Posted: February 25th, 2016
AM Klein – La Chaise Bercante
Heather O’Neill – Lullabies for Little Criminals
Leonard Cohen – Stranger Music
Mordechai Richler – Barney’s Version
Robert Allen – Standing Wave
Zoe Whittall – Bottle Rocket Hearts
This essay asks you to encounter one Montreal landmark or institution or place mentioned in a poem or in a passage of prose that we’ve studied and then to contextualize your own personal encounter with your reading of the text. The essay asks you to imagine that you physically investigate a spot mentioned in one of the books and to compare and contrast your notes to material from your reading list.
Let’s say, for example, you choose to visit St. Joseph’s Oratory and you contextualize your visit in terms of A.M. Klein’s poem “The Cripples.” I want you first to describe how you got to the Oratory (Where is it? Is it East, West, North or South? What is your understanding of it? etc. and to simply describe (using specific detail) what you see. What does the Oratory look like to you. Then, I want you to reflect on your reading of the Klein poem (How does the poem affect what you see? Does the poem reflect what you see or feel? Is the poem different than what you see? Why is the poem represented this way? Carefully making specific references to the poem through quotation and using proper bibliographic information. No secondary sources.
You can use any of the material already covered in class or on the syllabus.
Potential places / subjects:
– Notre Dame Cathedral in relation to Irving Layton’s “On Seeing the Statues of Jeremiah and Ezekial . . .”
– Sherbrooke Street in Westmount in relation to Carolyn Zonaillo’s “The Women of Westmount”
– The Mountain in relation to A.M. Klein’s “The Mountain”
– Sir Winston Churchill’s pub or Ziggy’s in relation to “Dink’s” in Mordecai Richler’s Barney’s Version.
– Ste. Catherine Street West in relation to Mordecai Richler’s Barney’s Version.
– The Old Sailor’s Church in Old Montreal in relation to Leonard Cohen’s “Suzanne”.
– The backwoods of the Eastern Townships in relation to Robert Allen’s “Sonnets from Jimmy Walker Swamp”.
– The suburb of Dorval in relation to Zoe Whittall’s Bottle Rocket Hearts.
-The “red light district” at St. Laurent and Ste. Catherine in relation to Heather O’Neill’s Lullabies for Little Criminals.
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