Regarding Week 10, April 2

Hi everyone,

This weekend we will be reading Bald Soprano (1950) by Eugene Ionesco, a Romanian-French playwright. Remember these are post-world war II years. 


Do a quick online research to historically contextualize the play. What did it mean to be a citizen of France in 1950? What kind of fresh historic memories are alive and weighing on society at that point?


1-This prompt needs your full attention (as we also discussed it in class today):

Absurdist plays are known to defy the classical structures (meaning Aristotelian three or five act structure plays, such as: A Doll’s House or Macbeth.)

But if we assume there is some kind of structure within Bald Soprano, how do you depict it?

You can take any creative approach with this response: You can draw a chart, a floor plan, stick figures or you can write about it. Whatever you decide to do, I want to see that you made some connection and found some discipline within the chaos of the play. 

2-Pulling inspiration from “Bald Soprano” write a short scene (with stage directions, neat format please*) between two or more characters, who respond to one another in a manner unknown to our linguistic expectations. (maximum 3 pages).


Title: Pizza

Character A and B are sitting on a bench in a green park. 


What a nice day!

Yeah I got my paycheck today. 


What a nice day today!


Have you had lunch?

As you can see in this example,  there are some qualities to character A: appreciative of weather, enjoying the moment, and character B: concerned with affairs outside of this setting –paycheck and lunch. So there is some sense here, but their dialogue does not follow a cause and effect logic, as we’re accustomed to. 

This is JUST a basic example. You can do so many creative things with lexicon, syntax, repetition, etc in this exercise (you can bring on your poetic skills) and still make us laugh or cry or feel your writing. Most situations in life are actually not supposedly dramatic and they don’t make that much linear sense. 

Don’t worry if your writing sounds strange or bizarre. This is what this exercise is for: to break the boundaries of language. Keep in mind: How can you defy language, but still tell me a story? Your story. 

*You can use or if you prefer to use Word, that’s fine too, but make sure your format is correct.

Reply All to email thread in your inbox with your structure and dialogue by Monday 8pm.
Email me if you have any question. 

Regarding Week 9, March 26

Reading:Next Tuesday we will be reading A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen.Make sure you read this play act by act and summarize it for yourself as we are going to close read again.
Reading Response:Compare the character Nora in A Doll’s House with Medea. Do you see any similarities? Differences? Medea was written by Euripides more than two millennial ago and A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen towards the end of 19th century. Please do some research on A Doll’s House to contextualize the play within its era. You can take any creative direction with this. Meaning you are free to even imagine Nora having time traveled to Corinth knocking on Medea’s door. 

Dialogue sceneYou will be writing your dialogue scenes in you have to sign up. Then after log in, click “new script”. The gray line on top is called a “slugline” and reserved for movie scripts, you can get rid of that by backspace. 

For stage direction, use right click and choose action. For Character, right click and choose “character”.For Dialogue line, right click and choose “dialogue”For parenthetical (reserved for attitude, verbal direction and expression of your character) right click and choose “paranthetical.
Export this as pdf under File/ Export As. 

Attaching examples of the right format of the form I need.

pdf of your dialogue, along with your Doll’s House response must be posted before 8pm on Monday. 

Regarding Week 8, March 19

Dear Class,
We are on a good track with your writing, but we have to limit the time for in-class workshops to finish discussing your plots next class.

So here is what we are doing for next class.

-Attached is a snapshot of five acts structure plot diagram. You can re-draw this on a paper and fill in each act with your summary of each act of Macbeth and attach the snapshot to your comments on course website under this week’s assignment page (Regarding Week 8). Those of you who have already sent your summaries can just fill out the structure with your writing and those of you who haven’t should come up with one.

Writing assignment: Write a one page detailing the back story of your main character. You can use the questionnaire (attached) to get an idea of what you are looking for in a back story. I don’t necessarily need your answers to these questions, but I need to get an idea of your main character’s traits and history so do not limit yourself to these questions, write up the story of your character. I would rather you use the character in your plot for this purpose. Below are my suggestions but if you wanted to try another character reach out to me and let me know.

Jose: Write Alexander’s back story

Santino: Young girl’s back story

Anna: Guy’s backstory

Elibeth: Lilly or Allison (I would rather you write for both because reasons we discussed today)

Kate: Victoria’s back story

Megan: I would rather you write for both Phillip and his father

Stephanie:Lauren and Manuel’s back story (More importantly: Lauren)

Nick: Friend’s back story. If you also like to write for the couple it’s more than welcome.

