As I reflect on all the genres we have explored this semester, I have found that I have grown so much in not only my knowledge in the various genres, but also as a writer in developing genre pieces. This class has really helped me open up as a writer, allowing me to express myself in ways I could not see possible.
This class really helped me as a writer to discover the various text features within the different genres. I was already aware that within the expository genre and nonfictional text, readers will find specific text features helpful in guiding them throughout their reading and writing (Tompkins, 2006, p.206). Such features entail marginal notes, glossaries to assist readers in understanding key words, as well as how to properly pronounce such words, headings and footnotes to direct the readers attention, as well as an index to help readers locate specific information within the text. The expository genre entails such features to make the given text easier to read and comprehend (Tompkins, 2006, p.206). Such features are rare to find when it comes to the genre of poetry. Within this genre, the authors incorporate such text features as alliteration, metaphors, onomatopoeia, rhyme, repetition, as well as personification (p.170). Such devises not only provide structure to the reading, but also enable the reader to paint a vivid picture inside their head of what they are reading (p.168-170). Although I had already been aware of the given text features/genre features of expository text from my own experiences in reading nonfiction, I was not fully aware of the text structures within the genre of poetry. Poetry is a genre that has been very intimidating for me and has been something that I kept at an arms length throughout much of my young adult life.
In revealing my prior hesitance towards the poetry genre, I have found that I have now become less timid. As a writer, my pieces have always fit in the expository genre mold. In my undergraduate career, the majority of my writing was focused on research papers, while the majority of my reading was researched based. Through such exposure, I found that I lost part of my creativity in expressing myself and interests through the use of poetry and personal narratives. It became increasingly more difficult to let my guard down in order to create more descriptive pieces. This overall fear even stopped me from expressing my personal insights and feelings towards our individual genre project. I was really nervous and scared to let go and just write what I felt. This became especially true for my poem on vegan athletes. However, it wasn’t until I had read Tompkins, chapter seven on poetry writing, as well as the poetry group presentation that I became excited. I found that I could be given the structure I needed, yet still express my creativity through the use of the I Am poem.
I think that as a teacher, we can help eliminate such fear and stress for our students when developing poems by allowing them the chance to experiment with poetic form (p. 172). The teacher could begin the unit of poetry by scaffolding the steps to completing a poem. Teachers may want to begin by creating a whole-class poem on a given topic as a way to give students practice (p.172). In connecting this to the Poetry Group Presentation from last week, it really helped me when we were broken up into pairs to create the I Am poem. This supported my learning, because it became less intimidating having someone to work with. It gave me the confidence I needed in knowing that I could do it on my own.
At the start of class, I really believed that I knew a lot about descriptive writing. Although I was afraid to use descriptive writing, I thought that it was really easy to understand and use…if I wanted to. However, after being assigned the descriptive genre as part of the group genre project, I found that like any other genre, there was a lot more to it than just using adjectives in a sentence. Descriptive writing involves using words to paint a vivid picture in the reader’s head. It brings to mind a distinctive mood (p. 136). I did not realize that as we write descriptive pieces, that we still need to be aware of our choice in words, making sure not to over use words/not to ass too many adjectives in a sentence as to make sure that our voice is not lost. As we write descriptively, we also need to keep in mind the role of purpose and audience. Like other genres, this will help to guide our writing so that our target audience can be met. Although I learned so much regarding this genre, the one thing that I take away as the most monumental learning point was that descriptive writing is not separate from other genres. It is embedded in all of our writings (p.153). However, as teachers, we must understand that teaching students how to write descriptively is the most important thing. We cannot assign students to write a poem or a descriptive piece without having hem first comprehend the genre as well as in understanding and identifying the purpose for their descriptive piece (p.153).
As I continue to grow in my writing, I still feel that I lack the most confidence in developing personal narratives. I find that as I take the time to sit down and write, I often draw a blank. I am so used to having structure in my writing, that it is difficult to just let go and express myself. Hopefully I can conquer this challenge and be able to let my creative juices flow.