In this lesson students examine primary source documents including photographs, film, maps, and essays to learn about Chicago at the turn of the 20th century and Carl Sandburg's famous poem. After examining the poem's use of personification and apostrophe, students write their own pieces about beloved places with Sandburg's poem as a model.
Students will learn about the impact of enjambment in Gwendolyn Brooks' short but far-reaching poem "We Real Cool." One element of this lesson plan that is bound to draw students in is a compelling video of working-class Bostonian John Ulrich reciting the poem.
Metaphors are used often in literature, appearing in every genre from poetry to prose and from essays to epics. This lesson introduces students to the use of metaphor through the poetry of Langston Hughes, Margaret Atwood, and others.
Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, the first great Latin American poet, is still considered one of the most important literary figures of the American Hemisphere, and one of the first feminist writers. In the 1600s, she defended her right to be an intellectual, suggesting that women should be educated and educators and accusing men of being the cause of the very ills they blamed on women.
In this lesson, students closely examine Dickinson’s poem “There’s a certain slant of light” in order to understand her craft. Students explore different components of Dickinson’s poetry and then practice their own critical and poetry writing skills in an emulation exercise. Finally, in the spirit of Dickinson’s correspondences, students will exchange their poems and offer informed critiques of each others’ work.
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."
Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, a major literary figure and the first great Latin American poet, is a product of el Siglo de Oro Español (Spanish Golden Age). In this lesson students will analyze two of Sor Juana’s sonnets: “A su retrato” and “En perseguirme, Mundo, ¿qué interesas?” in their original language of publication.