Friday, April 20, 2018

T. S. Eliot in-class writing

“I love to tweak the Eliot fans by referring to their guy as the best poet ever to come out of Missouri, when of course he spent his whole life pretending he’d been born and raised in the Norcesterwich district of Cheltenhamfordshire.” – Michael Bérubé


1. Answer one of the following questions about “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”:
  • How do you feel about Prufrock? Is he sympathetic? Can you identify with him? What sort of figure is he? Is he poignant, or pathetic, or both?
  • Is this an entirely serious poem, or is there some comic aspect? If so, where do you see it? 
  • Does the title of the poem seem important? How? Explicate the name "J. Alfred Prufrock" a bit in light of the mood, details, and concerns of the poem.
  • What's going on with women in this poem?

2. Does The Waste Land seem to take place in the same world as “Prufrock”? Why or why not? Offer some detail from the poem(s) as you discuss this question.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

A practice mini-final and a small poll

First, complete your practice mini-final for today. I’ll give you fifteen minutes, and if you don't completely finish, don't worry. Try to at least complete the first two sections. Record the answers for your exam either in your in-class writing googledoc or in your notebook. But if you complete it on paper, be sure to bring it to class next Monday (April 30), when we’ll be going over the answers together.

After you’ve completed the exam, please take this brief and anonymous poll.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

H.D. the Poet

Which of the poems of H.D. that we read for today was your favorite and why? What was your favorite image from this favorite poem?

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Mina Loy

“Poetry is prose bewitched, a music made of visual thoughts, 
  the sound of an idea.”
                                                                         – Mina Loy

Mina Loy, young and stunning, and Mina Loy,
old and stunning.

Answer the following questions in your in-class writing doc:
  1. What are the first three adjectives that come to mind to describe Songs to Joannes by Mina Loy?
  2. Write a brief, straightforward prose version of the story of the speaker and her relationship with Joannes. What happened? You can use your imagination, but try to draw on details from the poem and the general mood of the poem as much as you can.

And, if you have time, answer this question briefly:
  • Are you glad you read this poem, or not? (Or are you not sure?) Why and/or why not?
Adjectives from former students: lonely, passionate, moody, musing, lusty, long, oblique, helter-skeleter, convoluted, spermatatzoic, dark, celestial, sexual, physical, bloody, erotic, nostalgic, thin, confused/confusing, unprocessed, fantastic

    Mina Loy discussion questions:

    Are there romantic moments in this poem? Where?

    Are there cynical moments in this poem? Where?

    Where do we see sad moments?

    Where do we see funny or absurd moments?

    Do you find some moments gross? Where? Why do you think Loy included those?

    Does this poem seem modern to you? How so? How not?

    Why do you think Loy chooses to seem so brainy and use so many difficult words when writing about romantic love? 

    Tuesday, April 10, 2018

    Robert Frost

    “[Frost’s] poems, read carelessly and in search of platitudes, often seem to support the view [of Frost as a ‘New England sage’].” – Cary Nelson

    In your in-class writing google doc: Do you think the above observation is true? Did you find the Frost poems more complicated than you anticipated? Choose and discuss one specific poem as an example.

    Monday, April 2, 2018

    James Weldon Johnson

    Listen to “Lift Every Voice and Sing” and read along with the words. Note moments in the song (lyrically, musically, or both) that strike you in any particular way (as poetry, as a song of uplift, as a national anthem, in contrast to “The Star-Spangled Banner,” or otherwise). When the song is over, comment briefly on your observations on the song in your in-class writing doc. 

    Then, looking over the James Weldon Johnson poems in our course packet, answer these questions:

    1. Which of the poems that we read for today are you most interested in discussing? Why?
    2. Was this a difficult choice? Why or why not?