Closer Readings +

Walt Whitman’s “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d”

“Syringa vulgaris” (common Lilac) cultivar, LtPowers, May 2013
“Passing, I leave thee lilac with heart-shaped leaves,I leave thee there in the door-yard, blooming, returning with       spring.”Walt Whitman may well have been describing his own vocation when he articulated his belief that literature could be a unifying force for the nation as it began its long road to healing from the scars of civil war:Read More »
Categories Closer Readings

Top Resources for Teaching World War I and the Aftermath

American troops in the field during World War I
Few Americans understand why the United States declared war on Germany in April 1917, nearly three years after Europe and most of the rest of the world were engulfed in the carnage of the Great War. The centennial of America’s entry into the war is being commemorated by exhibitions, film, television programs, and books.Read More »
Categories Closer Readings

Telling America’s Stories with Quilts

Harriet Powers’s pictorial quilt 1898. Wikimedia Commons.
“We Americans have adopted quilts as a symbol of what we value about ourselves and our national history,” —Laurel Horton, “Speaking of Quilts: Voices from the Late 20th century.”Read More »
Categories Closer Readings

Igniting a Passion for History with Chronicling America

"Daily Missourian" headline from 1917
So many of our students arrive with a negative impression of the discipline of history. They have come to the conclusion that the study of history is about memorizing a ton of dull facts. Why wouldn’t they feel this way? It is not until later in life that they will be exposed to the real work of historians through taking an upper-level college history course or researching family genealogy. It is through piecing together a compelling and insightful narrative from primary sources that students begin to understand that history is based on evidence and inference, insight and analysis.Read More »
Categories Closer Readings

Walking the line in spring with Robert Frost: “Mending Wall”

Photograph of a low stone wall on farmland in Derry, N.H
“My poems—I should suppose everybody's poems—are all set to trip the reader head foremost into the boundless. Ever since infancy I have had the habit of leaving my blocks carts chairs and such like ordinaries where people would be pretty sure to fall forward over them in the dark. Forward, you understand, and in the dark. I may leave my toys in the wrong place and so in vain. It is my intention we are speaking of—my innate mischievousness.” —Robert FrostRead More »
Categories Closer Readings