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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Multimodal close reading as currency : transmediating poetic language through artistic design Yeung, Cindy K. L.


This Master’s thesis explores the use of artistic design in a senior high school English class to teach the stylistic analysis of poetry. As a reflective, critical inquiry into my own classroom practice, this paper follows primarily the methodology of teacher research. A less prominent but equally important methodology is the autobiographical living inquiry of a/r/tography. My research features a poetry project for an English 12 class in a fine arts mini-school. Students conducted a close reading of a poem and then communicated their interpretation and analysis by creating an original artistic work in a non-textual mode. The students also articulated their own process of design. By exploring parallels between the poem and their artistic work, they developed a descriptive metalanguage to analyze the rhetorical connections between different modes of communication. This paper draws on the research areas of multiliteracies pedagogy and aesthetic education to investigate the implications of transmediating poetic texts. The study of the classroom project is framed within my overarching inquiry into the value of teaching literary close reading in an age when literacy educators face increasing obligations to prepare students for the world of the globalized knowledge economy. I use the notion of currency, both as monetary worth and as fluidity, to argue that the stylistic analysis of literature—which is usually not perceived as utilitarian—can indeed be useful outside the English language arts classroom. A project in which students explore literary close reading through multimodal design can help them develop critical and creative skills that do have value and can therefore be considered currency in the students’ social and economic futures.

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