The Bedford Book of Genres: A Guide & Reader

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2/19/2014
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's
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In a striking full-color visual format, The Bedford Book of Genres collects compelling examples that tell stories, report information, and persuade their audiences and then invites students to unpack how they work in order to experiment with their own compositions—not only through writing, but through photography, sketching, audio recording, and other creative forms. The Guide presents a simple rhetorical framework for reading in any genre and supports students through every step of the composing process, from finding a topic and sources to choosing a genre, presenting your work, and creating an author’s statement about your composing choices. Guided Readings—in print and e-Pages—map out the rhetorical situation and conventions of common public and academic genres, while Guided Process sections follow the decisions that 5 real students made as they worked in multiple genres and media. With 16 topic clusters and a range of readings from short visual arguments to longer, more complex pieces, the Reader gives students a wealth of sources, models, and inspiration for their own compositions.

Author Biography

Amy Braziller is an English faculty member and former department chair at Red Rocks Community College. She received her B.A. from Empire State College and her M.A. from New York University. Amy has presented on teaching writing and new media at numerous national and regional conferences. Her research focuses on the intersections between classroom and personal writing. Amy, who is at work on a series of personal essays related to her punk rock days in NYC, blogs about food, film, music, GLBT issues, and social media distractions at amybraziller.com. She is co-author (with Elizabeth Kleinfeld) of The Bedford Book of Genres.

Elizabeth Kleinfeld is the Writing Center Director and an Associate Professor of English at Metropolitan State College of Denver. She received her B.S. from Bradley University, and her M.S. in English and Ph.D. in Composition and Rhetoric from Illinois State University. Liz is a contributing researcher on The Citation Project and has published essays on new media, writing centers, and student source use in various journals and collections, including Computers & Composition Online. She is co-PI on a grant to develop a program on academic literacy for at-risk students, particularly migrants. Her current research focuses on how writing centers can intervene in students’ research processes. Liz is co-author (with Amy Braziller) of The Bedford Book of Genres.

Table of Contents


Part I: Experimenting with Genres: from analysis to draft

1. Understanding Genres

The Rhetorical Situation

     Purposes: Why Are You Composing?

     Audiences: Who Are You Composing For?

     Rhetorical Appeals: Ethos, Pathos, and Logos

     Modes & Media

Genre Conventions

     Elements of the Genre




Case Study: One Event, Two Genres: Arch Collapse at a National Park


     (press release) Paul Henderson, Wall Arch Collapses

     (blog post) Shaan Hurley, The Wall Arch Collapses in Arches National Park

Student Case Study: One Topic, Multiple Genres: Prescription Drugs and Advertising

     Kristen LaCroix (student), Drugs & Marketing Project

     Researching a Topic

     Choosing a Topic

     Determining a Purpose

     Considering Audience

     Using Rhetorical Appeals

     Choosing a Genre(s)

     Working with Modes and Media

     Working with Style

     Working with Design

     Drawing from Sources


     (collage capsule sculpture) Kristin LaCroix, Prescription for Change: The Impact of Drug Advertising 

     (artist’s statement) Kristin LaCroix , Why I Created “Prescription for Change”

2. Narrative Genres

The Rhetorical Situation

     Purposes: Why Tell Stories?

     Audience: How Do We Get Others to Connect with Our Stories?

     Rhetorical Appeals: How Do We Use Ethos, Pathos, and Logos to Tell Stories?

     Mode & Media: What Are the Best Choices? How Will They Affect your Story?

The Genre’s Conventions

     Elements of the Genre: What Do All Stories Have In Common?

     Style: How Does It Contribute to Your Story?

     Design: What Is the Best Physical Format For Your Story?

     Source: What Information Do We Draw on to Tell Stories?

Literacy Narratives

     Analyzing Literacy Narratives: What to Look For


     (literacy narrative) Richard Rodriguez, From Aria: A Memoir of Bilingual Education

     Drafting a Literacy Narrative


     Analyzing Memoirs: What to Look For


     (memoir) Dave Eggers, From A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

     Drafting a Literacy Narrative

Graphic Memoirs

     Analyzing Graphic memoirs: What to Look For


     (graphic memoir) Alison Bechdel, From Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic

     Drafting a Graphic Memoir

Photo Essays

     Analyzing Photo Essays: What to Look For


     (photo essay) Eros Hoagland, Life in the Googleplex

     Drafting/Sketching Out a Photo Essay


Fairy Tales

     Analyzing Fairy Tales: What to Look For


     (fairy tale) Charles Perrault, Little Red Riding Hood

     Drafting a Fairy Tale 


Short Stories

     Analyzing Short Stories: What to Look For


     (short short story) Annie Proulx, 55 Miles to the Gas Pump

     Drafting a Short Story 


Dramatic Films

     Analyzing Dramatic Films: What to Look For


     (dramatic film) Danny Boyle, From Slumdog Millionaire

     Drafting/Sketching Out a Dramatic Film

3. Informative Genres

The Rhetorical Situation

     Purposes: Why Share Information?

