This lesson engages students in the reading and writing of the ghazal, a public, participatory poetic form created by the ancient Bedouins of Arabia and Persia. Students examine the structure of the ghazal, which continues as a poetic form in India, Iraq, and Iran, to derive a definition of this intricate form of word-play, and collaboratively compose their own group ghazals.
Clues to Walt Whitman's effort to create a new and distinctly American form of verse may be found in his Notebooks, now available online from the American Memory Collection. In an entry to be examined in this lesson, Whitman indicated that he wanted his poetry to explore important ideas of a universal scope (as in the European tradition), but in authentic American situations and settings using specific details with direct appeal to the senses.
In this lesson, students will explore the role of the individual in the modern world by closely reading and analyzing T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.”
Striking examples of poetic "pictures"-not just vivid images but the entire mental picture conjured up by a poet-are to be found in "The Charge of the Light Brigade," by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, and "The Highwayman," by Alfred Noyes. As they explore the means by which Tennyson and Noyes create these compelling pictures in words, students will also learn the critical terminology to analyze and describe a variety of poetic techniques and will have an opportunity to create their own pictures in words.
Some of the most well known, and most important, works of literature in the world are examples of epic poetry. This lesson will introduce students to the epic poem form and to its roots in oral tradition.
When children hear, write and recite poetry, they understand more deeply the qualities of verse — the importance of sound, compactness, internal integrity, imagination, and line. Working collaboratively on poetry provides a safe structure for student creativity.
The story of the Ramayana has been passed from generation to generation by numerous methods and media. Initially it was passed on orally as an epic poem that was sung to audiences by a bard, as it continues to be today.
Through close study of Alfred Stieglitz’ 1907 photograph "The Steerage" and William Carlos William's 1962 poem "Danse Russe," students will explore how poetry can be, in Plutarch’s words, "a speaking picture," and a painting (or in this case a photograph) can be "a silent poetry."
In this lesson students will learn about Abraham Lincoln the individual and the President. By examining Alexander Gardner's February 5, 1865 photograph and reading a short biography of Lincoln, students will consider who the man on the other side of the lens was. Students will demonstrate their understanding by writing an "I Am" Poem and creating their own multimedia portrait of Lincoln.
After a close reading and comparison of Edward Hopper's painting House by the Railroad and Edward Hirsch's poem about the painting, students explore the types of emotion generated by each work in the viewer or reader and examine how the painter and poet each achieved these responses.