“Exercises for Freshman Composition” by Howard Faerstein

Howard Faerstein


for Mr. Mahedy

A. Define the thesis in the following topics:
Not a day goes by that I forget to wash.
I apologize for being so accessible, if for nothing else.
Walking into the hothouse, overcome by the smell of old love,
treasured and abhorrent memory holds like a tick.

B. Rewrite and punctuate:
what were we doing in the elevator dorothy
lights out hot hands the absence of rebuke
if only the tornado came tonight instead of years ago

C. Circle the prepositional phrases:
Drums, mother of pearl trim, sat in a bedroom corner.
I beat on the bass, high hat, the tightened snare.
Ignored the cymbals.

D. Identify the figures of speech:
(1) You flew from me like a cat when a plate breaks.
(2) Chomping caterpillars re-enact destruction of 2nd temple.

E. Revise the following paragraph, highlighting the relative clauses:
After the beagle fell through the chimney, I lifted her from 
the embers, carried her through the woods where she changed 
into a portable vacuum which I used to clean the trail. Then I dreamt 
of reconciliation when an admission of a dalliance with the Dean 
of Science caused me to awaken, shouting, What a hypocrite!

F. Eliminate the run-on:
Smack in the face of the smart money the shooting guard 
penetrates the paint dishes beyond the arc captures 
the crisp chest pass on the wing and floats one all net.

G. Correct for sentence fragments and misspellings:
I apolagize for being so inaccessible.
And for everything else.
The proffesor complemented me. On my voice.
Her exuberance overmatched mine. Love’s deadly imitation.
In today’s society. We have many problems.
H. Employing critical thinking, write a short essay explaining 
what you’re doing here.

I. Provide the answers:
Who wrote the book of love?
Why do fools fall in love?

For extra credit:
(1) When did Mayakovsky invent rock and roll?
(2) What’s love got to do with it?

Once more for emphasis.
Once again for clarity.

from Rattle #53, Fall 2016
Tribute to Adjuncts

[download audio]


Howard Faerstein: “Call me Professor F. Call me adjunct. Better still, call me visiting instructor, a title even more denigrating but necessary to meet the lower pay scale. Hired to be a teacher of American youth, I’ve been at it for almost two decades feeding American dreams to bored, sleepy, apathetic not-quite adults as if they’d be interested in Thoreau, Faulkner, Cheever—I should’ve focused on superheroes or why it’s no longer necessary to use apostrophes. There’s a rumor that college administrators will soon be subject to the same corporate out-sizing … wouldn’t that be sweet. But don’t count on it just yet.” (website)

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