2020(S08) Lecture:week 11

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Contents

Week 11 Studio

Part 1: Ownership and Sharing Challenge

Part 2: Project Redesign Day 2

Week 11 Thursday

Challenge: Parts

Poetry by Numbers

Inspired by This American Life #354: Mistakes Were Made

Poem 1

Consider the content of ‘This is Just to Say” a poem by William Carlos Williams

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox
and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast
Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

Poem 2

The poem is often taught in poetry classes and often spoofed. Consider, for instance, these 2 spoofs by Kenneth Koch:

Last evening
we went dancing
and I broke your leg
Forgive me
I was clumsy and
I wanted you here
in the wards
where I am the doctor

Poem 3

I chopped down the house that you had been saving to live in next summer.
I am sorry, but it was morning, and I had nothing to do
and its wooden beams were so inviting.

Poem 4

And one more spoof from the blog somewhere in the suburbs

I have dried
the shirt
made of 100% cotton
that was on your floor
and which
you were probably
planning
to air dry
Forgive me
if you had sorted
your own laundry
it would not be
so short
and so small

Poetic Parts

If you wanted to write your own spoof of the William Carlos Williams poem, you might begin by comparing the structure of these four poems. As a starting point they can be broken into 5 elements, namely

  • 2 part situation
  • “forgive me,” and
  • 2 part explanation.

For each poem, these elements are:

Situation (part 1) Situation (part 2) Forgive me Explanation (part 1) Explanation (part 2)
I have eaten the plums that were in the icebox and which you were probably saving for breakfast Forgive me they were delicious so sweet and so cold
Last evening we went dancing and I broke your leg Forgive me I was clumsy and I wanted you here in the wards where I am the doctor
I chopped down the house that you had been saving to live in next summer. I am sorry, but it was morning, and I had nothing to do and its wooden beams were so inviting.
I have dried the shirt made of 100% cotton that was on your floor and which you were probably planning to air dry Forgive me if you had sorted your own laundry it would not be so short and so small

Mix & Match Poetry

Now we can try to swap these poetic elements to see what interesting and clever spoofs we write. How about:

Situation (part 1) Situation (part 2) Forgive me Explanation (part 1) Explanation (part 2)
I have eaten the plums that were in the icebox and I broke your leg Forgive me but it was morning, and I had nothing to do and I wanted you here in the wards where I am the doctor

That seems to work but is it better? Let's try again:

Situation (part 1) Situation (part 2) Forgive me Explanation (part 1) Explanation (part 2)
I chopped down the house and which you were probably planning to air dry Forgive me they were delicious it would not be so short and so small

Well shoot, that's horrible. For one thing: It doesn't say anything understandable and for another thing: the connection between the different elements is, well, "awkward."

These problems in assembly of the poetic parts are discussed in the realm of biological engineering as problems of

  1. "functional composition" (put the parts together in the right pattern but the outcome doesn't make sense) and
  2. physical composition (enabled by a common junction between parts so you don't get gibberish like, "I chopped down the house and which...")

As introduction to genetic parts, watch Device dude and Systems Sally's introduction to Parts


==Challenge: Registry==
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