Friday, May 16, 2014

Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson

Assignment (see poems below)
The students will read each poem three times with their partner (or you can have six readers read the poems aloud to the class) and then they will complete questions 1-6 on the handout on a separate piece of paper.  Students will work with their partners.  However, each student needs to respond to the questions in writing.  They can keep their work and I will look at it on Monday.  


Their homework is to gather/organize tests, quizzes, essays, poetry, other assignments, and any questions from this semester and bring to class on Monday.   Monday is the first day of review.  I will outline how we will spend those three days in class on Monday.  


Cool book - Walt Whitman Illuminated: Review @Brainpickings

New York Times: "Enigmantic Emily Dickinson Revealed Online"

Left and center: Amherst College Archives and Special Collections; right: Houghton Library, Harvard University

Checkout an Emily Dickinson book called The Gorgeous Nothings (see the envelopes and scraps of paper that became poems).

How did Dickinson become so popular after her death? Read this article:
THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY prides itself on its history of bringing new literary talents to light--new authors featured in our pages just in the past fifty years have included Jane Smiley, Joyce Carol Oates, Joseph Heller, Truman Capote, Raymond Carver, Ann Beattie, Ethan Canin, Amy Tan, and Tobias Wolff. But early in its existence the magazine failed to recognize the potential of one of the most formidable American poets of the nineteenth century: Emily Dickinson. READ MORE

In class, READ the following two poems:

Whitman's "To a Locomotive in Winter"

THEE for my recitative!
Thee in the driving storm, even as now—the snow—the winter-day declining;
Thee in thy panoply, thy measured dual throbbing, and thy beat convulsive;
Thy black cylindric body, golden brass, and silvery steel;
Thy ponderous side-bars, parallel and connecting rods, gyrating, shuttling at thy sides;         5
Thy metrical, now swelling pant and roar—now tapering in the distance;
Thy great protruding head-light, fix’d in front;
Thy long, pale, floating vapor-pennants, tinged with delicate purple;
The dense and murky clouds out-belching from thy smoke-stack;
Thy knitted frame—thy springs and valves—the tremulous twinkle of thy wheels;  10
Thy train of cars behind, obedient, merrily-following,
Through gale or calm, now swift, now slack, yet steadily careering:
Type of the modern! emblem of motion and power! pulse of the continent!
For once, come serve the Muse, and merge in verse, even as here I see thee,
With storm, and buffeting gusts of wind, and falling snow;  15
By day, thy warning, ringing bell to sound its notes,
By night, thy silent signal lamps to swing.
Fierce-throated beauty!
Roll through my chant, with all thy lawless music! thy swinging lamps at night;
Thy piercing, madly-whistled laughter! thy echoes, rumbling like an earthquake, rousing all!  20
Law of thyself complete, thine own track firmly holding;
(No sweetness debonair of tearful harp or glib piano thine,)
Thy trills of shrieks by rocks and hills return’d,
Launch’d o’er the prairies wide—across the lakes,
To the free skies, unpent, and glad, and strong.  25

Compare with....
I like to see it lap the Miles -
And lick the Valleys up - 
And stop to feed itself at Tanks - 
And then - prodigious step

Around a Pile of Mountains - 
And supercilious peer
In Shanties - by the sides of Roads - 
And then a Quarry pare

To fit it's sides
And crawl between
Complaining all the while
In horrid - hooting stanza - 
Then chase itself down Hill - 

And neigh like Boanerges
Then - prompter than a Star
Stop - docile and omnipotent
At it's own stable door - 
Source: The Poems of Emily Dickinson, Edited by R.W. Franklin (Harvard University Press, 1999)
Answer the following:

When teaching, assume nothing: Wait, what's a locomotive?

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