Poetry Grade 12 Level 4


I learned early on with 1136656201_1699.jpg [Dylan] that the people he hung around with were not musicians. They were poets, like Allen Ginsberg. When we were in Europe, there’d be poets coming out of the woodwork. His writing came directly out of a tremendous poetic influence, a license to write in images that weren’t in the Tin Pan Alley tradition or typically rock & roll, either.

— Robbie Robertson


Before you read this poem or start this unit, I want to explore with you what your experience with poetry has been. Tell us about how you have studied poetry before, what poems you remember, what you did with those poems and whether or not you liked them. Tell us anything else that seems relevant about your study of poetry.
200 words minimum
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Homework: Get a notebook for English class. Read and do a dialogue journal on Lose Yourself.


Before you read these song lyrics by Eminem, read this:

How To Read a Poem (Three Things)

1. Read the poem all the way through without stopping.
2. Read the poem again with your Dialogue Journal opened, and write questions you have about the poem. The questions could be about individual words. Or, the questions could be about ideas or images or allusions in the poem. The questions could be about who the speaker is, about the tone or about the person to whom the speaker is talking. I call this the interrogation.
3. Read the poem AT LEAST one more time, so you can investigate the answers to the questions you have and draw some conclusions. You may want to use google or the dictionary or wikipedia to research some concepts in the poem that you do not understand. Do not use wikipedia to research the poem itself. That is cheating.

I can’t imagine that anyone could construct an interpretation of a poem without reading it AT LEAST three times.

Lose Yourself


Look.. if you had.. one shot,or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted.. in one moment
Would you capture it.. or just let it slip? Yo..
[Verse 1]
His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy
There's vomit on his sweater already, mom's spaghetti
He's nervous, but on the surface he looks calm and ready
to drop bombs, but he keeps on forgetting
what he wrote down, the whole crowd goes so loud
He opens his mouth but the words won't come out
He's chokin, how? Everybody's jokin now
The clock's run out, time's up, over - BLAOW!
Snap back to reality, Oh there goes gravity
Oh there goes Rabbit, he choked
He's so mad, but he won't
Give up that easy no, he won't have it
He knows, his whole back's to these ropes
It don't matter, he's dope
He knows that, but he's broke
He's so sad that he knows
when he goes back to this mobile home, that's when it's
back to the lab again, yo, this whole rapshody
He better go capture this moment and hope it don't pass him

You Better, lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go (go)
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime
You better, lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go (go)
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime
You Better..

[Verse 2]
Soul's escaping, through this hole that is gaping
This world is mine for the taking
Make me king, as we move toward a, new world order
A normal life is boring; but superstardom's
close to post-mortem, it only grows harder
Homie grows hotter, he blows it's all over
These hoes is all on him, coast to coast shows
He's known as the Globetrotter
Lonely roads, God only knows
He's grown farther from home, he's no father
He goes home and barely knows his own daughter
But hold your nose cause here goes the cold water
These hoes don't want him no mo', he's cold product
They moved on to the next schmoe who flows
He nose-dove and sold nada, and so the soap opera
is told, it unfolds, I suppose it's old partner
But the beat goes on da-da-dum da-dum da-dah


[Verse 3]
No more games, I'ma change what you call rage
Tear this motherfuckin roof off like two dogs caged
I was playin in the beginning, the mood all changed
I've been chewed up and spit out and booed off stage
But I kept rhymin and stepped right in the next cypher
Best believe somebody's payin the pied piper
All the pain inside amplified by the
fact that I can't get by with my nine to
five and I can't provide the right type of
life for my family, cause man, these God damn
food stamps don't buy diapers, and it's no movie
There's no Mekhi Phifer, this is my life
And these times are so hard, and it's gettin even harder
Tryin to feed and water my seed plus, see dishonour
Caught up between bein a father and a primadonna
Baby momma drama screamin on her too much for me to wanna
stay in one spot, another day of monotony,
has gotten me to the point, I'm like a snail I've got
to formulate a plot, or end up in jail or shot
Success is my only motherfuckin option, failure's not
Mom I love you but this trailer's got to go
I cannot grow old in Salem's Lot
So here I go it's my shot, feet fail me not
This may be the only opportunity that I got


You can do anything if you set your mind to it, man.

