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Tutor profile: Elizabeth M.

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Elizabeth M.
Librarian for 3 years
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Questions

Subject: Writing

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Question:

How can I be a better, more effective writer?

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Elizabeth M.
Answer:

Apart from just continuing to write (the more you write, the more comfortable you become), there are three elements to consider when writing that can make your piece more effective. The three elements are: 1) Purpose, 2) Tone, and 3) Audience. Consider the purpose of your piece. Are you writing a cover letter and trying to sell how perfect you are for a job, or are you writing a lab report to explain the steps you took in that Biology class? These two writings have vastly different purposes, and that change in purpose requires a change in writing. The purpose plays into the tone. For the aforementioned cover letter, your tone will likely be more conversational and persuasive since you are trying to persuade a business to hire you. A lab report will be more clear and concise as you are laying out the facts of the experiment not trying to sell it. Along with knowing the purpose of the writing (and sticking to it) and utilizing the right tone, understanding your audience is paramount in effective writing. When writing a report on Eliot's "The Waste Land," you can assume your Literature professor knows what you are writing about; you can assume a certain level of expertise in your audience. You do not need to over explain basic facts about the poem. When writing a cover letter, your audience does not know you, but they do understand the job, so spend more time on what you can bring to the job rather than re-explaining the job. Learning how to use these 3 elements to tailor your writing will make you a better, more efficient writer.

Subject: Library and Information Science

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Question:

Technology is changing the landscape of the librarianship, how can I be a 'traditional' librarian but stay relevant and move forward as libraries adapt to this new landscape?

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Elizabeth M.
Answer:

There is rarely such a thing as a traditional librarian anymore. Any librarian should have, at minimum, basic computer skills in order to be marketable. To go above that, librarians need to understand some of the building blocks of the programs they use such as databases and linked data. Learning a programming language is an even greater step towards being able to understand the programs needed in a library, like the ILS, course reserves, etc. With the amount of APIs available for ILS's, understanding a programming language can allow a librarian to get information or create a small script to make their job more efficient. No matter what librarian position you may hold from acquisitions to subject librarian or access services to archives, knowing and understanding the technology around you makes you a better librarian and a better support for patrons in your community.

Subject: Literature

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Question:

Paul Muldoon is often described as a difficult or oblique poet to understand. Are there any overarching patterns or motifs that would enable a reader to derive meaning from his 'oblique' poetry?

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Elizabeth M.
Answer:

Repetition acts as a bridge in Paul Muldoon’s work both in one poem and across poems and books of poetry. Muldoon recognizes his use of repetition in an interview with John Redmond from Thumbscrew when he says: “I believe that these devices like repetition and rhyme are not artificial, that they’re not imposed, somehow, on the language. They are inherent in the language. Words want to find chimes with each other, things want to connect.” (Interview with John Redmond). Since the human brain views repetition as a pattern and a connection, its use in poetry is inherently to draw connections both within and through poems. An example of this is in the title poem of Maggot. The poet speaks of the death of a relationship and all the things he “used to wait on” or “for,” and then moves to mentioning all the activities he currently does “now” (43). In the nine-page poem, words such as “yarrow” and “trout” are repeated often while each page carries the refrain, “where I’m waiting for some lover / to kick me out of bed / for having acted on a whim.” Throughout four stanzas alone, “trout” and “yarrow” are both repetitions carried over from the first page of the poem, “has-been” and “ex” are repeated within the same stanza, and the refrain reoccurs. While the overall meaning of this page has to do with waiting for an argument to pass between the trout and the yarrow, and the writer recognizing the pastness and decay of his failed relationship with the “has-been” and “ex,” the repetition allows the connections to be made from one page to another in order to help form a meaning. By using the same carefully chosen words repeatedly, Muldoon forms a strict pattern that helps in producing poetic meaning and emotion by guiding the reader along the repeated lines of the poem and subsequently through the poem itself. In using words as bridges, Muldoon can connect a multitude of things: from people to people, language to language, and history to history.

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