Kevin: Abhi ‘s back story (I also like to know more about the father )

Joshua: Maggie’s back story (Is she your main character?)

Allison: C’s back story

Marisol, Jada, Darien and Ruazario you haven’t turned in your plot, so go for one character you’d like to work on for your future scenes. We will be using these characters in a full scene in near future.

Next class we will discuss Macbeth and finish up discussing plots. I will send response to your character’s backstories.

You can also post this backstory under Regarding week 8.

Deadline: Monday March 18, 8pm

As I mentioned we do not have class on Thursday March 21st.

Following week

Tuesday March 26: We are reading A Doll’s House (attached to this email), in addition to writing a dialogue scene. more on this next week.

Please keep this writing energy going. Learning to tell and communicate your stories is a treasured skill and its value beyond merely passing a course. 

Looking forward to reading your work. 


Character questionnaire

Regarding week 7, March 12

Dear class,
If you haven’t done Medea’s homework, make sure you do it, since we are discussing tone in that exercise.

Home work for next Tuesday: Write the “plot” and the “Story” of a story you want to create later. Make sure the plot structure is within greek tragedy structure.

So as we discussed in class story is the sequence of events as they happened in a chronological manner and plot is how “you” as a writer rearrange these to design the structure of your story.


He went to Staples and purchased a box of copy paper. Upon return, he sat down at his desk and used his type writer to write all night. At 9 pm his phone rang. That call was not supposed to happen. He stared at his screen for a while, until it died. He kept on writing till he ran out of paper.

His phone rang and he just did not want to pick it up. Papers were waiting on him. He looked around. He stared at the name on the screen. He could not stop writing. The name eventually died.

So for those of you who were absent this is the difference between plot and story again, but what we are trying to achieve is to also arrange the events within a structure and that structure is:

Episode 1
Stasimon 1
Episode 2
Stasimon 2
Episode 3
Stasimon 3
Episode 4
Stasimon 4

(If including stasimon makes it complicated, you can disregard stasimon.)

What matters here in this exercise, more than your writing and your prose, is how you arrange the events, what you leave out and what you choose to keep and tell your reader or not. You can dedicate a paragraph or so to each unit of your structure (plot). Story can be written sequentially as it happened. Again, what matters to me is to see how you mold the big picture of your story.

Deadline: Monday 8pm


Next Thursday we are discussing Macbeth, so please do not postpone reading it until next week. I wanted us to read actual Shakespeare version but since we don’t have much luck with your readings we are going to read a simplified version.

I will let you know about a response for Macbeth next Tuesday.

Any question? Email me.

Have a great weekend.


Regarding Week 6, March 5

Dear all,

I’m glad we had a focused workshop day today.

We still have Anna and Ruaziaro coming up.

Tuesday Reading

-This weekend we’re reading “Oedipus the King”. (aka “Oedipus Rex” or “Oedipus Tyrannus”). This is the easiest translation I could find. Emphasis in drama section is mostly on structure and storytelling techniques, so the language is not our focus in this reading, but it’s essential to me that you fully read the play a couple of times to figure out the structure. Please bring your copies of the play to class.

Read this brief document on Greek terms used in Tragedy. 


1-Read this document on “Typical structure of a greek play” and analyze the play accordingly. Note that Oedipus is a tragedy and there are four episodes and stasimon in case of oedipus. Here is what you are looking for: PrologueParodos, First Episode, First Stasimon, Second Episode, Second Stasimon, Third Episode, Third Stasimon, Fourth Episode. Fourth Stasimon, Exodos. Your assignment should include page numbers and indicate exactly where, and on which line, each of these sections end or start. (For example: Parodos starts on page 1 with Oedipus monologue. It ends at on page 3 following Creon’s dialogue where he says….). This is of course only an example and you can put it in your own words. This assignment will be directly emailed to me. (Deadline: Monday March 4, 8pm)

2-Take a look at this document on Greek terms used in Tragedy and write up a one page explaining how these concepts are manifested in the play “Oedipus the King”:

  • Identify the moment of catharsis in the play with evidence.
  • Where in the play, you felt empathy towards the protagonist?
  • What is the Hamartia in case of Oedipus?
  • What is the Hubris in case of Oedipus?

More on this here.