Questions for your blog:
1. Who is the speaker? (Identify his personality)
2. What is happening in the song? (In general)
3. What is the tone of the song? Give examples.
4. Choose three images or allusions, define them and explain how Eminem uses them in the song.
5. What is this song about? Why do you think so?

Homework: Read "One" by Bono.


Read "One" and write questions in your dialogue journal.




Is it getting better
Or do you feel the same
Will it make it easier on you now
You got someone to blame
You say...

One love
One life
When it's one need
In the night
One love
We get to share it
Leaves you baby if you
Don't care for it

Did I disappoint you
Or leave a bad taste in your mouth
You act like you never had love
And you want me to go without
Well it's...

Too late
To drag the past out into the light
We're one, but we're not the same
We get to
Carry each other
Carry each other
Have you come here for forgiveness
Have you come to raise the dead
Have you come here to play Jesus
To the lepers in your head

Did I ask too much
More than a lot
You gave me nothing
Now it's all I got
We're one
But we're not the same
Well we
Hurt each other
Then we do it again
You say
Love is a temple
Love a higher law
Love is a temple
Love the higher law
You ask me to enter
But then you make me crawl
And I can't be holding on
To what you got
When all you got is hurt
One love
One blood
One life
You got to do what you should
One life
With each other
One life
But we're not the same
We get to
Carry each other
Carry each other



Homework: Read "Masters of War" and write questions in your dialogue journal.


Read "Masters of War" and blog about what it means.

Masters of War

Bob Dylan

Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build all the bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks.

You that never done nothin'
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it's your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther
When the fast bullets fly.

Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain.

You fasten all the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you set back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion'
As young people's blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud.

You've thrown the worst fear
That can ever be hurled
Fear to bring children
Into the world
For threatening my baby
Unborn and unnamed
You ain't worth the blood
That runs in your veins.

How much do I know
To talk out of turn
You might say that I'm young
You might say I'm unlearned
But there's one thing I know
Though I'm younger than you
That even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do.

Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul.

And I hope that you die
And your death'll come soon
I will follow your casket
In the pale afternoon
And I'll watch while you're lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I'll stand over your grave
'Til I'm sure that you're dead.

For an advanced rant, read Howl by Allen Ginsberg

Homework: Read "Walk On" and write questions in your dialogue journal.


Listen to this song by U2 and write an interpretation of in in your blog.
1. Who is speaking?
2. Who is that person speaking to?
3. What is the speaker saying to the other person?

And love is not the easy thing

The only baggage you can bring...

And love is not the easy thing...

The only baggage you can bring

Is all that you can't leave behind

And if the darkness is to keep us apart

And if the daylight feels like it's a long way off

And if your glass heart should crack

And for a second you turn back

Oh no, be strong

Walk on, walk on

What you got they can’t steal it

No they can’t even feel it

Walk on, walk on...

Stay safe tonight

You're packing a suitcase for a place none of us has been

A place that has to be believed to be seen

You could have flown away

A singing bird in an open cage

Who will only fly, only fly for freedom

Walk on, walk on

What you've got they can't deny it

Can’t sell it, can’t buy it

Walk on, walk on

Stay safe tonight

And I know it aches

And your heart it breaks

And you can only take so much

Walk on, walk on

Home... hard to know what it is if you’ve never had one

Home... I can’t say where it is but I know I'm going home

That's where the hurt is

I know it aches

How your heart it breaks

And you can only take so much

Walk on, walk on

Leave it behind

You've got to leave it behind

All that you fashion

All that you make

All that you build

All that you break

All that you measure

All that you steal

All this you can leave behind

All that you reason

All that you sense

All that you speak

All you dress up

All that you scheme...

Listen to this song by Sheryl Crow and write an interpretation of in in your blog.
1. Who is speaking? (Are there multiple voices?)
2. Who is that person speaking to? (Are they talking to each other?)
3. What is the speaker saying to the other person?
4. Use at least three examples from the lyrics to prove your point. (Quote the lyrics.)

