Assignment # 1: Fan Fiction/Poetry Analysis

ENG 102: Writing Through Literature

T 8:00-9:00am, Th 8:00-10:15am, E265

Professor Jay Polish

Assignment # 1 — Fan Fiction/Poetry Analysis

So far this term, we have explored spoken word poems and experimented with creating some of our own. We have read, too, about another genre of literature: fan fiction. We’ve read and discussed how fan fiction can be a profound, creative, and insightful way to analyse literature, television, movies, etc. For this assignment, we are going to create a work of fan fiction that expands on the experiences of the narrator in Nikki Giovanni’s “Poem for a Lady Whose Voice I Like.” In other words: how can you flesh out the story told in Giovanni’s poem? Do you want to write a story about what the “she” in the poem is thinking, or her backstory? Do you want to write a story about why the “he” in the poem is saying what he’s saying, or about his past relationships? Do you want to write a story about their relationship history? Have they dated? Were they childhood best friends? Did they just meet? Where are they when this conversation takes place? Why are they both there? Exploring any of these questions — or some of your own — is fair game. The only criteria is that you write a short story (3-4 pages double-spaced) — a piece of fan fiction — that expands on Nikki Giovanni’s poem somehow.

Due Dates:

Tuesday, March 27th — Please post to the blog and bring a hard copy of your fan fic rough draft (you will be peer reviewing them with your classmates). Include not only your fan fic draft, but also please answer each of the following: What three things do you want to ask your peers about your work? What three things are your favorite about your fan fic? What three things are you unsure of?

Thursday, March 29th —Leave comments for two of your classmates on their blog post draft: in these comments, please address the questions your classmates included about what they want to ask their peers, as well as addressing three things your peers are unsure of.

Tuesday, April 10th — NOTE: We do not meet on this day, but please post your final draft and reflection on the blog. In addition to the final draft of your fic, please write and post a brief reflective artists’ statement that addresses each of the following questions: What did you learn writing this fan fic? What you didn’t learn? How you can use what you learned in the future? Did writing a fan fic (as opposed to an essay) help you understand the place of fiction as analysis? If yes, how? If no, why not? How you think you could have pushed your writing even further? What rhetorical choices did you make in your fic, and how did these choices advance the depth of your work? How did the process of peer review push your analysis forward? If it didn’t, why not? How can you and your partners conduct your peer reviews differently next time? What fresh rhetorical insights might you bring from this assignment into future assignments?

Letter from The Greatest Class Of All Time to the Fall 2017 English 102 Class

This was written (and titled and gif-ed) collaboratively by all the students in my English 102 class in Spring 2017 to my Fall 2017 class; though I think it applies to you all, too! I asked them to write a survival guide for you in a Google Doc together, and I think we had a lot of fun. This is what they had to say!

                    Surviving Professor Polish 101

 (Only half of us failed) lol

Gid of Steven Colbert in a suit, smiling and raising his hands, saying,
Gid of Steven Colbert in a suit, smiling and raising his hands, saying, “Welcome to the nerd zone, my friend.” Gif from
Gif of Maggie Sawyer smiling as she walks around Alex Danvers (from Supergirl), scoffing as she calls Alex a nerd. Gif from

Don’t panic. The professor just looks scary.

Gif of Ron Weasley, looking panicked, turning his head and asking,
Gif of Ron Weasley, looking panicked, turning his head and asking, “Can we panic now?” Gif from

Expectations when entering ENG 102

When you hear that English 102 might involve Shakespeare

Gif of Captain Jack Sparrow staring up in confusion before a full-bodied shot shows him running away. Gif from
Gif of Captain Jack Sparrow staring up in confusion before a full-bodied shot shows him running away. Gif from

But don’t worry Shakespeare is out of the picture.

Gif of the Tenth Doctor from Doctor Who, looking exasperated while saying,
Gif of the Tenth Doctor from Doctor Who, looking exasperated while saying, “Oh, 57 academics just punched the air.” Gif from

Maybe this is your first semester back to college or you’re a new student. The advice I will give you is that it’s ok to be nervous but in this class leave these nerves by the door. ENG 102 class with Professor Polish was by far was the best class I’ve had at Laguardia Community College it’s easy going to class and I enjoyed every minute of it.

