I assigned two of my classes to write a Santra Cisneros pastiche - five vignettes written in a minimalist, yet poetic, style akin to Cisneros. There are a few other requirements, as well:
* Child or adolescent narrator
* Use of ten metaphors, similes, or personifications
* Use of at least two symbols
* Direct emulation of at least one of Cisneros' vignettes (such as "My Name")
* Address at least one social problem in one of the vignettes
* Use of humor
* Imagery to all five senses
I read through the first draft of many of the students' on Friday. Some are so good that I got goosebumps, and I swear that some are even publishable. They really are amazing. I can't believe it's taken me five years of teaching to figure out that House on Mango Street is the book that will produce the best student writing imaginable.
The project has gotten me so excited that I want to get all the vignettes together from all the students, and run them off in bound versions for all the kids at Kinko's. I would not imagine that this would set me back too much, and I think the memento that the kids would get would be something that they would keep for a long time.
One of my classes is pressuring me to write my own vignettes, because I let slip that I'd never written one. I wrote my first one this afternoon. They're hard! I mean, they're sort of easy to write, but it's hard as hell to make them good. I might post a couple here sometime soon for feedback before I "publish" the class sets at Kinko's.
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