This week we’ll start our third folio task. But first, let’s try an exercise together. Conveniently, this exercise is basically the same as our third folio task Let’s start with a text. This is a poem by Gwendolyn Brooks called “The Crazy Woman” from 1960. (You can also read the poem here: https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/the-crazy-woman/) The Crazy Woman by Gwendolyn Brooks I shall not sing a May song. A May song should be gay. I’ll wait until November And sing a song of gray. I’ll wait until November That is the time for me. I’ll go out in the frosty dark And sing most terribly. And all the little people Will stare at me and say, “That is the Crazy Woman Who would not sing in May.” First of all, I just want you to read it a couple of times. Think about what you think the poem is about and what it’s saying. What do you think Gwendolyn Brooks is trying to communicate? Also note any things that are possibly unclear (eg. the seasons mentioned fit the Northern Hemisphere, so don’t match up with Australia). You can do some research about the poem and/or Gwendolyn Brooks as well if you like. Additional research is always appropriate! Now, once you’ve got a pretty good sense of the poem in your own head. I want you to explain it. eg. What does it mean, what is it trying to say, and why is this interesting and/or relevant? Oh, but I don’t want you to just generally explain it. I don’t want you to write an essay for me. I want you to explain it to these people: Group of People Gathering Inside Bar “Group of People Gathering Inside Bar” by Marcus Herzberg ( That’s a bunch of people gathering in a bar. How are you going to explain the poem to them? Now, some of them might like poetry, of course. But some of them won’t. And anyway, they’re out for a good night, not a poetry lecture! So how are you going to explain the poem to them in a way that gets their attention and makes it seem relevant to them? Or what about these people: People Cheering (sport) “People Cheering” by David Morris ( That’s a bunch of people at a sports event. Again, people who like sports can also like poetry — but they’re here for sport, not poetry! How are you going to explain the poem to them in a way that gets their attention and makes it seem relevant to them? Or these people looking bored on a train, probably going to or from work? Man in Train Standing (with group) “Man in Train Standing” by mentatdgt ( Or these people in party mode at a concert? celebration (concert) “celebration” by Wendy Wei ( We can’t assume that there aren’t plenty of people who like poetry in these groups. But it’s pretty safe to assume that they’re not exactly in poetry-mode in these situations. What I’d like you to do this week, which is also similar to what you’ll be doing for your third folio task, is explain the poem to one of these groups of people. Now, you’ve probably written an essay or two at some point in your life. You know the kind of thing: “In this essay, I will explain Gwendolyn Brooks’ poem “The Crazy Woman” and demonstrate how it relates to themes of…”. Essays are actually a really interesting and useful type of writing (really!) but they’re also not how people communicate in day-to-day situations. So you can’t go and recite an essay at any of these people. You need to find a way to communicate with them that they’re going to find engaging and you’re going to need to explain the poem in a way that they’ll find relevant. So, here’s what I’d like you to do for your attendance in part 1 of our week 6 class. 1. Pick one of the groups above (crowded bar, sports crowd, train passengers going to work, concert crowd). 2. Tell them about the poem “The Crazy Woman” by Gwendolyn Brooks: what’s it about, what does it mean, and why is it relevant to them?
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