     Audiences: How Do We Inform Others?

     Rhetorical Appeals: How Do We Use Ethos, Pathos, and Logos to Inform?

     Mode & Media: How Can They Help You Inform?

The Genre Conventions

     Elements of the Genre: What Does All Informative Writing Have in Common?

     Style: How Does It Help You Inform?

     Design: What Is the Best Physical Format for Informing?

     Source: What Research Do We Draw on to Inform Our Readers?

Encylopedia Entries

     Analyzing Encyclopedia Entries: What to Look For


     (encyclopedia entry) The Encyclopedia Britannica, Global Warming

     Drafting an Encyclopedia Entry

Charts / Infographics

     Analyzing Charts / Infographics: What to Look For


     (infographic) The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Why Does a Salad Cost More than a Big Mac?

     Drafting a Chart / Infographic

News articles

     Analyzing News Articles: What to look for


     (news article) Nicholas Wade, For Cats, a Big Gulp with a Touch of the Tongue

     Drafting a News Article

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

     Analyzing Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles: What to Look For


     (peer-reviewed journal article) Sika Alaine Dagbovie, Mixed Race Superstars

     Drafting a Peer-Reviewed Journal Article



     Analyzing Maps: What to Look For

     (interactive map) GUIDED READING: WorldView, Ltd. MyLondonMap

     Drafting/Sketching a Map


Documentary Films

     Analyzing Documentary Films: What to Look For


     (documentary film) Doug Pray, from Scratch

     Sketching a Plan for a Documentary Film


Business Memos

Analyzing Business Memos: What to Look For


     (memo) Ellen Thibault, Video Project

     Drafting a Business Memo

4. Persuasive Genres

The rhetorical situation

     Purposes: Why Write to Persuade?

     Audiences: How Do We Persuade Others?

     Rhetorical Appeals: How Do We Use Ethos, Logos, and Pathos to Persuade?

     Mode & Media: How Can They Help You Persuade?

The genre conventions

     Style: How Do Elements of a Genre and Features of Your Writing Contribute to Your Persuasive Texts?

     Design: What is the Best Physical Format for Persuading?

     Source: What Research Do We Draw on to Persuade Others?


     Analyzing Advertisements: What to Look For


     (advertisement) Danone/Evian, Detox with Evian

     Drafting an Advertisement


     Analyzing Editorials: What to Look For


     (editorial) Katha Pollitt, Adam and Steve—Together at Last

     Drafting an Editorial

Researched Arguments

     Analyzing Researched Arguments: What to Look For


     (researched argument) Chase Dickinson (student), Are Kids On a One-Way Path to Violence?

     Drafting a Researched Argument

Authors’ & Artist’s Statements

     Analyzing Authors’ & Artist’s Statements: What to Look For


     (artist’s statement) Michael Kipp (student), Why and How I Created My Collage: Thank You

     Drafting an Author’s or Artist’s Statement

Collages / Visual Arguments

     Analyzing Collages / Visual Arguments: What to Look For


     (collage) Richard Hamilton, Just What Makes Today’s Homes So Different, So Appealing?

     Sketch or Draft a Collage / Visual Argument 



     Analyzing Presentations: What to Look For


     (presentation) Shereen El Feki, Pop Culture in the Arab World

     Drafting a Presentation


Personal Statements

     Analyzing Personal Statements: What to Look For


     (personal statement) TopLawSchools.com & Stay-at-Home Dad, Personal Statement for Penn Law School

