The Essay Collection

“My dear Phaedrus, whence come you, and whither are you going?”

-Plato, “Phaedrus”

“All of us, especially when young, are vexed by the questions: Who am I? What am I doing here? What’s going on?”

-Gary Snyder, The Practice of the Wild 

Your collection of essays makes visible your intellectual, ethical, and creative capacities as a writer. The collection will challenge you to construct your ideas while engaging others with the dynamic relation between your mind and the world

The collection includes

  • revised final versions of the three essays composed during the first half of the course
  • the essay sequence completed during the second half of the course, and
  • a selection of at least two essays that you have written (and/or published) over the past four years as English majors at Keene State College

The essays will situate you historically, intellectually, and culturally; engage rigorously and ethically with ideas, data, and texts by others; and reflect on your ideas, values, and sense of self

The Essay Collection Prospectus

Send Mark an e-mail with a one- or two-page prospectus for the series of essays (3–5 pieces) you plan to write during the second half of the semester

The Essay Sequence

Your work is to write a series of essays that explore an idea (or ideas) and to make that exploration comprehensible and compelling to others. The sequence will include an idea, evidence, and presence—that is, a thinking mind engaged with the world

Individual Conferences

This course is designed to keep you writing all semester. The opportunity for you is to revise your writing as you become more engaged with the material and more knowledgeable about the essay as a literary and cultural form. Our mid-term conference provides an opportunity to review the work you have completed and talk about the work you will be doing in the weeks ahead

Conference Agenda 

The Self Assessment and the Prospectus will provide common ground for our meeting. I will share my thoughts about your writing this far in the semester and we will talk about your proposed essay sequence.

Preparing for the Conference 

Work on Your Essays In the week leading up to the conference you will be working on your third essay on the essays of an essayist. As you prepare for the conference, and complete the Self Evaluation, you should also review and revise the first two essays. Now that we have read and discussed Nicole Wallack’s book, you should have a more developed vocabulary for describing in your own work the primary elements we have been talking about in class: idea, evidence, and presence. Use our readings and the Workshop notes to help you identify sites in your writing. Consider (and then reconsider) your titles. And tag each post appropriately

Review and Update Your Course Blog Your course blog should have an About page as well as other features that make the blog your own. The blog will have a creative commons license, a distinctive title and tagline, and a individualized profile with your name or an alias (for syndication purposes). Is there something else you would like to be able to do with your blog? Bring your ideas.

Review and Update Your Domain Your primary domain should have a WP installation. Your primary domain site should define your digital presence across three dimensions: digital identity (taking ownership of your presence on the web, expressing your ideas, and integrating your learning and interests; digital fluency (effectively using an open-source platform and digital tools, creating portfolios, exhibits, galleries); and digital citizenship (engaging with the community, constructing the web, navigating, and critically questioning, digital technologies.) Bring your questions and aspirations for this site to our conference