Maybe this is forever
Forever fades away
Like a rocket ascending into space
Could you not be sad?
Could you not break down?
After all, I won't let go
'Till you're safe and sound
'Till you're safe and sound
There's beauty in release
There's no one left to please but you and me

I don't blame you for quitting
I know you really tried
If only you could hang on through the night
Cause I don't want to be lonely
I don't want to be scared
And all our friends are waiting there
Until you're safe and sound
Until you're safe and sound
There's beauty in release
There's no one left to please but you and me

Until you're safe and sound...

Feel like I could've held on
Feel like I could've let go
Feel like I could've helped you
Feel like I could've changed you
Feel like I could've held on
Feel like I could've hurt you
Feel like I was a stranger
Feel like I was an angel
Feel like I was a hero
Feel like I was a zero
Feel like I could've touched you
Feel like I could've sealed you
Feel like I could've held you
Feel like I could've moved you
Feel like I should've healed you
Feel like I could've told you
Feel like I should've told you
Feel like I could've loved you
Feel like I could've loved you
Feel like I really loved you
Feel like I really loved you...
Feel like I could've saved you...

by Ryan Bingham and T-Bone Burnett

THEN--Do a dialogue journal on the song.

Then--write an interpretation of the song in your blog.
Let these questions guide you:
1. Who is speaking?
2. Who is that person speaking to?
3. What is the speaker saying to the other person?
4. Use at least three examples from the lyrics to prove your point. (Quote the lyrics.)
5. Analyze at least one metaphor from the song within your answer.

Your heart's on the loose
You rolled them seven's with nothing to lose
This ain't no place for the weary kind

You called all your shots
Shooting 8 ball at the corner truck stop
Somehow this don't feel like home anymore

And this ain't no place for the weary kind
This ain't no place to lose your mind
This ain't no place to fall behind
Pick up your crazy heart and give it one more try

Your body aches
Playing your guitar and sweating out the hate
The days and the nights all feel the same

Whiskey has been a thorn in your side
It doesn't forget
The highway that calls for your heart inside

And this ain't no place for the weary kind
This ain't no place to lose your mind
This ain't no place to fall behind
Pick up your crazy heart and give it one more try

Your lover's warm kiss
Is too damn far from your fingertips
You are the man that ruined her world

Your heart's on the loose
You rolled them seven's with nothing to lose
And this ain't no place for the weary kind

DAY EIGHT (10/17)

The god of loneliness

by Philip Schultz May 5, 2008

It’s a cold Sunday February morning
and I’m one of eight men waiting
for the doors of Toys R Us to open
in a mall on the eastern tip of Long Island.
We’ve come for the Japanese electronic game
that’s so hard to find. Last week, I waited
three hours for a store in Manhattan
to disappoint me. The first today, bundled
in six layers, I stood shivering in the dawn light
reading the new Aeneid translation, which I hid
when the others came, stamping boots
and rubbing gloveless hands, joking about
sacrificing sleep for ungrateful sons. “My boy broke
two front teeth playing hockey,” a man wearing
shorts laughs. “This is his reward.” My sons
will leap into my arms, remember this morning
all their lives. “The game is for my oldest boy,
just back from Iraq,” a man in overalls says
from the back of the line. “He plays these games
in his room all day. I’m not worried, he’ll snap out of it,
he’s earned his rest.” These men fix leaks, lay
foundations for other men’s dreams without complaint.
They’ve been waiting in the cold since Aeneas
founded Rome on rivers of blood. Virgil understood that
death begins and never ends, that it’s the god of loneliness.
Through the window, a clerk shouts, “We’ve only five.”
The others seem not to know what to do with their hands,
tuck them under their arms, or let them hang,
naked and useless. Is it because our hands remember
what they held, the promises they made? I know
exactly when my boys will be old enough for war.
Soon three of us will wait across the street at Target,
because it’s what men do for their sons.

Read more http://www.newyorker.com/fiction/poetry/2008/05/05/080505po_poem_schultz#ixzz1a7O46Nr0

DAY NINE (10/19)

Read this poem and then do a DJ on it.


A Study of Reading Habits
Philip Larkin

When getting my nose in a book
Cured most things short of school,
It was worth ruining my eyes
To know I could still keep cool,
And deal out the old right hook
To dirty dogs twice my size.