     Drafting a Personal Statement


Cover Letters & Resumes

     Analyzing Cover Letters & Resumes: What to Look for


     Julia Nollen, Applying for Marketing Assistant Job

     Drafting a Cover Letter & Resume 


Film Reviews

     Analyzing Film Reviews: What to Look For


     Roger Ebert, Ratatouille: Waiter, There’s a Rat in my Soup

     Drafting a film review 

Part II: Composing in Genres — from start to finish

5. Exploring Topics & Creating a Research

Choosing a Topic through Basic Research

     1. Brainstorm topic ideas: Read, talk, sketch, enjoy.

     GUIDED PROCESS: How to Choose a Topic

     Sharon Freeman (student), From Coffee to Germs

     2. Explore topic ideas through preliminary research. Who’s saying what?

     3. Commit to a single viable topic. What are you most curious about?

     4. Form a working research question—and refine as you go.

Moving from Research Question to Proposal

     GUIDED PROCES: How to Research a Topic

     Jasmine Huerta (student), Diabetes Project

     Exploring a topic: Diabetes

     Finding facts about Diabetes

     Gathering Opinions about Diabetes

     Creating a Research Proposal 

Organizing Your Sources

     Use simple strategies: email, bookmark, copy/paste, screen capture 000

     Create a list of sources: keep a working bibliography 000

     Better yet, keep an annotated working bibliography 000

     GUIDED PROCESS: How to Create a Bibliography

     Jasmine Huerta (student), Diabetes Project: Bibliography

     Drafting a research question, proposal, and bibliography

6. Evaluating & Choosing Sources

Getting Started with Sources

     What are sources?

     Where do I find sources?

     What can sources do for me?

     What’s a general source? What’s a specialized academic source?

     What are primary & secondary sources? What are tertiary sources?

     How do I preview a source critically?

Previewing a Source

     Emily Kahn (student): Women in Comic Books Project

     1. What is Lightspeed Magazine?

     2. Who Are the Editors & Staff Members at Lightspeed Magazine?

     3. Who Is Jehanzeb, the Author of the Article?

     4. What Type of Article Is This? Will It Work for My Project?

     GUIDED PROCESS: How to Preview a Source

     Emily Kahn (student), Women in Comic Books Project: Previewing Jehanzeb Dar 

     5. Should I add this source to my working bibliography?

Evaluating a Source

     Calvin Sweet: Hurricane Katrina Project

     How do I evaluate a source? How is this different from previewing?

     GUIDED PROCESS: How to Evaluate Sources

     Calvin Sweet, Hurricane Katrina Project: Evaluating 3 Sources

     Calvin Sweet, Hurricane Katrina Project: Research Plan

7. Integrating & Documenting sources

Integrating Sources into Your Writing

Using a Parenthetical Citation or Signal Phrase


     GUIDED PROCESS: How to Quote from a Source

     Paul Pierre (student), Nonviolent Protest Project: Quoting Gandhi


     GUIDED PROCESS: How to Paraphrase a Source

     Paul Pierre (student), Nonviolent Protest Project: Paraphrasing Julia Bacha


     GUIDED PROCESS: How to Summarize a Source

     Paul Pierre (student), Nonviolent Protest Project: Summarizing Julia Bacha

Avoiding Plagiarism

Documenting sources: A Guide to MLA & APA Styles

How to choose a documentation style

MLA Style

MLA Models

APA Style

APA Models 

8. Composing in Genres

Rough Drafting

Advice for rough drafting

     GUIDED READING: A Rough Draft

     Gwen Ganow (student), Superhero Project: Rough Draft

Rereading & Annotating Sources

Steps for Rereading & Annotating Sources

     GUIDED PROCESS: How to Reread & Annotate a Source

     Gwen Ganow (student), Superhero Project: An Annotated Source

Choosing a genre to compose in

Steps for choosing a genre to compose in

     GUIDED PROCESS: How to Choose a Genre to Compose In

     Gwen Ganow (student), Superhero Project:

     Brainstorm to Refine Topic & Purpose

     3 Annotated Persuasive Sources

     Notes on Persuasive Genre Chosen to Compose In

Composing your Genre Piece

Steps for composing

     GUIDED PROCESS: How to Compose a Genre Piece

     Gwen Ganow (student), Superhero Project

     Film Review Draft #1

     Evaluation of Film Review Draft #1

     Film Review Drafts #2 and #3

Composing an Accompanying Author’s or Artist’s Statement

Advice for composing your statement

     GUIDED PROCESS: How to compose an author’s statement

     Gwen Ganow (student), Superhero Project: Author’s Statement: Draft #1

9. Revising & remixing your work

Revising Your Work

Revising Based on Your Own Observations

Revising Based on Peer Review

     GUIDED PROCESS: Integrating Peer Feedback: Draft to Finished Composition

     Gwen Ganow (student), Superhero Project:

