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Part I: The three poets chosen for this week are among the leading poets of 
contemporary American literature (there are many others, however). As you read 
their work from the Poetry Foundation’s website, read a little bit about their 
biographies as well. How do you see these poets fitting into the American 
literary tradition as we have experienced it so far?

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Part II: One contemporary trend in poetry is known loosely as the 
“confessional mode,” in which the poet’s own life becomes an important element 
of the subject of his or her poetry. All three of these poets clearly work in 
the confessional vein to some extent. How do they keep their poems from being 
merely about themselves?

Part III. You probably know John Grisham better from his novels than from his 
journalistic essays. In what ways does his magazine essay, included in our 
text, seem “fictional” to you–not necessarily fictional in the sense of 
things being made up, but rather in terms of style or writing technique?

Instructions: Your initial discussion should be at least 250 words. Please 
also respond to a minimum of  two of your classmates’ initial posts and bring 
together pieces of the discussion and take those ideas further.  These 
responses should be at least 150 words.

As you may know from the attached rubric, students are expected to post on 
three separate days each week for average credit. During the week, read the 
messages posted by your instructor and classmates and join the discussion. 
Your instructor may ask questions, provide explanations, and include links to 
other resources.

To earn a higher grade on each week’s discussion, students are expected to 
post more frequently. To sum up: posting three times in a week will earn a 
grade of a C. Four posts of high quality according to the rubric will earn a 
B, and five high quality posts according to the rubric earn an A. Again, 
please check the rubric for details on this.

Read: John Grisham: Somewhere for Everyone (in our text).

Read: Sharon Olds, “First Thanksgiving” at 
http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/53387

Read: Sharon Olds, “Still Life in Landscape” at 
http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/53386

Read: Sharon Olds, “After Making Love in Winter” at 
http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/browse?contentId=36723

Read: Sharon Olds, “The Planned Child” at 
http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/browse?contentId=36230

Read: Linda Pastan, “A Rainy Country” at 
http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/browse?contentId=42085

Read: Linda Pastan, “I Am Learning to Abandon the World” at 
http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/detail/34957

Read: Linda Pastan, “The Obligation to Be Happy” at 
http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/detail/39788

Read: Linda Pastan, “Why Are Your Poems So Dark?” at 
http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/detail/41918

Read: Larry Levis, “SIgns” at 
http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/47941

Read: Larry Levis, “To a Wren on Calvary” at 
http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/47946

Read: Larry Levis, “Winter Stars” at 
http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/53388

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