Later, with inch-thick specs,
Evil was just my lark:
Me and my cloak and fangs
Had ripping times in the dark.
The women I clubbed with sex!
I broke them up like meringues.

Don't read much now: the dude
Who lets the girl down before
The hero arrives, the chap
Who's yellow and keeps the store,
Seems far too familiar. Get stewed:
Books are a load of crap.

Homework: Read all your blogs and choose one to transform into a longer, more developed essay.


What is my name?

The Second Coming

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Ode on a Grecian Urn
by John Keats

Thou still unravish'd bride of quietness,
Thou foster-child of Silence and slow Time,
Sylvan historian, who canst thus express
A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:
What leaf-fringed legend haunts about thy shape
Of deities or mortals, or of both,
In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?
What men or gods are these? what maidens loth?
What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?

Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear'd,
Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone:
Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave
Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare;
Bold lover, never, never canst thou kiss,
Though winning near the goal--yet, do not grieve;
She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss,
For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!

Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed
Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu;
And, happy melodist, unwearied,
For ever piping songs for ever new;
More happy love! more happy, happy love!
For ever warm and still to be enjoy'd,
For ever panting, and for ever young;
All breathing human passion far above,
That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloy'd,
A burning forehead, and a parching tongue.

Who are these coming to the sacrifice?
To what green altar, O mysterious priest,
Lead'st thou that heifer lowing at the skies,
And all her silken flanks with garlands drest?
What little town by river or sea shore,
Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel,
Is emptied of this folk, this pious morn?
And, little town, thy streets for evermore
Will silent be; and not a soul to tell
Why thou art desolate, can e'er return.

O Attic shape! Fair attitude! with brede
Of marble men and maidens overwrought,
With forest branches and the trodden weed;
Thou, silent form, dost tease us out of thought
As doth eternity: Cold pastoral!
When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st,
'Beauty is truth, truth beauty'--that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

In the Waiting Room
by Elizabeth Bishop

In Worcester, Massachusetts,
I went with Aunt Consuelo
to keep her dentist's appointment
and sat and waited for her
in the dentist's waiting room.
It was winter. It got dark
early. The waiting room
was full of grown-up people,
arctics and overcoats,
lamps and magazines.
My aunt was inside
what seemed like a long time
and while I waited I read
the National Geographic
(I could read) and carefully
studied the photographs:
the inside of a volcano,
black, and full of ashes;
then it was spilling over
in rivulets of fire.
Osa and Martin Johnson
dressed in riding breeches,
laced boots, and pith helmets.
A dead man slung on a pole
--"Long Pig," the caption said.
Babies with pointed heads
wound round and round with string;
black, naked women with necks
wound round and round with wire
like the necks of light bulbs.
Their breasts were horrifying.
I read it right straight through.
I was too shy to stop.
And then I looked at the cover:
the yellow margins, the date.
Suddenly, from inside,
came an oh! of pain
--Aunt Consuelo's voice--
not very loud or long.
I wasn't at all surprised;
even then I knew she was
a foolish, timid woman.
I might have been embarrassed,
but wasn't. What took me
completely by surprise
was that it was me:
my voice, in my mouth.
Without thinking at all
I was my foolish aunt,
I--we--were falling, falling,
our eyes glued to the cover
of the National Geographic,
February, 1918.

I said to myself: three days
and you'll be seven years old.
I was saying it to stop
the sensation of falling off
the round, turning world.
into cold, blue-black space.
But I felt: you are an I,
you are an Elizabeth,
you are one of them.
Why should you be one, too?
I scarcely dared to look
to see what it was I was.
I gave a sidelong glance
--I couldn't look any higher--
at shadowy gray knees,
trousers and skirts and boots
and different pairs of hands
lying under the lamps.
I knew that nothing stranger
had ever happened, that nothing
stranger could ever happen.

Why should I be my aunt,
or me, or anyone?
What similarities--
boots, hands, the family voice
I felt in my throat, or even
the National Geographic
and those awful hanging breasts--
held us all together
or made us all just one?
How--I didn't know any
word for it--how "unlikely". . .
How had I come to be here,
like them, and overhear
a cry of pain that could have
got loud and worse but hadn't?

The waiting room was bright
and too hot. It was sliding
beneath a big black wave,
another, and another.

