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1. Essay: I Can't Go On! by Joan Acocella (2015)

Favorite Sentence: "Now actors were not just socioeconomically nudged toward identification with their characters; they were forthrightly asked to invest their most personal resources—their emotions, their memories—in their enactments, so that when the audience clapped, or not, the actors could easily feel that what was being approved or disapproved was not so much their skill as them."

—Picked by Roshni Sopariwalla, 1L Oral Advocacy Competition Chair (Class of 2023) 


2. Poetry: The Speaking Tree by Muriel Rukeyser (2006)

Favorite Line: "Three of them in their shore-dance, flames that stand
                         Where reeds are creatures and the foam is flame."


—Picked by Victoria Clark, 2021 Campbell Moot Court Winner (Class of 2022)


3. Fiction: The Spread by Ben Lerner (2019)

Favorite Sentence: "He began to feel less like he was delivering a speech and more like a speech was delivering him, that the rhythm and intonation of his presentation were beginning to dictate its content, that he no longer had to organize his arguments so much as let them flow through him."

—Picked by Allison Esquen-Roca, LSSS President (Class of 2023) 
 
Michigan Sentences: Here is a story about a competition at the University of Michigan-Dearborn called "Young Sharks" that gives elementary school kids a chance to practice pitching business ideas, like on the American television show Shark Tank Syllabus Sentences: Here is a set of four new online courses called Good with Words: Speaking and Presenting that I recently launched with the help of the Center for Academic Innovation. Michigan students, staff, faculty, and alums can take the courses for free by entering their UMID at this portal. Anybody else can also take the courses for free. Simply sign up for the individual sections below and select the "Audit" option. 
Book Recommendations
Notes on Nuance: "Matched Only By" (or "Equaled Only By")
 
Note how the words "matched only by" or "equaled only by" can be used to set up a clever, compelling comparison.

"John and Margaret Gardiner lived in Helensburgh on the west coast of Scotland, an hour’s drive from Glasgow. John was an ex-merchant seaman whose ability to dream big was matched only by his ability to run up debts."
 
—Val McDermid, Forensics: What Bugs, Burns, Prints, DNA, and More Tell Us About Crime (2014)


“I had grown up in the New York City public school system and knew that the level of stagnation of its bureaucracy was matched only by the enthusiasm and ability of the bright-eyed children who populated its classrooms.”

—Seymour Fliegel, Miracle in East Harlem (1993)


“His bravery in action was equaled only by his modesty in triumph, and his magnanimity to the vanquished.”

—Captain James Lawrence's Gravestone, Trinity Churchyard (1813)
Additional Resources
                                                                       
Online Course

Good with Words: Writing and Editing
Books     

Good with Words: Writing and Editing  
Notes on Nuance                                                    
The Syntax of Sports: Class 1 
The Syntax of Sports: Class 2
Prison Poise
You can find archived editions as well as a sign-up sheet to subscribe here.

Copyright © Patrick Barry, All rights reserved.



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barrypj@umich.edu

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