Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The BIrds' Christmas Carol (Chapters 2 and 3)

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Here's a bit more of a Bird's Christmas Carol. I remember, as a child, I was a bit disappointed to find that ten years had passed between Chapter 1 and Chapter 2. I wanted to know more about little Carol's life, which sounded pleasant to me despite her illness. I used to draw characters in favorite story books as what appeared on the page wasn't enough for my imagination.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Those Winter Sundays

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"Those Winter Sundays" was printed in one of my reading anthologies when I was a kid -- perhaps seventh grade. What stands out in my mind was reading the lines about the "chronic angers of that house". I think I might have been a bit surprised that this sweet tribute was to an angry man. Parental anger did not evoke in me sentiment, and in this way I was a bit like the poem's narrator. I was old enough to grasp the poem intellectually, but not on an emotional level. To quote Hayden "What did I know of love' austere and lonely office?" Many of us, I believe, come to relate to the poem more deeply as we, and our parents, grow older.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Brain is Wider than the Sky

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String the words together right, and you can make quite an argument. At once playful and profound, this poem has some logical arguments as to why the brain is indeed wider than the sky and deeper than the sea. A fun writing exercise: How can students extend this little rhyme?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Winter Project (The Birds Christmas Carol)

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The holidays, I think, are a good time to deviate from the poetry and record a classic story or two. Last winter, I recorded "The Velveteen Rabbit" and determined that this year's project -- one of them at least -- would be The Birds' Christmas Carol. Time does sneak up on a person! I'll be posting it here chapter by chapter, and hope to get some resources on Squidoo as well.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Courage

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Yet another poem with a personified flower -- and one which I can relate to. In Seattle where I live, blossoms do bloom out of season. My first full year in the city, I was startled by a rhododendron that sent out a few scattered blossoms in January. Before I saw the blooms, or at least before I was aware of them, I had a dream in which I told the rhododendron to top blooming or it wouldn't bloom when it was time.

In Courage, Robert William service suggests that the little November apple blossom knows exactly what it is doing, and that it is an act of courage, though one that may leave us with a bit of sadness.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Sonnet 116

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We're always asking students to make connections, and to bridge that gap between abstract words and real life. Here's my connection for Sonnet 116: The picture I chose to set my audio read to is a snapshot, perhaps eight years old, of some friends who met as housemates and later got married. There's something about that picture...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Strange Music

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Here is another poem that focuses on music. For me, the poem is evocative, creating a number of connections -- but the meaning is a bit harder to pinpoint. Is it about music or is music the vehicle for metaphor?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Perplexed Music

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In this poem, Elizabeth Barrett Browning uses music in "sad perplexed minors" as a metaphor for life's travails. Humans look for "completed cadences" and "certain tune" but angels have tuned their ears to the point where it all sounds sweet.

"Perplexed Music" is a poem of comfort. Due to the difficult vocabulary and sentence structures as much as the metaphor, it is one that many students will need quite a bit of help with.