     Author Statement Draft #1—with Peer Review

     Author Statement Revision List

     Author Statement Draft #2

     Author Statement Revision List

     Author Statement Draft #3

     Author Statement: Final (shows edits)

     Author Statement: Final (edits incorporated)

Remixing Your Work into Different Genres 

     GUIDED PROCESS: Remixing a Genre Project

     Gwen Ganow, Superhero Project Remix: PowerPoint presentation with “Top 10” List 

10. Assembling a Multigenre Project

The Possibilities of the Multigenre Project

     Your Rhetorical Situation

     The Conventions of the Multigenre Project

The Steps to Assembling a Multigenre Project

     1. Introduce your project and provide context

     2. Sequence your genre pieces

     3. Title your project

     4. Create an author’s or artist’s statement

     5. Package your project creatively

Examples of multigenre projects

     GUIDED READINGS: Multigenre projects

     Neil Carr (student), Video Games and Violence: Who Should We Blame When Kids are Violent?

     Gwen Ganow (student), When Worlds Collide: Why Superheroes Matter

     Dawson Swan (student), The Threat of Nature Deficit Disorder

Appendix: 4 readings 



     (poster campaign) Homeless Coalition of Hillsborough County, Not Who You Expected?


The body

     (argument) Michael Pollan, 6 Food Rules


The environment

(object/ad) Surfrider Foundation, Catch of the Day: Plastic Surprise


Heroes & villains

     (myths) The Federal Bureau of Investigation, From Serial Murder: Multi-Disciplinary Perspectives for Investigators: Common Myths and Misconceptions Regarding Serial Murder


11. Identity

Identity & Stuff

     (researched argument) Sam Gosling, From Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You

     (ad) Acura, The 2009 Acura TSX

Composing Identity

     (essay) Garrison Keillor, Last Words

     (profile) Kirsten Herold, Facebook Profile

     (blog entry / diagram) Mark Dixon, Discovering Identity

     (timeline) Alli, Timeline of My Life

Our Bodies, Ourselves

     (essay) Paul Bloom, First Person Plural

     (photo series) Billie Hara, Identity: Parts and Pieces

     (essay) Hanna Rossin, A Boy’s Life

     (nursery rhyme) Unknown, What Are Folks Made Of?

Immigration & Identity

     (fiction) Amy Tan, Two Kinds

     (poem) Emma Lazarus, The New Colossus

     (cartoon) Conservative Outpost, Not Yours

American Identity

     (editorial) Matthew Iglesias, The Myth of Majority-Minority America

     (ads) Homeless Coalition of Hillsborough County, Not Who You Expected?

          Sameya, age 18; Jeff, age 44

     (editorial blog post) Ted Merwin, What Makes the Jewish Deli American?,

Subculture Identity

     (wiki entry) eHow, How to Become a Geek

     (interview) Deborah Soloman, Patti Smith: She Is a Punk Rocker

12. The Body

Bodies 101

     (poem) Walt Whitman, From I Sing the Body Electric

     (instructions) American Heart Association and the University of Washington School of Medicine, Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)

     (medical history) Dr. John G. Sotos, aka Doctor Zebra, The Health and Medical History of President Ronald Reagan

     (personal essay) Harriet McBryde Johnson, Unspeakable Conversations

     (researched argument) Barbara Ehrenreich, Smile or Die: The Bright Side of Cancer

Food, Obesity, & Fat Advocacy

     (list/argument) Michael Pollan, 6 Food Rules

     (essay) Regina Schrambling, Lard: After Decades of Trying, Its Moment Is Finally Here

     (ad) GlaxoSmithKline, Alli: My Story

     (napkin) Starbucks, Real Food, Simply Delicious

     (essay) Laura Fraser, The Inner Corset: A Brief History of Fat in the U.S.

     (essay) Juliet Samuel, Fat Pride World Wide: The Growing Movement for Avoirdupois Acceptance

     (blog pages) Paul McAleer, About Big Fat Blog; About Fat Acceptance

     (essay) Daniel Engber, Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Fat Asses

Messing with the Body

     (argument essay) Gregg Easterbrook, Embrace Human Cloning

     (essay) Victoria Clayton, Is Cosmetic Surgery a Good Gift for Grads?

     (news article) Science Daily, Men Fuel Rebound in Plastic Surgery

     (phone app) Dr. Michael A. Salzhauer, iSurgeon

The Brain & Mental health

     (memoir) Andy Behrman, From Electroboy: A Memoir of Mania: “Oz”

     (journal news article) Joan Arehart-Treichel, Women’s Depiction in Drug Ads: Holdover from a Bygone Era?

