Chelsea Cronin Portfolio Reflections



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Date03.05.2017
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Chelsea Cronin Portfolio Reflections
[0:00] Begins with a picture of an artist in the background. Jubilant acoustic music plays.

In this e-portfolio video, I decided to talk about the broad topic of creativity throughout the poetry section of this class, the poetry essay, and the e-poem video.

[0:11] A professor reviews webpage is in the background.

When I signed up for this class and researched professor Anderson, I found out that the class would have a focus on multi-media projects, but I wasn’t sure what that would entail in reality.

[0:18] An assignment page describing the poetry essay requirements fills the screen.

When we started the class out with the poetry essay assignment, I thought to myself, “okay, this is more what I had in mind for an intro seminar literature studies course.” It was a very typical assignment asked of an English major, so I was not too worried about it.

[0:34] The poem “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley is pictured on screen.

I did it on the poem “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley after talking to my roommate about the project, and she told me that the poem “Invictus” had strong ties to Nelson Mandela and his fight against apartheid in South Africa. So, that was the approach I took in both my poetry essay and my e-poem.

[0:47] A quote by Professor Joseph Flora appears on screen concerning the secular nature of Henley’s poetry and its controversy among ministers.

As Professor Joseph Flora explained in an interview, “ministers have used this poem to show the wrong philosophy, a philosophy that does not turn to the divine, of course, but to the existentialist, just the individual asserting his own will and standing alone. And so ministers, well-meaning, of course, with very little idea of why Henley wrote this poem, have used it to make thundering points and to bring down the poet and everything he stood for.”

[1:13] A screen capture of a biography about Mandela’s ties to the poem shows in the background.

I decided to take the opposite approach to analyzing the poem, and I chose to use Henley’s motivation and background for writing the poem to strengthen my own argument. I then further elaborated on this idea of politics and motivation by discussing Nelson Mandela and his personal ties to the poem “Invictus.”

[1:29] Screen captures of Chelsea’s essay on “Invictus” are shown.

In the first draft of the poetry essay that I turned in, I took the boring but effective style of writing. It was well-written, but it was missing that “hook” element. It was just your typical research analaysis essay. In the revised draft, with the guidance of Professor Anderson, I took the paper in an entirely different direction and focused on whether political poetry is considered art. This twist allowed me to reword a few key elements of the paper, and the result was a much more interesting paper with a good hook at the beginning. The final version required only minor copy-editing, and the deletion of a section about Walt Whitman that just wasn’t adding anything to my paper or my argument. However, this paper, analyzing a poem with the research component, very quickly turned into a multi-media video project about a poem of our choosing. I was pretty nervous about the project because I didn’t have a ton of experience with video editing.

[2:21] A quote by Hessa Alghadeer appears on-screen.

I was wondering why Professor Anderson would shift methods so abruptly, but I think this quote by Hessa Alghadeer captures what the project was supposed to be all about. She says, “[Poetry] leads us to reconsider other theories of analysis that exist outside the margins of traditional printed poetic texts and that bring about more thorough modes of meaning making in poetry.”

[2:46] A cartoon of a teacher in front of a blackboard is shown on-screen

We had just completed our essay analysis and interpretation of our poem, but now Professor Anderson wanted to see what else we could come up with. I think the idea for the project was to force us to use a medium for analyzing literature in an unfamiliar way, and it would be fun to see what we created because video and multi-media analyses of literature are not something most of us in the class were probably used to seeing.

[3:07] Another quote by Alghadeer is shown on-screen.

Hessa Alghadeer also said in her article, “Digital Landscapes: Rethinking Poetry Interpretation in Multi-Modal Texts,” “The aesthetic value of poetry, along with the interaction among its semantic, syntactic, phonetic, and typographic components, distinguish this genre from other literary ones. There are numerous genres of poetry, including epics, elegies, sonnets, lyrics, and ballads. These poetic genres in turn deliver segments of beauty, valuable pieces of truth, and flashes of imagination.”

[3:37] A picture of an English 120 exam prompt comes on-screen.

