“Exercise indeed we do, but that very fore-backwardly, for where we should exercise to know, we exercise as having known, and so our brain delivered of much matter which never was begotten by knowledge.”

—Sir Phillip Sidney, Apology for Poetry, 1595

“Books are to be call’d for, and supplied, on the assumption that the process of reading is not a half-sleep, but, in highest sense, an exercise, a gymnast’s struggle; that the reader is to do something for himself, must be on the alert, must himself or herself construct indeed the poem, argument, history, metaphysical essay—the text furnishing the hints, the clue, the start or framework. Not the book needs so much to be the complete thing, but the reader of the book does. That were to make a nation of supple and athletic minds, well-train’d, intuitive, used to depend on themselves, and not a few coteries of writers.”

—Walt Whitman, from “Democratic Vistas,” 1871

The two quotations above (epigraphs) offer useful insight into reading, thinking and writing. Before you begin your work in the course, think with these authors about what you will be doing as a student in this class and consider why you are doing these things.

Exercise Overview and Instructions

In addition to your weekly blog essay about style you will be learning by doing through a series of thinking and writing exercises. The schedule page lists all of the reading and writing exercises that you will complete before and during class as well as the due dates.

These exercises will receive credit or no credit. To receive credit for each exercise you must do the following:

  • complete and post your work on your “Exercises” page no later than 12 PM the day before we meet (Mondays and Wednesdays). The due date and time is not arbitrary: it gives me the opportunity to read your exercises before my 8AM class so that all of us are prepared for our work when we meet at 10
  • title the post so a reader knows what kind of exercise you are doing (“Periodic Sentences,” for example, is ok, but might you make a similarly terse but perhaps more interesting title?), include the date and the exercise or writing question/prompt
  • be composed thoughtfully and written with care (as opposed to hastily or mechanically)

You must complete all of the exercises to pass the course. If you are working for an A in the course you must complete all of the exercises and post them on your blog by the due date. If you are working for a B in the course you must complete all but two of exercises by the due date. If you are working for a C in the course you need to complete all but four of the exercises before the due date.