There’s no survival guide I need to provide you with because I know everybody got this. Sometimes I know we don’t want to speak or participate because we think of sounding stupid but there isn’t such thing as that. The environment you’re provided with in this class is welcoming. Professor Polish always has a smile which is nice to see and is available for you whenever you need, at the end of class if you have question or concern just ask, or just shoot up an email.

You’re probably thinking OK can you just get into the assignments. Well the assignments are easy, the time that you are provided with is reasonable; but don’t wait last minute. Btw when you feel stuck DON’T PANIC because your given time to work on it and your classmates are their to provide feedback. Lastly enjoy your time in ENG 102 class because time flies by.

At first when you start this class, the amount of freedom you get when it comes to your assignments. Most students may even get frustrated and ask the Professor to give them information.

A closeup of Loki from the Avengers films doubling over as he passionately shouts,
A closeup of Loki from the Avengers films doubling over as he passionately shouts, “tell me!” Gif from

When you usually get told how to do the assignment but now you have the option of how you want to do it:

Gif of Jordan Peele's unblinking, panicked, still expression as sweat streams rapidly and profusely down his face. Gif from
Gif of Jordan Peele’s unblinking, panicked, still expression as sweat streams rapidly and profusely down his face. Gif from

But the Professor will assist you to really develop your own prompt and train of thought. Professor Polish will lead you step by step to not stress out about any assignment.

When doing the assignments, DO NOT I MEAN DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE. Especially the creative assignments. You want to give yourself time because the more time you give yourself, the more creativity you can put into your assignment. Not only will you see how creative you are but you will earn excellent grades. Don’t worry either because they are not a boring professor either. They keep the class entertained and awake. They’re very interesting which makes you more interested in the class itself.

Gif of Selena Gomez tossing up her hands with a smirk as she says,
Gif of Selena Gomez tossing up her hands with a smirk as she says, “I’m just sayin’.” Gif from

The best thing is that you can choose a format for your assignment. What is better​ than not writing​ typically in a typical writing​ class. If you don’t like writing, don’t worry. This class is not your “typical” English class. You will have an opportunity to express yourself through alternative​ way such as poems, drawings, etc.

  • be ready to learn about yourself and what kind of writer you are.
  • there will be a lot of group activity
  • be prepared to go outside your comfort zone
  • be prepare to have a blast as you write in forms that you never wrote in.

You will also have access to a class blog in this class in which you and your peers will be able to submit your assignments, peer reviews, and view other pieces of work.

Gif of the character Ernest Hemingway from Midnight in Paris (2011) nodding as he says,
Gif of the character Ernest Hemingway from Midnight in Paris (2011) nodding as he says, “My opinion is I hate it.” Gif from

Don’t be fooled by the comic. There is a copious amount of information, images and text to analyze.

But I was able to cope through this class with the help of my peers comments and viewing of my writing. It helped me develop my thinking skills.

You’ll need to get out of your comfort zone.

This is not the typical ENG 102 class where you have to read books and write essays in a specific form. ENG 102 with J Polish is amazing class where you can show your ideas in unique way of writing.

The worst thing you can absolutely do as a student is not be yourself.

You will survive easily. No mountain is on your shoulders. Whenever I come to this class, I feel relaxed and it’s all fun. You are never rushed because it is very easy to get your work done. And all this is because of the professor. They will never stress you like any other professors. I wish and hope to have Professor Polish again. I thought eng102 would be something that I would have to deal with struggling on writing and doing my work, yes but the class and work just felt like doing something very easy. All you need to do is be a responsible student to get your work done on time and you will have a good time.

As long as you get your work done and put in time and effort, everything flows flawlessly.

The class is different than any other English class because as students you get to express your own creative ideas and by doing that you have to chose your own format in order to complete the assignment. For example, someone would prefer drawing than writing an essay. For them it’s an easy A because you are using your talented & unique skills to get the grade you want. You’ll definitely love the English class with Professor Polish because they are AMAZING! Although, their drawings are a different story lol (Plus the professor doesn’t call on you randomly 😉 and is a fair grader). One last thing is manage your time because you do not want to start the assignment at the last minute. Take your time analyzing the project, take some notes, take it step by step. I am sure you’ll survive this class!!

