Assignment Description: The Lyric Essay is a hybrid genre which combines elements of the personal essay with that of scholarly or academic discourse. The author contemplates a subject in prose characteristic of an essay, but uses the voice of a lyric speaker, that is, the author and the speaker seem to be synonymous. This kind of essay affords the writer an opportunity both to reflect upon personal concerns, and consider matters of personal interest in the larger context of culture and history. In this essay you are asked to: 1) Decide on a genre. Contemplate the genre for which you feel the greatest affinity—whether as a writer, simply as a reader. Possible genres you may wish to consider are—poetry, memoir, literary nonfiction prose, fiction, song writing, children’s literature. When did you first encounter the genre? Why do you prefer reading/writing in this genre? What elements of the genre do you find most compelling? 2) Think about your own writing in the genre you’ve selected. Consider your own writing as participating in this genre. What elements of your own writing are most characteristic of the genre? How does your work diverge from the genre, i.e. how is it unique or inventive? If you have not yet written much of your own work, discuss how you foresee your future encounter with the genre, either as a writer or a reader. 3) Choose two writers in the genre and conduct research on them, their work. Identify two writers whom you admire working in your genre and investigate their work using critical essays from the research databases housed on the UHD library website Initially, you might wish to “Google” these writers to discern which work is of most interest to you. However, you should conduct your search using UHD’s research databases (e.g. Literature Resource Center, Project Muse, JSTOR) to find at least four critical essays that offer insight into the writer’s work you are discussing. You should seek essays which provide information of two sorts—1) biography (an essay or book/book chapter that offers insight into each writer’s life); and 2) an overview of each writer’s oeuvre (an essay discussing the overall trajectory and range of each writer’s work over time). 4) Write a first-person essay that discusses you and your relationship to the genre & these writers. Develop an essay of approximately 7 – 8 pages in length which explores the genre of your choice, and combines both personal meditation and scholarly research to discuss your own experience of the genre. Contextualize your experience within a larger literary conversation related to the particular authors you’ve selected and what the critics say about their writing. Format: Your essay should be a minimum of 7 pages (approximately 2,000 words)—typed, double-spaced—and should use one-inch margins and standard 12 pt. font. Please use Modern Language Association (MLA) format in the presentation of your paper. You should cite a minimum of 4 secondary sources. These sources should be cited using appropriate MLA documentation format, both internally via parenthetical references, and on your Works Cited page. Two web links are posted to Blackboard for your use: 1) the Online Writing Lab at Purdue University (https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/); and 2) the MLA Citation Style Sheet posted to the W.I. Dykes Library homepage for your use at https://www.uhd.edu/library/help/Documents/mla-workscited.pdf.
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