3-Part Invention

Write a three-part poem or prose piece.

  • Part 1: the animal.
  • Part 2: the abyss.
  • Part 3: you.

Using formal constraints that echo our conceptual framework, synthesize the insights and power of rhetorical representation (both your own and that of others) with the insights yielded by direct observation to explore the intersections of human and non-human animals, as well as artist and subject.

Content Requirements:
Keeping in mind the experience of writing ekphrastically, now write in response to the actual animal you are studying. Consider the actual animal as you have the representation of that animal. During direct observation of the animal you are studying, consider form, color, pattern, background, foreground. Notice everything. Make lists.

Write reflectively about the animal. Synthesize what you have observed.

Now write about your experience of seeing the animal and being an animal. What do you associate with this animal? Notice your feelings, memories, ideas, preconceptions…. Associate specific feelings with past personal experiences. Mine these experiences for insights. Write about these.

Use various techniques to get at something true about both you and the animal: concrete description, questioning, persona, figurative language (metaphor and simile). Consider the “abyss” and include what you do not know, cannot see, wonder about, and imagine.

Now go back and write the gap. What questions and mysteries are between you and the animal? What feelings, ideas, preconceptions separate you? What things connect you?

What theme unifies these parts? What is the piece about?

Formal Requirements

  • Length: no longer than two pages, typed.
  • Must be in response to direct observation of the actual animal.
  • Three discrete parts or “movements” that together form a cohesive whole.

Formatting Requirements

  • Include your name, group (“Chipmunk” or “Swallow”), title, and the date.
  • This work will become a part of your Animal Book after going through peer and faculty critique, where it may be written longhand.

Submission Guidelines

  • Due Monday of Week 5 by 4pm.
  • Share text with small peer critique group via Moodle forum.
  • Bring 1 hardcopy of your own work to class on Tuesday.
  • Bring hardcopies of each small peer critique group member’s work (2-3 pieces) to class on Tuesday, with comments.

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