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Poetry Reflection assignment:

Cinderella by Anne Sexton

The History Teacher by Billy Collins

I wandered lonely as a cloud by Wordsworth

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot

Hazel Tells Lavern by Katharyn Howard Machan

Richard Cory by Edwin Arlington Robinson

The Man He Killed by Thomas Hardy

Death Be Not Proud by John Donne

Those Winter Sundays by Robert Hayden

Woman Work by Maya Angelou

Imaginary Number by Vijay Seshadri

Noah/Ham: Fathers of the Year by Douglas Kearney

Margaret Atwood

Walt Whitman

Emily Dickinson

Langston Hughes

Countee Cullen

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

William Blake

Sylvia Plath

Adrienne Rich . . . or any author weve read for that matter.

A few suggestions

1. Read some poetry

2. Write two one page (double spaced, 12 pt. font, 1 margins or the handwritten equivalent) reflections, each focusing on a single poem

a. Make sure at least one of your reflections is on canonical poetry (i.e. the stuff in our textbooks)

3. So how does a reflection differ from an analysis? A reflection is a bit more raw and informal. You can use the first person, for example, and you can relate personal experience to the poem. A reflection recaps the poem and your response to it. You can then go into some initial analysis, but dont worry too much about getting technical with the devices used and dont get too worried about misreading. Feel free to take academic risks. That being said, take it seriously. I dont want an eloquent treatise trying to convince me that Robert Frosts Fire and Ice is about the latest Axe body spray or John Keats On the Sonnet could totally be about a delicious ham sandwich.

4. Maybe Billy Collins can explain the assignment better than I:

Introduction to Poetry

I ask them to take a poem

and hold it up to the light

like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem

and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poems room

and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski

across the surface of a poem

waving at the authors name on the shore.

But all they want to do

is tie the poem to a chair with rope

and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose

to find out what it really means.

In other words, stop worrying about what the right answer is, what the author intended, what SparkNotes says . . . explore the poem and find your own enlightenment and meaning!

Attacking the AP Poetry Prompt:

Summarize each of the following poems, then identify and characterize the complex relationship the speaker is reflecting upon in each poem. We will be discussing the point of view, structure, figurative language, selection of detail, and imagery from each poem in class:

The Black Walnut Tree By Mary Oliver

My mother and I debate:we could sellthe black walnut treeto the lumberman,and pay off the mortgage.Likely some storm anywaywill churn down its dark boughs,smashing the house. We talkslowly, two women tryingin a difficult time to be wise.Roots in the cellar drains,I say, and she repliesthat the leaves are getting heavierevery year, and the fruitharder to gather away.But something brighter than moneymoves in our bloodan edgesharp and quick as a trowelthat wants us to dig and sow.So we talk, but we don't doanything. That night I dreamof my fathers out of Bohemiafilling the blue fieldsof fresh and generous Ohiowith leaves and vines and orchards.What my mother and I both knowis that we'd crawl with shamein the emptiness we'd madein our own and our fathers' backyard.So the black walnut treeswings through another yearof sun and leaping winds,of leaves and bounding fruit,and, month after month, the whip-crack of the mortgage.

A Story by Yi-Young Lee

Sad is the man who is asked for a storyand can't come up with one.

His five-year-old son waits in his lap.Not the same story, Baba. A new one.The man rubs his chin, scratches his ear.

In a room full of books in a worldof stories, he can recallnot one, and soon, he thinks, the boywill give up on his father.

Already the man lives far ahead, he seesthe day this boy will go. Don't go!Hear the alligator story! The angel story once more!You love the spider story. You laugh at the spider.Let me tell it!

But the boy is packing his shirts,he is looking for his keys. Are you a god,the man screams, that I sit mute before you?Am I a god that I should never disappoint?

But the boy is here. Please, Baba, a story?It is an emotional rather than logical equation,an earthly rather than heavenly one,which posits that a boy's supplicationsand a father's love add up to silence.

For That He Looked Not upon Her by George Gascione

You must not wonder, though you think it strange,

To see me hold my louring head so low,

And that mine eyes take no delight to range

About the gleams which on your face do grow.

The mouse which once hath broken out of trap

Is seldom ticd with the trustless bait,

But lies aloof for fear of more mishap,

And feedeth still in doubt of deep deceit.

The scorchd fly, which once hath scaped the flame,

Will hardly come to play again with fire,

Whereby I learn that grievous is the game

Which follows fancy dazzled by desire:

So that I wink or else hold down my head,

Because your blazing eyes my bale have bred.