Then I was back in it.
The War was on. Outside,
in Worcester, Massachusetts,
were night and slush and cold,
and it was still the fifth
of February, 1918.

The Lamb
By William Blake

Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?
Gave thee life, and bid thee feed
By the stream and o'er the mead;
Gave thee clothing of delight;
Softest clothing, wooly, bright;
Gave thee such a tender voice,
Making all the vales rejoice?
Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?

Little Lamb, I'll tell thee,
Little Lamb, I'll tell thee:
He is called by thy name,
For he calls himself a Lamb.
He is meek, and he is mild;
He became a little child.
I a child, and thou a lamb,
We are called by His name.
Little Lamb, God bless thee!
Little Lamb, God bless thee!

The Tyger by William Blake

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand, dare sieze the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And water'd heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

Do not go gentle into that good night
Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Homework: Read http://www.uvm.edu/~sgutman/You_Can_Read_A_Poem.html

What Teachers Make, or
Objection Overruled, or
If things don't work out, you can always go to law school

By Taylor Mali
He says the problem with teachers is, "What's a kid going to learn
from someone who decided his best option in life was to become a teacher?"
He reminds the other dinner guests that it's true what they say about
Those who can, do; those who can't, teach.
I decide to bite my tongue instead of his
and resist the temptation to remind the other dinner guests
that it's also true what they say about lawyers.
Because we're eating, after all, and this is polite company.
"I mean, you¹re a teacher, Taylor," he says.
"Be honest. What do you make?"
And I wish he hadn't done that
(asked me to be honest)
because, you see, I have a policy
about honesty and ass-kicking:
if you ask for it, I have to let you have it.
You want to know what I make?
I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could.
I can make a C+ feel like a Congressional medal of honor
and an A- feel like a slap in the face.
How dare you waste my time with anything less than your very best.
I make kids sit through 40 minutes of study hall
in absolute silence. No, you may not work in groups.
No, you may not ask a question.
Why won't I let you get a drink of water?
Because you're not thirsty, you're bored, that's why.
I make parents tremble in fear when I call home:
I hope I haven't called at a bad time,
I just wanted to talk to you about something Billy said today.
Billy said, "Leave the kid alone. I still cry sometimes, don't you?"
And it was the noblest act of courage I have ever seen.
I make parents see their children for who they are
and what they can be.
You want to know what I make?
I make kids wonder,
I make them question.
I make them criticize.
I make them apologize and mean it.
I make them write, write, write.
And then I make them read.
I make them spell definitely beautiful, definitely beautiful, definitely
over and over and over again until they will never misspell
either one of those words again.
I make them show all their work in math.
And hide it on their final drafts in English.
I make them understand that if you got this (brains)
then you follow this (heart) and if someone ever tries to judge you
by what you make, you give them this (the finger).
Let me break it down for you, so you know what I say is true:
I make a goddamn difference! What about you?

Now that you have watched the video and read the poem,
write your own poem that you will read/perform for the class like Mali does.
Here are ten suggestions --if you need them:
1. Decide who your speaker is ahead of time, and give her voice.
2. Copy the form and style of a poet you admire.
3. Write about what you know.
4. Write about something simple, like an object.
5. It does not have to rhyme.
6. It does not have to have a secret hidden meaning.
7. It does not have to be about love.
8. Decide who your speaker is talking to ahead of time.
9. Use metaphors.
10. Make a interesting title.
11. Read it aloud to yourself then revise it. Then, read it aloud to yourself then revise it. Do this as many times as you need to until you are happy with it.

Homework: Rewrite your poem, and practice performing it.


Write about what this poem means to you. 200 words.**

Before I workout, I do a warm-up. I stretch, so I don't hurt myself. I don't want you to hurt yourself either, so I have placed this link to a series of stretches and warm-ups. Stretches & Warm-ups


A Season in Hell
by Arthur Rimbaud
Translated by Bertrand Mathieu

A while back, if I remember right, my life was one long party where all hearts were open wide, where all wines kept flowing.

One night, I sat Beauty down on my lap.—And I found her galling.—And I roughed her up.

I armed myself against justice.

I ran away. O witches, O misery, O hatred, my treasure's been turned over to you!

I managed to make every trace of human hope vanish from my mind. I pounced on every joy like a ferocious animal eager to strangle it.