     (letter & painting) Vincent Van Gogh, “Dear Theo” and Dr. Gachet Seated at a Table

Cigarettes, Drugs, & Alcohol

     (spoof ad) Adbuster’s Magazine, Joe Chemo 

     (portfolio of ads) Stanford School of Medicine (curators), Vintage Cigarette Ads 000

     (map & chart) John Hoffman & Susan Froemke, Addiction is a National Concern and Drugs and Alcohol at a Glance

13. The Environment

Going Green: Ethics & The Climate Crisis

     (editorial) Alex Williams, Buying into the Green Movement

     (argument) Al Gore, From An Inconvenient Truth

     (brief arguments) Matt Power, Spencer Reiss, Joanna Pearlstein, Inconvenient Truths: 10 Green Heresies

Corporate Greening

     (brief article) Eric Hagerman, Little Green Lies

     (researched essay) Anna Lenzer, Spin the Bottle

     (fact sheet) Jen Quraishi, H2-Uh-Oh: Dirty Facts about Bottled Water

     (portfolio of ads) Shell, The New Energy Future; Chevron, I Will Leave the Car at Home More; BP, Gulf of Mexico Restoration

Pollution & Activism

     (article) Leyla Kokman, Environmental Justice for All

     (speech) President Barack Obama, The BP Oil Spill

     (billboard) Environmental Defense Fund, The Traffic Is Killing Me

     (complaint letter) Credo Action, Tell CEOs to stop burning coal

Plastics, Recycling, & Wildlife

     (object/ad) Surfrider Foundation, Catch of the Day: Plastic Surprise

     (ad) Oceana.org, Love Flipper and His Friends?

     (poster) Republic Services, Recycle More. It’s Easy to Do

     (comic & pie chart) Environmental Protection Agency, From Adventures of the Garbage Gremlin & Municipal Solid Waste Chart

Fashion & The Environment

     (brief article & ad) NotCot, Global Warming, Diesel Style

     (ad) Gaiam, Feel the World Outside: Organic Cotton

     (t-shirt) Ban T-Shirts, There Is No Planet B

Food & The Environment

     (personal essay) Jonathan Safran Foer, Against Meat

     (argument) Christine Lennon, Pro-Meat: Why Veggies Are Going Carnivore

     (argument) James E. McWilliams, The Locavore Myth

14. Heroes & Villains

Mythical Heroes

     (presentation) Chris Murban, The Archetypal Hero

     (interview) Joseph Campbell, From The Power of Myth: The Hero’s Adventure

     (map) Prestwick House Maps, The Journey of Odysseus

     (comic book adaptation) Homer/ Marvel Comics, From The Odyssey

     (fiction) Margaret Atwood, From The Penelopiad

Archetypal Villains

     (etymology) Dictionary.com, “Villain”

     (list) The American Film Institute, 100 Greatest Heroes &Villains

     (researched article) Stuart Fischoff, Villains in Film

     (instructions) Lee Masterson, Instructions for Writers: Creating Villains People Love to Hate

Everyday Heroes

     (parody) The Onion, Only Guy Who Puts Paper in the Copier Considers Himself a Hero

     (posters & brochure) War Production Co-Coordinating Committee, Rosie the Riveter: “We Can Do It; Vocational Education Posters, I Am a Firefighter; CISCRP.org, MedicalHeroes

     (lyrics) Bruce Springsteen, Local Hero

     (article) Joshua B. Freeman, Working-Class Heroes

     (editorial) Mike Celizic, No Athlete Deserves to Be Called a Hero

     (memoir) Jimmy Santiago Baca, A Place to Stand

Public Heroes

     (photo & quote) Martin Luther King

     (obituary) The New York Times, Rosa Parks

     (speech) John F. Kennedy, Special Address to Congress on The Importance of Space

     (photo) Neil Armstrong, Astronaut Buzz Aldrin

Serial Killers, Murderous Moms

     (myths) The Federal Bureau of Investigation, From Serial Murder: Multi-Disciplinary Perspectives for Investigators: Common Myths and Misconceptions Regarding Serial Murder

     (argument) David von Drehl, It's All About Him

     (police report) To Come

     (profiles) Charles Montaldo/About.com,

          Profile of Jeffrey Dahmer

          Profile of Andrea Yates

          Profile of Dennis Rader aka the "BTK" Strangler

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