Gif of the camera zooming in on Barry Allen in his Flash suit, grinning slightly as he says,
Gif of the camera zooming in on Barry Allen in his Flash suit, grinning slightly as he says, “Game on.” Gif from

Come to class stay on top of your deadlines take time out for your assignments use all your resources have fun this was a very fun class! Hope everyone gets an A.

The fact that the Professor gave us the chance to write this letter to you and put in gifs shows a lot, I mean that’s pretty cool.

This class is really like no other and the way we all learn is different but so much more effective, don’t worry! This English class helps you understand your specific writing style and Professor Polish demonstrates that literature DOES NOT have to be only Shakespeare. Going into this class we were all surprised with the amount of freedom we had when writing our assignments. We can all relate to having difficulty in the beginning with less structure than usual but you get over it pretty quickly. Professor Polish is pretty accepting when it comes to the way you participate, the first thing they said was that if you are a shy person and don’t like to participate that’s OKAY, they allows us to write down our input down and hand it in after class (totally amazing). Personally I believe that this class will be your go to for understanding material and learning new ways to be a writer. The professor makes everyone feel welcome. They will help you in your writing process as best as they can. Professor is an excellent writer, but I don’t know about their drawing skills. We can all agree it has been a pleasure knowing Professor Polish and this English class will truly be missed.

Our One-Word Takeaways









Interestingly creative









Surprisingly enjoyable



“Names” by Rachel Rostad

  1. Would she have preferred her parents didn’t name her Rachel ?
  2. What was expected if her mother had replied?
  3. Does Rachel feel a sense like she is living like two different people one americanized and one Korean ?

This poem brought me to tears, especially when referring to her line of being like a injured baby bird. It made me think of how fragile and susceptible we are to things around us, even before we truly are even aware. It made me think of the connotation behind my own name. I kept hiding my face behind my own hands hoping that would some how calm all the emotions that were building up inside. Ouch and ohh my were repeated throughout her words were sharp.

“Names” by Rachel Rostad

  1. Do you feel like you are on the process of finding your own identity and acceptance?
  2. On the poem she tried to prove that she overcame the abandonment of her biological mother but then, why she tries to have some kind of communication with her?
  3. Do you feel the struggle on being split between two different cultures?

When I was reading the last part of the poem my eyes started to open more and, like I’m really feeling every word that she said, and at the end of the poem I was stunned and took a deep breath.

“Names” by Rachel Rostad

1) Do you feel like you have two different identities?

2) How do reconcile the two sides in that duality, if you do at all?

3) Does it make you feel like you are compartimentalizing different areas of your own personality?


4) I placed the palm of my right hand on top of my head and I covered my mouth with that same hand afterwards.


5) I said “oh” and I exhaeld loudly.

“Names” by Rachel Rostad

1.Why was the poet specific about blond hair?

2.If the poet didnt’t care about her mother replying her why did she try and contact her in the first place?

3.The poet knows that her birth name means nothing and her current name feels lost, which does she prefer?

Two body gestures that inspired me from the reading was nodding my head in agreement and bouncing my right leg. The only sound that I made was a loud tsk toward the ending of the poem.


Need More Help Writing?

I know I always do.

There are loads of resources on this page to help you. Scroll through this post at your leisure, and feel free to post your own tips as term goes on!!!

Code-Meshing Multiple Englishes:

As you’re learning to write at the college level, it is vitally important to remember that there is not (as you may have learned in school so far, and may continue to learn in other classrooms) one “proper” form of English.

Daenerys from Game of Thrones stating that she “didn’t come here to argue grammar.” Gif from

While there is a tremendous amount of power and privilege associated with “standard” English, there is also great power and beauty in the various Englishes that exist: arguably, students have the right to not only bring their own languages into the classroom, but to learn to make these languages flourish. Learning how to integrate the Englishes that you might speak into your writing is called code-meshing.

There is no one way to effectively code-mesh, but several of the pieces we will be reading in this class exemplify these strategies (the works of Elaine Richardson, Junot Díaz and Barbara Mellix come to mind). Explained extensively here, code-meshing (or the more conservative style of code-switching) is not only possible in writing: Barack Obama is frequently cited for code-switching, as are Beyoncé and Comedy Central’s Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele (see references and videos for all four of these folks here).

