All posts by JustErik

The Journey Rhetoric & Composition

Imagine my shock when one of the opening lines of this chapter pinpointed my experience in joining this field (on the third page!).

if students decide to major or even to do graduate work in English, they assume they will be studying literature. What these students often do not realize is that “English” also encompasses the discipline of rhetoric and composition

I became an English major for my love of literature: the classics, the epic poems, the satirical essays, and honestly the Victorian era as a whole. Later realizing that the inner workings of the writing field are so vast and dynamic, and that I would have to understand these inner workings if I were to ever join the league of giants I studied. Let me start by stating that I have no real desire to join the pedagogical field. However, learning the history and continuing progression of Rhetoric & Composition can only benefit my own journey as a writer.

Many of the topics in this chapter are not new to me due to a course I took last semester, Writing Pedagogies with Dr. Friend. A course I highly recommend to anyone wishing to extend their knowledge of the historical traditions of writing. Basically, imagine deep diving into this chapter and having your world view of teaching writing turned on its head. It was like cracking an egg on to a skillet slowly cooking it into breakfast, adding salt and pepper as you go along. That being said I am by no mean an expert in this, and I clearly understand that this is an ever growing and complicated field

I digress…
One part of this chapter that stood out to me was when the author quoted a document published by the CCCC (the Conference on College Composition and Communication) on the legitimate use of social dialects in students. The document rejected the requirement of a “single American Standard English in all student writing and affirmed the students’ right to their own patterns and varieties of language the dialects of their nurture or whatever dialects in which they find their own identity and style”. Having such a standard would rip away the voices of all writers. Identity is something so inherent in writing that (I believe) its impossible to detach. Being a poet I see it in each line I write, my experiences poured onto lines that I’ve carve on to paper, my strife’s, my pain, my joy all that originate from who I am, who I’ve become. This is why I’m so against the formalistic approaches. Why does it matter if my paper has a comma splice? Does that make the argument null? It reminded of an article that Richard Fulkerson wrote an article in 79′ on the four philosophies of writing. He wrote “the most common type of formalist value theory is a grammatical one: good writing is “correct” writing at the sentence level” (344). The use “correct” here bothered me, and is in line with this notion of an “American Standard English”. I wont get into on this blog post but if anyone wants to dip their toe, be my guest.

Anyways, my last thoughts on this week’s reading is my awe in learning that “only in the past thirty years has “rhetoric and composition ” become a full-fledged discipline within English studies”. I’m glad Janice M. Lauer started this chapter with this fact. It gave me some hope knowing that this discipline is still in constant change and growth. Maybe some of my peers or professors will have a hand in improving it.

Howdy Y’all

Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Erik with a k, and I am excited and anxious to be starting my second semester here at Kean’s MA English Writing Studies. I graduated from the Kean in 2018, so I guess you can say I decided to double down on the Kean degrees. hahaha *crickets* The reason I chose to pursue this MA is because I want to publish my writing but I don’t feel as if its good enough, there’s so much I don’t know about writing studies. Also, the world is changing so fast its hard to keep up on my own especially if I’m to go up against the ever evolving, villainous AI. So, I have to keep improving myself, my writing, my outlook, my mind, etc. (also my friend Brandon was the previous GA and told me this was a great program. He kind of convinced me to sign up) Anyways… below are some useless facts about me. Enjoy

I mentioned in class that I love the precision of words. I believe this came about from my upbringing. I was a very quiet and timid kid. I spent a lot of time in my head and grew up with a sister who is my polar opposite. While I was quiet she was rambunctious and always getting in trouble for saying whatever thought popped into her head. Very much a Ying to my Yang. I place all the blame on this dynamic; its what led me to keep my nose in a book most of the time, which led to me to loving stories, then words, then accuracy of those words, then poetry. One giant domino effect.

I love to write poetry though I don’t really like to share it. My work never feels complete, it can always be improved, edited, enhanced. That being said I do have an Instagram page for a few poems I’ve written that have passed my standards. I wont be sharing here, but you’re more than welcomed to ask me for it. Aside from poetry, I love Fantasy and Horror. Nothing better in this world than escapism and horrors beyond my human comprehension. I’m not too good at writing prose but don’t get me going on world building I’ll go into a month long psychosis, creating warring kingdoms fighting over a holy land only to discover it never existed or a human-dragon hybrid species being hunted down by zealots who calls them demons. I could go on… but I wont.

When I’m not practicing escapism, I spend my time gardening. There is something beautiful about helping a tiny seed turn into a sprout then a seedling then a mature plant. I prefer to garden vegetable and herbs but I do have some that don’t. My favorite is Erik Jr. (Yes I named them after me). I’ve had this Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera) for about 5 years now. Its my pride and joy and it blooms around Christmas time (the odds lol). It was a gift from a coworker when I worked at an Barnes & Noble. Other than that I grow tomatoes, peppers, mint, sage, lemongrass, rosemary , thyme, parsley, cilantro, and oregano.

The last thing I want you good folk to know about me is my other child, Perseus. He is an angel sent down from cat heaven to bless my life. He’s 2 years old and we got him when the bodega cat by my moms job had a litter and my sister swears he approached her and chose her. The Cat Distribution System at work. Percy is extremely friendly with people, loves thin slices of chicken breast (as a snack), dragging his claws on furniture, scratching your door at 3am (terrifying), sleeping by your feet, playing hide & seek and occasionally biting your calves as you walk by him.

That’s it, that’s the tweet.