You can post these responses as comments to this post. (Deadline: Monday 8pm)

We will talk more about the reasons why we are reading one of the most famous Greek tragedies and the significance of it. But until Tuesday, please make sure you read all this and you send me your homework in a timely fashion.

I decided against the poetry homework, but I expect you to be well prepared for both of these plays next week. 


For Thursday March 7

We are reading “Medea” by Euripides. Bring your copy to class on Thursday. 

Assignment for Tuesday:

1-Identify the same greek tragedy structure within Medea. (Due Wednesday 8pm)

2-Justify Medea‘s horrendous deeds.(That you will be reading about in the play). Please understand that the argument in your writing, might not be your personal opinion, but imagine yourself as her advocate, attorney, lawyer, family member or friend: you are here to defend her, how would you lay out your claims? Please do a thorough research so that you can convince the reader. Also feel free to play around with the tone and pick a voice that suits your own language. (At least 1 full page). (300-500 words)


Reach out to me with ANY question.

Upcoming weeks will be the foundation of our storytelling work, please make sure you read the readings, hand in the assignments and give us all a chance to have a productive discussion in class.

Have a great weekend!



Feb 28, 2019 (Workshop response)

Dear class,

Jada is a late workshopper, so we have 5. Also, she has edited her poem, so consider this new version. If you don’t get around all of them you can skip Jada’s, but I encourage you to respond to hers as well. You can keep your responses to 75 words this week, but please make sure you read them carefully since these workshops will compose a good portion of our time on Thursday.

You can also post your haikus at the bottom of your posts.

Looking forward.



Kate-Poem Workshop Ebb and Flow
Megan-American Creed2

Regarding Week 5, Feb 26

Dear class,

As I explained in class, we have 2 poems due for next Monday at 5pm.

1- A poem inspired by this clip:

This poem can be any possible interpretation of the imagery observed in this video, but what I’m looking for is incorporating actual visual elements as you see them in the clip and translating them into words, just like we did with our observational writing prompts. Within that constraint, your poem can take any personal direction you wish.

2-Your second homework is a poem based on/ inspired by a video you have either shot on your phone or you’ve personally edited (It’s essential that this is your own video). This does not have to be an elaborate visual effort (unless you want to), since our emphasis is on your writing. The reason for this exercise is to follow the process of your “seeing” to your creation of the poem. Upload this video to your drive (called Onedrive) on your CUNY email, (You can simply drag and drop it), make sure it’s shared with all audience (right click/ click share/ click “anyone with this link can edit”). Then right click, copy link and copy it in the body of your post, below this link, paste the poem you’re written based on/ inspired by the video.

You can reach out to me with ANY technical difficulty uploading the video and I can walk you through it, since I do not expect you reaching out to me after 5pm on Monday, letting me know you couldn’t upload it. That is not acceptable.

Workshoppers for next Thursday are: Kate, Megan, Ruaziaro, Nicolas. Please bring your hard copies on Tuesday and email me the pdf.

Have a great weekend!

Feb 21,2019 (Workshop response)

Hi everyone,

4 Workshop responses (Elibeth, Darien, Santino, Anna) are due 8pm on Wednesday Feb, 20. 100 words per poem. Please start with “Dear”, mention the qualities you enjoyed then focus on other aspects we’ve discussed in class: Use of sound devices, imagery, form and other elements you deem it necessary to be mentioned about your friend’s work.

Intimacy - Darien Carter

Poetry Workshop -Anna Guerra
Night thinkers


February 19, 2019

Prompt for next class:

Observational writing: Just like today’s exercise in class, please pick one object, one character and one landscape and describe them in third person. Try to be as objective as possible with this exercise. There is no “I” for the purpose of this writing. Also, do not include the “name” of the object/ character/ landscape as we discussed. We also do not want to be informed of your (author’s) feelings and emotions about this object/ character/ landscape. Explain only the qualities you are able “to see” according to exercise we did in class today with water jug.

Each writing must be 100 minimum and it’s best you include a photo for each part.

So in total your writing must be a minimum of 300 words.

-100 words observing an object + photo

-100 words observing a character + photo

-100 words observing a landscape + photo

(There is a photo attachment option which is a bit clunky now, but I’m in touch with Qwriting to make it work, if your photos don’t post on your comments, email me and I’ll try to upload.)

Spam prevention powered by Akismet

Skip to toolbar