This week is going to be much lighter, as we are just wrapping things up. I would like you to try your hand at writing poetry. You can try a ballad, or an ode, or a sonnet, or you can try a great form of poetry that I enjoy reading and writing, called “free verse”
Free Verse Poetry–poetry that doesn’t rhyme or have a regular meter.
So there. Poetry doesn’t have to be hard to write. You can write free verse! If you are writing a free verse poem, your emphasis will be on the images, diction, and maybe even random sound effects like alliteration and assonance. It is fun!
If you do it, I will do it. I will share a poem of mine with you 🙂
- Read “Legal Alien” by Pat Mora
- Your poem-Pick a topic and start thinking of images and senses
- Read “The Gift” by Li Young Lee
- Your poem–start stringing lines together
- Questions for Thought and Analysis (I will post them after my next dentist appointment this afternoon)
- Your Poem-Look at your word choice, how can you make your words stronger (more precise)?
- Read “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” (This is my favorite poem-Other than “Ode to a Nightingale” by Keats) This is one of the most famous and LOVED poems of all time. I would be remiss if we didn’t finish with it. A couple of you may remember it from previous classes. I want you to read it so that you can connect with it. Find things that make you smile (about him, about you, about life, about women). We will talk about it tomorrow.
- If your parents allow you, you can hear it read online by T.S. Eliot himself, on youtube
- Make a list of your favorite lines, you don’t even have to understand them. For example, I love the line about how her arms, in the light are downed by light brown hair. It makes me laugh, because the are so long and thin, but she is hairy (HUMAN). (5 lines or 5 line groups–It can be a section of lines). Then answer this question, “Why do you think so many people like this poem so much?”
- Finish your poem ❤
Pat Mora is a Mexican-American poet and writer who has won numerous awards for her books and poetry. She holds the Kellogg National Leadership fellowship award, the National Endowment for the Arts award, the Southwest Book Award and the Aztlán literature Award.
She was born El Paso Texas, January 19, 1942. Her family settled there during the Mexican revolution. She writes on many topics, from poetry to children’s books. She has taught at the University of New Mexico as a distinguished visiting professor. Her most popular books include My Own True Name (1984-1999), Aunt Carmen’s book of Practical Saints (1997), and Auga Santa (1995).
Mora also has been a museum director and consultant for U.S.-Mexico youth exchanges. She is now retired and spends most of her time writing and traveling to schools and other events to teach young writers.
This poem, “Legal Alien,” captures an important quality of our evolving and emerging multi-national, multi racial, and multi-ethnic culture. (People’s World)
by Pat Mora
able to slip from “How’s life?”
to “Me’stan volviendo loca,”
able to sit in a paneled office
drafting memos in smooth English,
able to order in fluent Spanish
at a Mexican restaurant,
American but hyphenated,
viewed by Anglos as perhaps exotic,
perhaps inferior, definitely different,
viewed by Mexicans as alien,
(their eyes say, “You may speak
Spanish but you’re not like me”)
an American to Mexicans
a Mexican to Americans
a handy token
sliding back and forth
between the fringes of both worlds
by masking the discomfort
of being pre-judged
Li-Young Lee was born in 1957 in Jakarta, Indonesia, to Chinese parents. His father had been a personal physician to Mao Zedong while in China, and relocated the family to Indonesia, where he helped found Gamaliel University. In 1959, the Lee family fled the country to escape anti-Chinese sentiment and after a five-year trek through Hong Kong, Macau, and Japan, they settled in the United States in 1964.
Lee attended the Universities of Pittsburgh and Arizona, and the State University of New York at Brockport. He has taught at several universities, including Northwestern and the University of Iowa.
He is the author of The Winged Seed: A Remembrance (Simon & Schuster, 1995); Behind My Eyes (W. W. Norton & Co., 2008); Book of My Nights (BOA Editions, 2001), which won the 2002 William Carlos Williams Award; The City in Which I Love You (BOA Editions, 1990), which was the 1990 Lamont Poetry Selection; and Rose (BOA Editions, 1986), which won the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Poetry Award. (poets.org)
by Li-Young Lee
Thomas Stearns Eliot (1888-1965) was born in St. Louis, Missouri, of an old New England family. He was educated at Harvard and did graduate work in philosophy at the Sorbonne, Harvard, and Merton College, Oxford. He settled in England, where he was for a time a schoolmaster and a bank clerk, and eventually literary editor for the publishing house Faber & Faber, of which he later became a director. He founded and, during the seventeen years of its publication (1922-1939), edited the exclusive and influential literary journal Criterion. In 1927, Eliot became a British citizen and about the same time entered the Anglican Church.
Eliot has been one of the most daring innovators of twentieth-century poetry. Never compromising either with the public or indeed with language itself, he has followed his belief that poetry should aim at a representation of the complexities of modern civilization in language and that such representation necessarily leads to difficult poetry. Despite this difficulty his influence on modern poetic diction has been immense. Eliot’s poetry from Prufrock (1917) to the Four Quartets (1943) reflects the development of a Christian writer: the early work, especially The Waste Land (1922), is essentially negative, the expression of that horror from which the search for a higher world arises. In Ash Wednesday (1930) and the Four Quartets this higher world becomes more visible; nonetheless Eliot has always taken care not to become a «religious poet». and often belittled the power of poetry as a religious force. However, his dramas Murder in the Cathedral (1935) and The Family Reunion(1939) are more openly Christian apologies. In his essays, especially the later ones, Eliot advocates a traditionalism in religion, society, and literature that seems at odds with his pioneer activity as a poet. But although the Eliot of Notes towards the Definition of Culture (1948) is an older man than the poet of The Waste Land, it should not be forgotten that for Eliot tradition is a living organism comprising past and present in constant mutual interaction. Eliot’s plays Murder in the Cathedral (1935), The Family Reunion (1939), The Cocktail Party (1949), The Confidential Clerk (1954), and TheElderStatesman(1959) were published in one volume in 1962; Collected Poems 1909-62 appeared in 1963. (NobelPrize.org)
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock