the Prophet by Khalil Jibran
write about the book “The Prophet” by Khalil Jibran
Rationale: We are so used to seeing poems printed individually in magazines or selected in anthologies that it is easy to forget that it may have had its most important appearance in a book or chapbook, in a particular layout and arrangement in relation to other poems by the poet. In short, we forget the poem’s status as part of a larger artistic artifact. In this paper, you are asked to consider a single chapbook or poetry collection as a coherent work of art which exists and leaves a trace in time and space.
Project: Tour task is to learn what you can about the poet, the poet’s place in and contributions to American poetry and the place of the book within the poet’s oeuvre. Then you should read the book carefully noting not just the poems within but their arrangement on the page and in relation to other poems in the book and other, perhaps ancillary, material. Try to acquire a first edition or a facsimile. If you cannot get one, remember that reprints may contain extraneous matter. Carefully note such physical things as font, artwork, cover, colors, typography, etc., especially as they may have bearing on the poems’ meaning and reception. If some of the poems within are frequently printed separately, or were known to you from some other context, think about whether reading the poem in its original place has any effect on your understanding of it. Finally, see if you can find reviews of the book from the time of its first publication. (In addition to looking for reviews in back issues of appropriate periodicals, you might see if there are critical biographies of the poet available and read the portions having to do with the book in question.) What were the poet’s contemporaries saying about it? What are literary historians or critics saying?
The paper you write should be an informed critical analysis of the book as a unified artifact. That is, draw upon what you have learned to provide a context for a discussion of the book: its poetic achievement, its importance, and its aesthetic effect. Your paper should combine rich description of the book with close reading of one or more poems within the book and an assessment of its overall aesthetic success or failure. Your researches into the poet and the book’s critical reception will ground your essay in an ongoing critical dialogue and within literary history. It goes without saying that this paper will demonstrate your best work and will employ what you were taught in ENG 3050 and 3060.
Cautions: 1. Not all of these books are available in the Dunbar library, though any of them should be easily Ohio-linked. There may be stiff competition for the local holdings. So choose and acquire your book ASAP. You need to show me your copy of the book and provide me with a list of secondary resources (in full MLA format) by October 24. In addition to the actual poetry book, at least half of your resources should be print resources. 2. You have a long lead time on this project. Assume that means I am expecting a level of work commensurate with the time you had for it.