I called for executioners so that, while dying, I could bite the butts of their rifles. I called for plagues to choke me with sand, with blood. Bad luck was my god. I stretched out in the muck. I dried myself in the air of crime. And I played tricks on insanity.

And Spring brought me the frightening laugh of the idiot.

So, just recently, when I found myself on the brink of the final squawk! it dawned on me to look again for the key to that ancient party where I might find my appetite once more.

Charity is that key.—This inspiration proves I was dreaming!

"You'll always be a hyena etc. . . ," yells the devil, who'd crowned me with such pretty poppies. "Deserve death with all your appetites, your selfishness, and all the capital sins!"

Ah! I've been through too much:-But, sweet Satan, I beg of you, a less blazing eye! and while waiting for the new little cowardly gestures yet to come, since you like an absence of descriptive or didactic skills in a writer, let me rip out these few ghastly pages from my notebook of the damned.


It will be 400-500 words long. That’s 4-5 paragraphs.

This approach will require you to read the poem and then interpret it by closely examining “the text of the poem.” You will look at what the title means, what the words mean, investigate why they are arranged as they are, how the different parts of the poem relate to the whole poem and how figures of speech* affect the meaning of the poem.

*figures of speech are metaphors, similes, symbolism, personification, imagery, etc.

You will NOT be discussing feelings, thoughts and experiences from your life. You will only be discussing the poem. You will also NOT be discussing the poet’s life, only the poem. You do NOT need to, nor should you do any research on the poem you choose.

PARAGRAPH ONE: (Introduction) State what the poem means. Here is an example. The poem, “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost is about a person who is making a decision. Then, explain what your reasons are for thinking that the poem means what you say it means. Here is an example. The reason the poem is about a decision is because Frost is writing about a person who is standing at a fork in the road. The road is a symbol of for this person’s journey in life. If the person goes down one road, his life will be different than if he goes down the other.

PARAGRAPH TWO: Explain your first reason for thinking that the poem means what you say it means. Here is an example. In the first stanza the speaker in the poem says, “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,” In this quotation, the word “diverged” means split and “the roads” are symbols for options in life. This means the speaker is standing at a fork in the road. He has to decide which way to go. Notice how I quoted the poem. You should do this too.

PARAGRAPH THREE: Explain your second reason for thinking that the poem means what you say it means. Here is an example. The poem’s speaker describes how he or she looks down both roads, but can’t decide what to do. He or she says, “Though as for the passing there/Had worn them really about the same,” which means he is having a hard time making up his mind. Both roads are good options.

PARAGRAPH FOUR: Explain your third reason for thinking that the poem means what you say it means. Here is another example. The speaker finally makes a decision in the third stanza when he says, “I kept the first for another day.” This shows that he chose the second road. And he knows that he probably won’t get to go down the first road or path in life if he takes the second. You can see this when he says, “Yet knowing how way leads onto way,/I doubted if I should ever come back.”

PARAGRAPH FIVE: (Conclusion) Restate what the poem means. Here is an example. The poem, “The Road Not Taken” presents a picture a moment when this speaker is having a hard time deciding which way to go in life, because he is confronted by two options that seem equal. Then, make a concluding statement about the meaning of the poem. Here is an example. The speaker then makes a decision and predicts that it will make “all the difference.” He knows that this decision with affect the rest of his life.

•Your rough blog needs to have a title that is not the title of the poem.
•Your rough blog should have 400-500 words.
•Your rough blog should have a thesis statement.
•You should indent paragraphs.
•Your blog draft should have at least three reasons to support your thesis.

Your blog draft will be graded on the following areas:
1. Idea/topic development-Thesis statement
2. Organization-paragraph structure
3. Details/examples/quotations
4. Language and style-vocabulary and sentence structure
5. Grammar
6. Spelling, capitalization, punctuation and formatting.

FOR THIS ESSAY. This is not a research paper.

View this Powerpoint:

external image pdf.png concept map.pdf

external image msword.png Writing a thesis about a poem w3 copy.doc


Writing The Introduction


•Students will conference w/ the teacher on their theses.
•Students will freewrite.
•Teacher will instruct students on how to write an introduction.
•Students will begin their introductions.
Homework: Students will finish their introductions.


