ETHOS

ETHOS

Monday, October 11, 2010

The tension of opposites...

...is a line from Tuesdays With Morrie that has me thinking a lot.  Reflecting upon some recent lessons, I can see that I've been using the concept to talk to the kids about poetry.  For example comparing Anne Bradstreet's "To My Dear and Loving Husband" to Jean Toomer's "Her Lips are Copper Wire."  The theme is Love.  "To My Dear and Loving Husband" is a sentimental poem and "Her Lips are Copper Wire" is a sensory poem.  I admire the latter for its relatively unique metaphor, and I kind of despise the former for its Hallmark qualities.  Regardless, the lesson really got to the heart of what I want to say about poetry without my stammering for the words, or repeating "The Red Wheelbarrow" a hundred times hoping they will understand.

We deepened our study of these themes with modern music.  "Real Love" is the Beatles song we used, which is a jewel, but what a sentimental mess.  I juxtaposed it with Pearl Jam's rendition of "Last Kiss," which is a sentimental mess, but also an actual mess: "something warm rolin' through my eyes."

Here are some of the other "opposite" poems we discussed:

Follow links for supplemental You Tube goodness (The Builders link is especially strange):

Advice: "Mother to Son" & "The Road Less Traveled" & "Let it Be"
Work: "The Builders" & "I Hear America Singing" & "Wichita Lineman"
Death: "Thanatopsis" & (I had them choose their own) & "Last Kiss"
Freedom: "To the Honorable William Earl of Dartmouth" & "I Too" & "Blowing in the Wind"
Nature: "The Snow Storm" & "Birches" & "The Horizon Has Been Defeated"

Highlights: Skarl karaoke singing "Blowing in the Wind" when he realized the you tube link scrolled lyrics but no words.  Some clapped, some stared in horror.  Ah, these are the best days of our lives.

This week we're reading Anne Sextons' "Riding the Elevator into the Sky" and drawing creative interpretations.

Soon we'll be onto riddle poetry. Until then, folks.  Keep it fresh.  And it doesn't hurt to sing, either.

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