ENGH 619: Special Topics in Writing
ENGH 619-002: Poetry Daily
01:30 PM to 04:10 PM W
Section Information for Spring 2019
As of January 1, 2019 Poetry Daily, the popular daily online anthology that has been promoting poetry since 1997 at www.poems.com, will be published in partnership with the Mason Department of English’s Creative Writing Program and George Mason University Libraries.
ENGH 619 is a hands-on laboratory course in which students take part in the day-to-day running of the online journal. The course will run every semester. Students who have completed the course will have an advantage in applying for future teaching assistantships dedicated to Poetry Daily as those positions open up.
Central to the plan the new editors at Mason have developed is a broader editorial model, featuring a new sixteen-member editorial board of notable, engaged poets from diverse backgrounds and aesthetic orientations who will become the public face of Poetry Daily.Alongside Jennifer Atkinson, Sally Keith, Eric Pankey, and Susan Tichy, faculty of Mason’s MFA in Creative Writing poetry program, and Aaron Mccullough, director of George Mason University Press and Mason Publishing, Kaveh Akbar, Jennifer Chang, Heather Green, Yona Harvey, Layli Long Soldier, Amaud Jamaul Johnson, Ilya Kaminsky, Sandra Lim, J. Michael Martinez, Vivek Narayanan, and Brian Teare will make up the new editorial board.
While published at Mason, the journal will focus on maintaining the high level of editorial integrity it is known for. In addition, under its new editorial direction, the journal will search for more diverse voices and publications, and feature more translation and global poetry in English, a poetry news digest on twitter that will go out to the site’s over 152,000 followers, which the editors plan to increase, Open Educational Resource curricula based around new editorial features, and more.
Successful students will gain:
- Organizational, publishing, editing, and writing skills useful to later careers in editing and publishing.
- A rich opportunity to develop a range of skills, rotating responsibilities as the course completes the weekly duties of the publication; rather than being assigned a narrow set of duties during the course of the semester, as might occur during a three-month publishing internship.
- Hands-on experience via rotating project-based units focused on editorial assistance, editorial acquisitions, editorial features development, news editing, on-line production, social media-based marketing, financial development, and more.
- An experience negotiating the essential diversity (race, gender, aesthetic, age,...) of a widely distributed publication which will necessarily represent the most diverse rendition of English language poetry, in the United States and around the world, and poetry in translation.
- An extraordinary appreciation of the breadth and scope of contemporary poetry publishing in English vis-a-vis the influx of journals and poetry collections submitted to PD for consideration.
- A “live” experience in thinking through the successful incorporation of Poetry Daily into Mason and the publically successful development of a prominent online journal.
Though the majority of the work for ENGH 619: Poetry Daily will be focused on the project-based, day to day running of the website, students may also be asked to complete assignments such as:
- The completion of 250-500 word micro-reviews for collections they select for feature on the website. Though not (likely) included on the PD Website, these reviews will provide excellent practice in clearly articulating the poetic and thematic concerns of selected book. The micro-review is the format for many journals (Boston Review, Colorado Review) and it is feasible that students could publish their work.
- Presentations on journals from the US and abroad, pitching, in effect, new journals to other editors and reviewing journals already featured by PD.
- Development of sample teaching materials based on Poetry Daily features and for use in elementary, high school and/or college classrooms.
Background on Poetry Daily
The Poetry Daily website showcases a new poem each day on itswww.poems.com. Representing emerging poets as well as the eminent, “poems are chosen from the work of a wide variety of poets published or translated in the English language.”
Since the site was launched April 7, 1997, the mission of Poetry Daily and the Daily Poetry Association, the not-for-profit charitable corporation that publishes the site, has been to “broaden access to and foster appreciation for contemporary poetry.” The site's twitter account, through which it currently broadcasts only the daily poem, has 152,000 followers.
A key component of the website's draw from the outset has also been its poetry news feature, drawn from literary news sources across the US and England. The site also features a weekly essay about poetry.
Poetry Daily's poems come from books, magazines, and journals currently in print, and are selected for topical or seasonal interest, as well as literary quality. Readers find poems by both well-known and emerging poets, and from equally ranging sources: the site pulls work from small, independent chapbook and journal publishers as well as larger commercial publishers. Included with each poem is information about the poet and a small note explaining where the poem published. Links are also provided for participating journals.
According to the site, “Over 1,000 books of poetry are published in the United States alone each year, but they can be difficult to find, even in areas brimming with bookstores.” The mission of Poetry Daily, therefore, is to make the search a whole lot easier.
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Course Information from the University Catalog
Workshop course. Intensive practice in creative writing and study of creative process. Concentrates on specialized literary type other than short story, such as essay, playwriting, film writing, children's literature, travel literature, autobiography, gothic novel, and translation. Notes: Intended for students already writing original creative work. Other interested graduate students should contact the English department at (703) 993-1180. May be repeated for credit with permission of department. May be repeated within the term for a maximum 30 credits.
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