poetry Writing Assignment

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If you teach electronic literature, consider having your students write an I ♥ E-Poetry entry.

Contact me if you’d like to propose a specific focus for your class to write about– an e-lit archive, current or past ‘zines, a writer or group of writers, genre, methodology, platform, etc. Perhaps we can put together a special “issue” of I ♥ E-Poetry on your topic.

Share the ♥.