#keatscore Mood Boards

The #keatscore mood board that Hannah Rollison (MA ’22) created for ENGL 801 “Introduction to Graduate Studies”

This fall semester, our M.A. students in ENGL 801 “Introduction to Graduate Studies” are reading and discussing John Keats’s ode “To Autumn” as they enhance their skills at close reading.

Also this fall semester, during COVID-19, we are meeting asynchronously one day a week, testing out some different ways to engage in the work of literary interpretation.

Last week for Keats’s “To Autumn,” I offered a more traditional online discussion board assignment to select two images and share how those images worked together towards one of the poem’s themes. I also offered a less traditional option: to create a #keatscore mood board to represent those selected images and theme.

It was a popular choice among the nineteen students in the class, and I’m happy to share a small sampling based on votes from the class and other faculty.

Here’s the #keatscore mood board assignment:

Using your two selected images (words or short phrases) from the poem’s collection of images, create an aesthetic mood board that represents those images and the resulting theme(s) of Keat’s “To Autumn” — a #Keatscore mood board, in the parlance of internet aesthetics, for “To Autumn.”

Remember: Your two images might be similar (reinforcing the same pattern of imagery and theme), or the two images could be complementary (representing two contrasting or diverging patterns of imagery and themes).

Your #Keatscore mood board should have between 5-9 visuals, and no more than one should include text. You can create the mood board using whatever platform you prefer, saving the resulting collage as a JPG file.

When your #Keatscore mood board is ready, share the JPG file in your reply below. Be sure to include in the body of your post the two selected images (the quotations from the poem) that inspired the mood board and a brief description (1-3 sentences) of the theme(s) you’re aiming to convey.

For examples of internet aesthetic mood boards, visit an example of “cottagecore,” “blue cottagecore“, “yellow summer hues“, and “winter.”

If you’d like to refresh your memory of Keats’s poem, you can enjoy it here, courtesy of Poets.org and the National Poetry Foundation: https://poets.org/poem/autumn

Karin Westman, Associate Professor and Department Head

Hannah Rollison (MA ’22): I wanted to focus on how Keats uses tone in the poem to have a conversation with Autumn to convince it of its beauty and worth. One image I used to capture the essence of fall was “And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn” (30) which differentiates Fall from the Spring when the lambs were born. The second image I used was “Drowsed with the fume of poppies” (17) which I thought captured the sleepy calmness that evades the poem.

Joey Frasco (MA ’22): The main imagery I’m looking at when looking at the poem are the lines “Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun” (2) and “While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day” (25). I want to capture this feeling of maturing and a slow rolling towards a sort of death. It isn’t a death of fear, rather one of slow and calm progression. As Fall cascades into Winter, it is a natural and slow process that seems to be a concurrent metaphor to the slow, steady process of lulling one towards a similar end.

Sharidan Kraljic (MA ’22): I wanted to focus primarily on the first stanza because it is already an incredibly visual stanza filled with fall aesthetic. I go into great detail in my paper on this stanza, so when I think of this poem lines such as “To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees, / And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core” are emblazoned in my memory (5-6). As I was working with this poem I had an apple-scented candle lit (it’s fall, y’all) and I think the strong visual images combined with the (rather overwhelming sometimes) scent of my candle created a deeply ingrained memory of this poem for me. I was also attracted to the animal imagery. I love bees, which are given “later flowers” by the subject and “think warm days will never cease” (9-10). Finally, I noticed the passage of time when the narrator comments on the “full grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn” (30).

Marissa Combs (MA ’22): I chose the images “by a cider-press, with patient look, / Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours” and “small gnats mourn / Among the river sallows, borne aloft / Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies.” My mood board aims to convey the poem’s theme that vitality/ripeness/life is itself horrifying because of its inevitable next phase, which is decay/death.

Cecily Cecil (MA ’22): My selected images are “To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells” and “While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day.” The first image speaks to the bountifulness of autumn and the next to the passage of time. The theme I hoped to represent with my mood board is that while the passage of time is inevitable (expressed with frosted leaves), we should appreciate the bountifulness and beauty of the autumns of our lives instead of trying to look back towards the spring.

Dylan Holt (MA ’22): A few of the quotes I tried to encapsulate were “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, / Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun” and “Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep, / Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook / Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers.”  I wanted to pull from agricultural imagery, as well as natural scenes like the sun beaming through mist covered autumn trees.  I tried to capture a mood of misty melancholy mellow.  I am most proud of the autumn face, as I really wanted to find an image that represented Keats’ personification of Autumn in the poem.  This might have been my favorite assignment so far of the semester!

Spencer Young (MA ’22): Okay, this was a bit harder than I thought it would be. I couldn’t decide how much Keats I wanted to feature in the mood board. Apparently, the answer is 2/3 of the board, but I promise I’ll explain how these images connect to “To Autumn.”

The two phrases I selected from the poem are “to swell the gourd” (7) and “thy hair soft-lifted” (15). These two images, in my mind, display the the two sides of Autumn: a season of abundance and a season of rest. The images in the middle of my mood board are meant to embody that abundance: rosy-hued clouds, startling autumn tree canopies, and the eponymous collection of gourds. The images relating to Keats, one a painting of him by his friend Joseph Severn (who is buried directly next to him), and another of his gravestone (“Here lies One Whose Name was writ in Water”), are meant to display that sense of rest. I will also note that I think this mood board is very in line with the #keatscore aesthetic. After all, Keats may have been a gentle soul, but he had a big ol’ ego too. He would’ve loved to see his face plastered all over the internet.

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