A frequently cited gif of President Obama offering a less familial handshake to a white man than to a Black man. Gif from

Becoming fluent code-meshers is definitely something to practice in this class: keep code-meshing in mind as you read through the rest of the links on this page.

Helpful “Cheat” Sheets:

Queens College has a fantastic website devoted to helping students adapt to writing in college. Creatively called Writing at Queens, this site has an excellent list of handouts on writing that are sure to be helpful when adjusting to writing in college.

College Writing Guide:

Wondering how to dig into academic writing? This Writing in College guide from the University of Chicago has tips explaining the differences between high school and college writing; drafting papers; revising papers; and avoiding common pitfalls.

A 4-paneled gifset of Spongebob spending a lot of time putting pencil to paper… all to write one ornately decorated word: “The.” Gifset from

Writing Across Disciplines:

English classes aren’t your thing? Did you know that different fields in academics write differently? Just like poetry, novels, and short stories all often have different conventions of writing, so do the subjects of your potential majors throughout college. Biologists, for example, write differently than historians. The Writing at Queens website has a great set of guides to writing in different disciplines (ranging from computer science and philosophy to music and sociology).

(How to Avoid) Oops… I did it Again:

Wondering about that fine line between plagiarism and using on other scholars’ work to push your own thinking forward? Again, Writing at Queens can help.

Close Reading:

To write effectively, one of the number one tips you’ll find is… read! Read more! Read most! For tips on reading literature (academic and otherwise) as a scholar, peruse these tips on close reading strategies:

Harvard College Writing Center: “How to Do a Close Reading”

L. Kip Wheeler: “Close Reading of a Literary Passage”

The University of Wisconsin: Madison: “A Short Guide to Close Reading for Literary Analysis”

Purdue Online Writing Lab: “Close Reading a Text and Avoiding Pitfalls”

Research Questions:

Even though a lot of writers (myself included!) want to immediately pin down a thesis and “prove” it throughout the paper, more thoughtful, groundbreaking papers usually start with intensive research questions rather than the answer we find easiest to prove. The following links can help you hone in on research questions that are relevant to the world and interesting to you. One thing to keep in mind is always: do I know (or think I know) the answer to this question? If yes, perhaps I’m asking the wrong thing.

Rachel Cayley — “Using Writing to Clarify Your Own Thinking”

SUNY Empire State College — “Developing a Research Question”

Center for Innovative in Research and Teaching — “Writing a Good Research Question”

Thompson Writing Program: Duke University — “What Makes a Good Research Question?”

Research Rundowns — “Writing Research Questions”

Revising and Editing:

A little-known but hugely important writing fact: revising and editing are not the same things. Learn about the differences and how to effectively use them both to bring your writing to the next level (hopefully without stressing too much).

Penny from the Big Bang Theory, hair mussed and unwashed, staring up from her laptop with an exhausted expression, saying "Oh my god I need help." Gif from
Penny from the Big Bang Theory, hair mussed and unwashed, staring up from her laptop with an exhausted expression, saying “Oh my god I need help.” Gif from
  • Valerie Comer — “Rewrite Versus Revise Versus Edit”
  • Rachel Cayley’s “Explorations of Style”, a blog on academic writing, has tremendously helpful resources for improving academic writing. Some highlights are here:
  • Committing to Extensive Revisions: “Rather than worrying that yourwriting requires an exceptional amount of revision, try thinking that allwriting requires a great deal of revision”
  • Revising Out Loud: “This past fall, I accidentally published a very rough draft of a post. I still don’t know how I managed to hit Publish instead of Save Draft, but I did.”
  • Reverse Outlines: “Exposing the internal structure of a piece of writing by creating a reverse outline”
  • Paragraphs: “Treating paragraphs as important units in your writing”
  • Transitions: “Making effective transitions between sentences, paragraphs, and sections”
  • Verbs: “Expressing the actions in your sentences with strong verbs”
  • Subjects: “Using the characters in your sentences as clear subjects”

Conventions of Academic Style:

Many people argue effectively that academic style is constraining and colonizing, while others assert that it is necessary for students to learn if they are to have any hope of succeeding academically. Some of these links will explore how to use academic writing for social justice, while others will focus solely on explaining the dominant conventions of academic writing.

Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education, and Society — “Online Writing as a Tool for Decolonization”

Lukas Thiessen — “How Does the Artist Decolonize”

UniLearning — “Expressing Your Voice in Academic Writing”

Rachel Cayley — “Contribution and Voice in Academic Writing”

Documents We Will Use In Class:

Fanfic and narrative structure, evidence, etc —

Summarizing, Paraphrasing, Quoting —

All the (non-power acknowledging) comp topics ever —

Rhetoric in your writing —

Beyond the five-paragraph structure —

Three-story thesis —

Integrating evidence —

How to Post Your Assignments

When you post your assignments to the blog, this is where you will do it!

How, you might ask?

When you log into the course blog, you will see a plus sign (+) at the top of the page with the word “New” next to it. Click that to make a new post.

Then, it should lead you to a screen like the image below:

^^ Screenshot of the posting page on a logged-in WordPress account, highlighting the bottom right corner where you can select what category to put your post in.

The image is unfortunately blurry, but the red arrow and circle are hopefully helpful: when you’re adding a new post, in the bottom right side of the page, there should be a selection menu called “Categories.” Check the box that says “Assignments”, and your post will appear in the right place!

Please feel free to let me know if you have questions about this process.

Reading/Writing Class Schedule


Date Reading Due before Class Writing Due before Class (Posted to Course Blog before Class Begins)
Tuesday, March 6 Introductions
Thursday, March 8 Read entire syllabus.
    1. Check your LaGuardia email to confirm your course blog registration.
  • Post to the blog brief answers to each of the questions on the first page of this syllabus (after you read through the entire syllabus).
Tuesday, March 13 Intro to Poetry Email (no blog post necessary) your personal grading contract to me.
Thursday, March 15 “3 Ways to Speak English” by Jamila Lyiscott Post to blog three questions you have about the poem (written down) and two body gestures (described in writing) that the readings inspired for you and two sounds (described in writing) that the poem inspired for you.
Tuesday, March 20 “Names” by Rachel Rostad Post to blog three questions you have about the poem (written down) and two body gestures (described in writing) that the readings inspired for you and two sounds (described in writing) that the poem inspired for you.
Thursday, March 22
  1. “Poem for a Lady Whose Voice I Like” by Nikki Giovanni
  2. “Fan Fiction in the Composition Classroom” by Kimberly Karalius
  3. Read Fan Fiction Assignment Sheet
Tuesday, March 27 Peer Reviews Fan Fiction Draft Due on Blog
Thursday, March 29 Peer Reviews Post reviews to two of your classmates’ fan fictions (in comment form on the course blog)
Tuesday, April 3 Spring break (no classes)
Thursday, April 5 Spring break (no classes)
Tuesday, April 10 Class cancelled — professor out of town Fan Fiction and Reflection Due on Blog
Thursday, April 12 Intro to Drama
Tuesday, April 17 Begin Anon(ymous)
Thursday, April 19 Continue Anon(ymous) Post to blog three questions you have about the play (written down) and two body gestures (described in writing) that the play inspired for you and two sounds (described in writing) that the play inspired for you.
Tuesday, April 24 Finish Anon(ymous)
Thursday, April 26 Intro to Research

  1. “Rhetorical Modes”
  2. Read Research Essay Assignment Sheet
Tuesday, May 1 Peer Reviews

  1. “Moving Beyond the Five-Paragraph Theme”
  2. “The Three-Story Thesis”
Research Essay Draft Due on Blog
Thursday, May 3 Research + Peer Reviews Post reviews to two of your classmates’ research essays (in comment form on the course blog)
Tuesday, May 8 Intro to Comics Research Essay and Reflection Due on Blog
Thursday, May 10 Last Day to Officially Withdraw from a Class

Begin Ms. Marvel

Tuesday, May 15 Continue Ms. Marvel
Thursday, May 17
  1. Finish Ms. Marvel
  2. Read Narrative Essay Assignment
Tuesday, May 22 “Rhetorical Context”
Thursday, May 24 Peer Reviews Narrative Essay Draft Due on Blog
Tuesday, May 29 Peer Reviews Post reviews to two of your classmates’ narrative essays (in comment form on the course blog)
Thursday, May 31 Last Day of Class Narrative Essay and Reflection Due on Blog