WR150: All Poetry is Political Research Paper (Fall 2021)Context In her 1977 essay “Poetry Is Not a Luxury,” Audre Lorde affirms the power ofpoetry, arguing that it is a “vital necessity of our existence. It forms the quality ofthe light within which we predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival andchange, first made into language, then into idea, then into more tangible action.”So, is there a social or political issue that you’re already passionate about or wantto learn more about? Is there a public policy or recent event (last 5-10 years) thatyou think needs more attention? Maybe you’d like to use your project to exploreyour own involvement in a particular community.Ideally, the topic of your Research Paper–and ultimately, your poems in the nextproject–is one that you believe other people need to know and keep thinkingabout as well.Purpose The Research Paper will do four things:● Introduce the Design Thinking process● Showcase the critical skills you’ve been working on in the WR sequence(critical analysis, synthesis of multiple sources and viewpoints, effectiveresearch, revision)● Generate knowledge about the topic of the poems you’ll draft in Unit 3and refine in Unit 4 or generate understanding about a contemporarypoetry collection● Provide raw material and/or inspiration for your poemsTask Write a 1500-word essay (+/- 10%) responding to one of the following prompts:● Option 1 (Topic): Build a researched investigation into a particular topicthat you feel passionate about or that you want to learn more about.This topic will be your focus in the Unit 3 poems.● Option 2 (Craft): Build a researched investigation into a particular poetrycollection. You can browse the poetry sections of one of the greatindependent bookstores nearby (Trident, Brookline Booksmith, HarvardBook Store, Porter Square Books) to find a book that looks interesting,order a copy of a book by one of the poets we’ve recently read (e.g.,danez smith, Diana Khoi Nguyen, Fatimah Asghar, Ocean Vuong), or see ifthe library has a copy. I’m also happy to recommend books based on your1WR150: All Poetry is Political Research Paper (Fall 2021)interests. This book will provide inspiration and potential models for yourUnit 3 poems.In writing your essay, aim to explore a specific question about your topic orbook, directed at a general audience of educated readers.Process We will break this project up into many steps, including brainstorming andresearching topics, annotating potential sources, presenting our ideas in a shortvideo, workshopping and revising successively longer drafts of the paper, andreflecting on our process. Please see the Daily Schedule in the syllabus for linksto specific assignments.Deadline The final version is due on Blackboard as Exercise 17 on Sunday, 11/7 by 11:59PM.Comments● In creating a research question, consider a topic or a book that you genuinelywant to learn more about. Regardless of which option you choose, you will bemaking a conceptual argument, which means you won’t be telling readers whatto do to change the world—you’ll be showing them how to understand aparticular issue or a poet’s treatment of an issue better.● Focus is crucial. Accept that you can’t say everything there is to say about thetopic or book. Instead, strive to look at a particular aspect.● If you need research help, schedule an appointment with Paula Carey([email protected]) or browse our course guide.● Do not assume that your audience has read any particular text, which meansyou’ll need to offer some context.● As you draft, consider looking at the WR150/151/152 essays in the WR journalfor ideas on analysis and structure.Labor Opportunities● Consider conducting an interview with an expert on your topic if you’ve selectedOption 1. This labor is worth 1 unit.● Consider reviewing a writing skill we’ll be focusing on (introductions, academicintegrity, integrating sources, paragraph structure). This labor is worth 1 unit.2WR150: All Poetry is Political Research Paper (Fall 2021)● Visit the CAS Writing Center for help at any stage in the process—brainstorming,planning, drafting. Each visit is worth 1 unit, repeatable up to 3 times thissemester.● Partner up with another student to exchange feedback on a complete draft ofyour essay before the final version is due. This labor is worth 1 unit per exchange.● You are also welcome to schedule a conference with your instructor forfeedback on your essay. This labor is also worth 1 unit.Assessment While your paper will not receive a grade, you will receive feedback on thequality (scope, depth, and relevance) of your research, the cohesiveness of yourvision, and the compelling interplay between your sources. Your assignmentshould do the following:● Title: Indicates topic and focus● 3-5 Keywords: Reflect topic and focus, return throughout essay● Introduction: Incorporates Swales’ 3 research moves (present theterritory/scholarly conversation you’re entering, a niche or gap you planto occupy, then a description of how you will occupy that niche)● Argument: Takes a chance and explore a line of thinking that mightsurprise or provoke readers; Demonstrates nuanced understanding of thetexts you reference● Body Paragraphs: Use textual evidence and analysis to support claim(s);engage with sources by adequately summarizing and responding to theirpertinent ideas● Organization: Attentive to coherence within and across paragraphs and toprogression of paper’s “story”● Conclusion: Attempts to do more than summarize argument; considerspotential significance of your research/argument and leaves the door ajarfor further thinking● Works Cited: Uses correct MLA8 format (no need to include annotationsfrom Research Proposal) or other citation style consistently; see samplepaper on OWL● Includes word count● Carefully proofreads all work● Completes all stages in the schedule on time (including uploading draftsand final version)3
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