Tuesday, November 30, 2010

History of the Night

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In this poem, Jorge Borges takes a look at changing human society by focusing on one concept. The word 'night' has evoked many images over time. I think "History of the Night" could be the springboard for some fun student poetry. What other histories might we tell in poetic form?

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Winter Eden

snow,Seattle,Cowen Park
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"A Winter Eden" -- such a positive title, but the poem leaves us with a wistful, if not somber, mood. It's not that the little winter garden isn't Eden under a sunny sky; it's that the time of light and activity is so short that the speaker casts a bit of doubt on whether it's worth one's while to get up at all.

Robert Frost's winter poems, as a body, give quite a mixture of images; some highlight the season's beauty, others its harshness. "A Winter Eden" includes some very contrasting images.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

November Evening

ravenna creek,seattle
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"November Evening" can also be considered a Thanksgiving poem: a simple expression of gratitude on a brisk, but not frigid evening. Like so many poems, "November Evening" compares the seasons of life with the seasons of the year. It's an accessible poem, though. Some children and adolescents would be interested to know that the poet is LM Montgomery, best known for the "Anne of" series.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Looking for a Sunset Bird in Winter

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Nonfiction, including poetry that is basically nonfiction, doesn't have to be just about what happened, or what we saw. It can also be about what we thought we saw or what we wished had happened. Robert Frost's "Looking for a Sunset Bird in Winter" explores and expands a brief moment when the narrator thinks he sees a bird. The imagery helps us get a sense of why he might yearn for a bird. What else might he be yearning for?

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Dream

Boat Planter
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This poem by Robert William Service has multiple related themes. In the end, the narrator values being home, but being home with the dream of an elsewhere.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Merry Autumn

Merry Autumn
Merry Autumn is something of a Thanksgiving holiday poem, even though it's 'thanksgiving' with a lower case 't' that all the merriness spills over into at the end. This would be an interesting poem to pair with other more somber pieces when doing a text to text thematic study at the secondary level. What is Dunbar's evidence that the season is in fact merry? What is his tone? And what evidence do other poets give for their attitudes toward the season?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening

A major (for Seattle!) snowstorm hit yesterday, and I found myself walking for about a mile and a half after a bus misadventure. Cutting through campus, the woods was indeed "lovely, dark, and deep" -- though cold.

At one point, I found myself reciting this. It's actually the first poem I ever memorized, at the age of seven. It's also one of the first pieces I recorded, and I made a mistake with it that I ended up liking. This poem was recorded into the netbook mic as opposed to the headset; the audio quality is a bit lower, but somehow it sounded to me as if it was recited in the woods on a snowy evening. The pictures in the video are of Ravenna Woods, located near the University District of Seattle.

You can follow this link for lessons plans for Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening and a few other Frost poems.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Dust of Snow

ravenna creek,seattle,snow
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There was indeed a dust of snow in Seattle today. Mostly there were soft, wet flakes blowing sideways through town. Here and there, in the northern part of the city, a few stuck to the grass. People on Bus 358 began talking...

This short Robert Frost poem, "Dust of Snow", is a reminder of small moments o wonder.