Part 2 Poetry

The Poetry of Donne and Frost

Here is the collection we will study over the unit:

John Donne

The Flea

The Bait

The Broken Heart

Valediction Forbidding Mourning

Triple Fool

Robert Frost

Going For Water

Two Tramps in Mud Time

Sitting by a Bush in Broad Sunlight

The Vanishing Red

(We may add 1 additional Frost poem as you have already studied “Mending Wall”)

A Little Background

Its always good to start things off with a little background knowledge. Divide into 2 groups and choose one of the two poets. One person from each group will research the following topics:

  1. The life and times of the poet (biographical)
  2. Political, historical and social events and ideas of the time
  3. Who influenced the poet and who did he influence.

Be prepared to share your research for the next class.

Try using webpath express as your research tool.

Once you have completed your research, compile all your notes on the correct page of the English as Pie site.

Read over all your notes and skim over the poetry we will be studying. Create links between the background research and the poetry. Write a note on the edge of each page of your poetry anthology highlighting these links.

Engaging with Poetry

Why do we read poetry? Is it to pull apart each line and search for the ‘hidden meaning’ contain within?  I don’t think so. We read poetry (well atleast, I read poetry) to learn the poets thoughts on human thoughts and emotions. Its the big ideas that are important rather the literary elements that convey these ideas. I prefer the term engaging with poetry rather than analysing poetry for this reason. Whereas the latter implies a line-by-line approach, the former suggests a consider approach to what the reader understands the poet is suggesting. That said, a sound knowledge of poetic elements is important to fully comprehend what is being conveyed.

These elements come from the Oxford English A1 Course Companion and adapted by you:

  1. Context: What is the text about?Where is it set?When is it set?Who is the speaker?
  2. Why has it been written? What thematic ideas underlie the text?
  3. Literary features? Simile, Metaphor, symbols, motifs, alliteration, assonance, dissonance, etc.
  4. Structure: stanzas? poetic? prose? formal or informal? sentences long or short?
  5. Vocabulary and diction: simple or complex? are some words or phrases unexpected or odd?
  6. Imagery: vivid, matter-of-fact etc.
  7. Tone and mood?

Image: ‘Dogged

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