Hello world!


This is a poem by British poet, John Clare, that I ran across last year. I love the essence of his work. To understand this poem is to understand me.


Bing–Maybe they should teach pedagogy, too!


Every time I see a commercial for Bing—the whole information overload. We hear so much all the time about what good writing is and what not. I wonder if the students are like the Dad in the following commercial that I just saw. His daughter talks about a smart phone having all the necessary components she needs to stay organized and up-to-date on events.

I think whoever the ad agency is that has created these string of Bing commercials has created a metaphor for not only our entire existence in western society, but perhaps for teaching writing, too.

What do you think?


What it is….electracy.



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A Computer in Every Classroom and an iPad in Every Hand….






1984—that’s the year I learned what a computer was. 

Bernhardt’s article, “The Shape of Text to Come” parallels Jeff Rice’s ideas in his book, The Rhetoric of Cool, so much so that I think he picks up where Bernhardt left off. What strikes me still is the initial advertising campaign for the first typewriters to hit the market. They were advertised as a tool to help bring forth literacy in children. Education and society were reluctant to believe in it. 



“Such reading-to-do is more like making raids on print than having extended engagements with a writer’s ideas or arguments” (Bernhardt 153).

“Pedagogy in the Computer Network Classroom” by Janet Eldred talks about what Blackboard was like in the beginning as an electronic bulletin board—similar to that of Craig’s List. It’s interesting that the tips that Eldred suggests instructors to do, like a required number of posts with a specific word count and student facilitation of a discussion, is EXACTLY what we do today. It seems that the pedagogy hasn’t changed in the last 20 years. I think it’s time for a change. We have all ran into a brick wall at some time or another dealing with the Blackboard limitations. Need I say more? 


Christine Haas’s article, “How the Writing Medium Shapes the Writing Process” could take a few typography tips from Bernhardt’s article when it comes to the crossover of writing to graphic designing. The look of it turned me off to the point where I didn’t even want to read it. Talk about the limitations of the printed word, lack of interactivity, etc. She discussed the results of a survey about how useful  the computer is during the writing process and states that even though a piece may look polished and cleaned up, that doesn’t mean the content is there (9). No surprise there. The problems she points out in the studies she analyzes are ones that students still encounter today, like not being familiar with software which inhibits the writing process (17). Quite frankly, it’s no surprise to me that she found that writers do less planning when writing electronically (35). I think it’s just because of the visual effect of the words. If it looks good, it must read well.


I believe basic writers should be forced to do some form of pre-writing manually as well as electronically. As Rice illustrates so beautifully in his book, students make the connections to images at a higher than they may be able to do so in the written format. Basically, a picture is worth a thousand words. The electronic pre-writing could be something like an electronic collage with images and quotes to help inspire the writer.


McGee and Ericsson’s article on “The Politics of the Program: MS Word as the Invisible Grammarian” discusses we as writers and students already know. They predicted what has become an epidemic as worthy as the plague when it comes to basic writers. Spell-check is contagious. Once you get it, you never learn how to think for yourself again. Well, maybe not so drastically. I think Bartholomae’s technique to get Standard American English recognized by his students would work well to cure this problem. Make students read out loud! To each other. It would work if it was started early on in learning the writing process. Then, maybe students wouldn’t think that the only thing that separates their poorly written piece from Stephen King or some other notable writer is a good editor and spell-check.


There will be a computer in every classroom and an iPad in every hand. Just like Herbert Hoover promised in his 1928 presidential campaign, “A chicken in every pot and a car in every garage.” He claimed that everyone would be prosperous under a Hoover presidency, which obviously didn’t happen—thus “Hoovervilles” (shanty towns) and “Hoover blankets” (newspapers). That’s what Clinton proposed, at least the modern equivalent to it today. It hasn’t happened the way that anyone proposed in the 1990s, let alone today, as Cynthia Selfe’s article “Technology and Literacy: A Story About The Perils of Not Paying Attention” starts off with. She makes a lot of good points, but I feel like I’ve heard it all before. Don’t you? 


Poems About Writing



A person, for you, is a book.
Impossible to categorize,
it veers from non-sense verse
to the most tedious of novels
and back
in just a breath.
And the book ends, the book ends.
And what makes the person more real,
than a book,
is just that you cannot re-read
one chapter, one sentence, one word.
You must re-write him,
and you cannot.
This inability is the source
of everything you have to say.

Joe Wenderoth


Langston Hughes (1902-1967)

The instructor said,

Go home and write
a page tonight.
And let that page come out of you?
Then, it will be true.

I wonder if it’s that simple?
I am twenty-two, colored, born in Winston-Salem.
I went to school there, then Durham, then here
to this college on the hill above Harlem.
I am the only colored student in my class.
The steps from the hill lead down into Harlem,
through a park, then I cross St. Nicholas,
Eighth Avenue, Seventh, and I come to the Y,
the Harlem Branch Y, where I take the elevator
up to my room, sit down, and write this page:

It’s not easy to know what is true for you or me
at twenty-two, my age. But I guess I’m what
I feel and see and hear, Harlem, I hear you:
hear you, hear me—we two—you, me, talk on this page.
(I hear New York, too.) Me—who?
Well, I like to eat, sleep, drink, and be in love.
I like to work, read, learn, and understand life.
I like a pipe for a Christmas present,
or records—Bessie, bop, or Bach.
I guess being colored doesn’t make me not like
the same things other folks like who are other races.
So will my page be colored that I write?

Being me, it will not be white.
But it will be
a part of you, instructor.
You are white—
yet a part of me, as I am a part of you.
That’s American.
Sometimes perhaps you don’t want to be a part of me.
Nor do I often want to be a part of you.
But we are, that’s true!
As I learn from you,
I guess you learn from me—
although you’re older—and white—
and somewhat more free.

This is my page for English B.

Graded Paper

Mark Halliday (b. 1949)

On the whole this is quite successful work:
your main argument about the poet’s ambivalence?
how he loves the very things he attacks?
is most persuasive and always engaging.

At the same time,
there are spots
where your thinking becomes, for me,
alarmingly opaque, and your syntax seems to jump
backwards through unnecessary hoops,
as on p. 2 where you speak of “precognitive awareness
not yet disestablished by the shell that encrusts
each thing that a person actually says”
or at the top of p. 5 where your discussion of
“subverbal undertow miming the subversion of self-belief
woven counter to desire’s outreach”
leaves me groping for firmer footholds.
(I’d have said it differently,
or rather, said something else.)
And when you say that women “could not fulfill themselves” (p.6)
“in that era” (only forty years ago, after all!)
are you so sure that the situation is so different today?
Also, how does Whitman bluff his way into
your penultimate paragraph? He is the last poet
I would have quoted in this context!
What plausible way of behaving
does the passage you quote represent? Don’t you think
literature should ultimately reveal possiblities for action?

Please notice how I’ve repaired your use of semicolons.

And yet, despite what may seem my cranky response,
I do admire the freshness of
your thinking and your style; there is
a vitality here; your sentences thrust themselves forward
with a confidence as impressive as it is cheeky. . . .
You are not
me, finally,
and though this is an awkward problem, involving
the inescapable fact that you are so young, so young
it is also a delightful provocation.