3.17 Deliver formal presentations for particular audiences using clear
enunciation and appropriate organization, gestures, tone, and vocabulary.
3.18 Create an appropriate scoring guide to evaluate final presentations.

Students will identify, analyze, and apply knowledge of the themes, structure, and elements of
poetry and provide evidence from the text to support their understanding.

14.6 Analyze and evaluate the appropriateness of diction and imagery
(controlling images, figurative language, understatement, overstatement,
irony, paradox).
For example, students examine poems to explore the relationship between
the literal and the figurative in Mark Strand’s “Keeping Things Whole,”
Elinor Wylie’s “Sea Lullaby,” Louis MacNeice’s “Prayer Before Birth,”
Margaret Walker’s “Lineage,” A.E. Housman’s “To an Athlete Dying Young,”
W.H. Auden’s “Unknown Citizen,” Emily Dickinson’s “I Taste a Liquor
Never Brewed,” and Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “Ozymandias.” They report
their findings to the class, compare observations, and set guidelines for
further study.

GENERAL STANDARD 15: Style and Language
Students will identify and analyze how an author’s words appeal to the senses, create imagery,
suggest mood, and set tone and provide evidence from the text to support their understanding.
15.9 Identify, analyze, and evaluate an author’s use of rhetorical devices in
persuasive argument.
15.10 Analyze and compare style and language across significant cross-cultural
literary works.
For example, students compose essays in which they analyze and compare
figurative language in a variety of selections from works such as The Epic
of Gilgamesh, The Odyssey, The Hebrew Bible, The New Testament, The
Bhagavad-Gita, The Analects of Confucius, and The Koran.

Students will write with a clear focus, coherent organization, and sufficient detail.

For imaginative/literary writing:*
19.28 Write well-organized stories or scripts with an explicit or implicit theme,
using a variety of literary techniques.
19.29 Write poems using a range of forms and techniques.
For informational/expository writing:
19.30 Write coherent compositions with a clear focus, objective presentation
of alternate views, rich detail, well-developed paragraphs, and logical
For example, students compose an essay for their English and American
history classes on de Toqueville’s observations of American life in the
1830s, examining whether his characterization of American society is still
applicable today.

GENERAL STANDARD 20: Consideration of Audience and Purpose
Students will write for different audiences and purposes.

20.6 Use effective rhetorical techniques and demonstrate understanding of
purpose, speaker, audience, and form when completing expressive, persua­
sive, or literary writing assignments.

Students will demonstrate improvement in organization, content, paragraph development,
level of detail, style, tone, and word choice (diction) in their compositions after revising them.

21.9 Revise writing to improve style, word choice, sentence variety, and subtlety
of meaning after rethinking how well questions of purpose, audience, and
genre have been addressed.
For example, after rethinking how well they have handled matters of style,
meaning, and tone from the perspective of the major rhetorical elements,
graduating seniors revise a formal letter to their school committee, detail­
ing how they have benefited from the education they have received in the
district and offering suggestions for improving the educational experience
of future students.

GENERAL STANDARD 22: Standard English Conventions
Students will use knowledge of standard English conventions
in their writing, revising, and editing.

22.10 Use all conventions of standard English when writing and editing.

GENERAL STANDARD 23: Organizing Ideas in Writing
Students will organize ideas in writing in a way that makes sense for their purpose.

23.14 Organize ideas for emphasis in a way that suits the purpose of the writer.
For example, students select a method of giving emphasis (most important
information first or last, most important idea has the fullest or briefest
presentation) when supporting a thesis about characterization in Edwin
Arlington Robinson’s narrative poems, “Richard Corey” and “Miniver
Cheevy.” Or students use one of five methods (comparison and contrast,
illustration, classification, definition, analysis) of organizing their ideas in
exposition as determined by the needs of their topic.
23.15 Craft sentences in a way that supports the underlying logic of the ideas.
For example, after writing a critical essay, students examine each sentence
to determine whether the placement of phrases or dependent clauses supports
the emphasis they desire in the sentence and in the paragraph as a whole.

Students will gather information from a variety of sources, analyze and evaluate the quality of
the information they obtain, and use it to answer their own questions.