There are 11 written assignments throughout the course. The first 10 are respons

There are 11 written assignments throughout the course. The first 10 are responses to readings in online literary journals. Each response should be a minimum of 2 pages, single spaced. Your job is to select a journal of your choice for each response, read as much of it as you can, and write an informal response.
Take some time looking through the journals linked on this webpage. These assignments will be much easier for you if you explore the various journals, and then zero in on those that interest you. If you don’t do this and simply look at an arbitrary journal chosen at random, it might be full of material you don’t like, and writing a response is going to be more difficult.
These responses are not supposed to be written like “book reports”, or “English papers”, however those genres might have been expected of you in the past. Nor are these supposed to be summaries. Think of them as informal letters where you give yourself time to think about what you’re reading. Raise questions, express your immediate reactions, be honest about what you’re thinking. But also give yourself some time to reflect upon what you read. Read some of the selections more than once, and pay attention to how your thinking evolves and changes as a result.
You might think about responding in one of these three ways: text to text, text to self, text to the world. Here’s what’s meant by that:
Text-to-text: Write about how the texts you’re reading compare or contrast or relate to other texts you’re familiar with (literature, film, television, art, music, etc–we’ll refer to all of these things as “texts”).
Text-to-self: Write about how the texts relate, or not, to your own experiences, or family, or personal interests.
Text-to-world: Write about how the texts bring to mind things happening in the world (past or present, or even possible future scenarios.)
You don’t have to choose one of these and adhere to it throughout the response; these are just prompts to get you thinking. A good response might include all of these; then again, it could focus on just one area.
Push yourself to read as much as possible in each journal, and to respond to as much of it as possible.
The point behind these responses is primarily to be exposed to a bunch of writing and thinking that will be new to you. The goal isn’t necessarily to “figure it out” and “solve” the texts, as if there were some secret answer embedded within that you have to decipher. You might approach the stuff you read in a manner similar in how some approach new music: you listen to it, and have certain immediate reactions; then, on repeated listenings, you think about it differently. It’s okay of course to dislike some of this work, and even be baffled at first by a lot of it. All of your responses are legitimate. But always be aware that your immediate, off the cuff thoughts are often going to be different upon further reflection. Bear in mind that reading and thinking about this stuff is a process; regard these texts as catalysts for ongoing thinking.
As you write be specific and precise. Don’t just write simple statements like “I liked this poem,” or “I don’t know what the hell is going on here” and leave it at that. Follow that up with details, questions. What exactly about it was “good” or “frustrating” or “confusing”? What’s going on in the text that makes you question something, or provokes a certain reaction? Use these responses as a space for your thoughts to develop and evolve so that, in the course of writing those 2 single-spaced pages, oftentimes you’ll end up with ideas and insights that you didn’t have when you started writing.
All of these journals are available online. Some of these issues you can read right in your browser; sometimes you might have to download a pdf. For each week’s response, pick a journal to read. Remember, each week quickly browse through some of the journals before you make your selection–if you simply pick an arbitrary journal you might find yourself writing about work that doesn’t interest you. (There’s a lot of variety in these journals; not all of them will be your cup of tea. The more you familiarize yourself with them first, the better your chances of writing about work that appeals to you.)
Read as much as you can from a single issue. I’m expecting you to give yourself a good 2 hours a week to read through an issue of a journal. (It’s okay if at first you get a little bit lost as you click around and explore these journals; some sites will take a few minutes to get used to.) Then, write a response to what you’ve read. You aren’t expected to write about everything you read in the journal, but do as much as you can. You can of course also respond to visual work within the journal.
When you write your two page response (single-spaced), at the top be sure to indicate the name of the journal and the link

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