I think that this quote applies really well to this class and this particular project because poetry on its own already evokes imagery and causes the reader to use their imagination. For example, in other English classes that I’m sure we’re all used to taking, such as a British literature class I’m taking now, um, on my final exam, I had to interpret a poem and talk about the imagery that the words evoke and what could possibly be an allegory for this poem rather than reading it on a surface value. So, I think that, for me, it helped to think about poetry in this way when I was deciding on how to create my e-poem because I knew that the poetry wanted me to see something and wanted me to create something specific, but I think that the whole idea of this project was to then interpret that further and see what else we could do with imagery, and sounds, and videos, and things of that nature.

[4:33] Background clips from Chelsea’s “Invictus” video appear on-screen.

For the e-poem project, we had a choice of choosing a new poem that we hadn’t already done the essay for, or we were allowed to stick with the same poem that we had written our essay on. So, I chose to stick with the poem “Invictus” because I had an idea of how to transfer the political and empowering elements of the poem and essay into video. So, the real challenge for me was going to be transferring my vision for the e-poem into reality. I learned a great deal about video editing while working on my first e-poem draft. This is a project where I familiarized myself with the different effects, tricks, and functions of Fantasia. I talked about, in my first e-poem draft walkthrough, I encountered quite a few issues with video editing and making things a lot more smooth than they were, so that’s something I addressed in my final version revision of this e-poem. So in the second final version of my e-poem, I focused on making a more multi-dimensional aesthetic and a less flat feeling. I feel like the original got the message across, but it had a few video editing and skill areas I could work on.

[5:40] A screen capture of the final version of Chelsea’s “Invictus” essay appears.

I can say that I’m really proud of both final poetry projects from this class. I started out with a boring and typical analytical essay, and I turned it into an efficient and entertaining essay that really grabs the reader’s attention.

[5:51] More clips from Chelsea’s e-poem play.

I also feel that I was able to create a more multi-dimensional and entertaining aesthetic in my final e-poem version, and I feel that it accurately depicted my original vision for the project.

[6:04] Another quote by Alghadeer appears on-screen.

Again, as Alghadeer said, “In so far as poetry interpretation is concerned, digital multimodal landscapes evoke potentially lifelong creative experiences in our dynamic digital world.”

[6:15] A picture of a hand holding a glass ball appears on-screen.

These projects—especially the e-poem—gave me a new outlook on interpreting poetry. Poetry interpretation takes on a whole new dimension when you, the reader, have to choose materials and sounds to represent what you believe the e-poem is about. I’m not sure if the e-poem project was a lifelong creative experience, but I do hope to carry the skills I learned from this project and this class with me through my career.

[6:39] A picture of a person sitting on stairs and a Spanish text message appear on-screen.

I’m extremely happy to say I was able to use my newly learned video skills for editing my Spanish 260 [indiscernable Spanish].

[6:45] A video clip of a classroom plays.

To that end, it is my opinion that this medium of learning about poetry can be a good learning medium for kids to get more excited about poetry and technology. I’ve experienced personally that many kids do not enjoy poetry, including myself at a young age, because they don’t understand it or don’t know how to interpret it.

[6:59] A quote by D.H. Stuart fills the screen.

As D.H. Stuart said in his article, “Cin(e) Poetry: Engaging the Digital Generation in Twenty-First Century Response,” he says “Although technology may not appear to be an easy fit for the English language arts classroom, integrating the two can greatly enhance and enrich literature response work as students expand their capacity to interpret.”



[7:22] Photographs of children at computers.

I think e-poetry will be a great way to help kids to understand poetry in their own way, and to be more enthusiastic about literature and technology. All-in-all, I can say that even though the “organic” calendar for this class may not have been the greatest setup for a procrastinator like myself, I truly did learn quite a lot from this class. On top of all our video projects, we were able to cover quite a few works of literature, which is impressive when you consider the amount of time we spent editing videos. Even though this class required quite a bit of time and effort, I’m so glad I took it, and I know that the knowledge and skills I learned will only help me as I move on in my career. I hope you enjoyed this e-portfolio reflection video.

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