Lesson 6: poetry of the greatest

Directions: Follow the directions in each Part below to complete the assignment.

Reminder: All answers must paraphrased (in your own words) and not copy/pasted from the internet. Cite any sources or websites that you used in researching your work. Be sure your paragraph is written in Academic English. If needed, refer to the section on Academic English in Orientation.

Part A: Death of the Hired Man by Robert Frost

Read the poem Death of The Hired Man by Robert Frost.

The Death of The Hired Man consists of a dialogue between Warren, a farmer, and his wife Mary. Silas, their old hired man, has returned, sick, after a long absence. He stays with them during the hard winters but leaves for other farms with better wages in haying time. They feel sympathy but do not know what to do. They want to send him to his wealthy brother but know that Silas doesn’t want to go there. Social attitudes emerge as the couple remember how Silas fought with a college boy about book learning and life experience. Warren is antagonistic to Silas whom he regards as an economic liability. Mary is more emotional and begs Warren to give him a home one more time. Meanwhile, Silas dies in the next room.

Respond to the following questions:

1. What is the story of the poem?
2. What are the feelings portrayed in the poem by each character? Silas, warren, Mary.
3. What are the social issues discussed in the poem? Are they still relevant today? e.g. Homelessness, education, who has the obligation family or society?

Part B: Sonnets

Directions: Read the following sonnets and follow the directions to write your own sonnet.

Sonnet 29: When in Disgrace with Fortune and Men’s Eyes

When, in disgrace with Fortune and men’s eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
Desiring this man’s art, and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate;
For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

By William Shakespeare

Sonnet 130 by William Shakespeare

My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun
Coral is far more red than her lips’ red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damasked, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground.
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.

Sonnet Instructions: Write a sonnet on a topic of your choice, using the rules below.
1. Write exactly fourteen lines, putting one syllable in each box.
2. In the first twelve lines, describe a problem, introduce an issue, or pose a question.
3. In the last two lines, resolve the problem, make general comments or conclusions, or answer the questions.
4. Follow the pattern for stressed and unstressed syllables.
5. Follow the pattern for end rhymes.
1 a ___________________
2 b ___________________
3 a ___________________
4 b ___________________
5 c ___________________
6 d ___________________
7 c ___________________
8 d ___________________
9 e ___________________
10 f ___________________
11 e ___________________
12 f ___________________
13 g ___________________
14 g ___________________

Part C: Poems of Personal Experience

Directions: Write your own poem of experience.

To begin, read at least three poems from one of the following poets: Etheridge Knight, Ntozake Shange, Langston Hughes S.

Writing the poem.

1. Decide whether to use the first person “I” or the third person, “he” or “she” or some other way to observe and reflect on some experience of family, or friend or stranger.

2. Recall memories or feelings or images which are the strongest perhaps evoked by the reading of the poems perhaps entirely personal to come to mind. Write them down. Write at least four of the strongest thoughts.
3. Give the strongest thoughts a single word – definition.
4. Experiment with form. Write prose or free verse of dialogues or letters to a friend.
5. Write a rough draft.
6. Revise to read the next day to your parent or another adult.

Part D: Comprehension

Directions: Answer each of the following questions.

1. Who’s fame rests on Spoon River Anthology published in 1914?

2. Identify three facts about Langston Hughes’ life and work.

3. Which Afro-American poet joined the army, went to Korea and was injured with shrapnel?

4. Who is regarded as the greatest poet in the English language and popularized the sonnet form in English poetry?

5. Identify at least three facts about Robert Frost’s life and work.

6. Who was the the first Afro-American poet to receive the Pulitzer Prize?

7. Identify the Afro-American playwright who puts her poems to song and dances.

8. Identify four facts about Countee Cullen’s life and work.

9. Who began to write about 1850, inspired by R.W. Emerson and Emily Bronte?

10. Who wrote, “In the summer of 1974 I had begun a series of seven poems. . . .which were to explore the realities of seven different kinds of women. They were numbered pieces: the women were to be nameless and assume hegemony as dictated by the fullness of their lives. I was smitten by my own language.”?

11. Identify at least three characteristics about e. e. cummings’ work.

12. Identify at least three facts about Gwendolyn Brooks.

13. Who founded the Black Community Development and Defense organization, a Moslem group, committed to affirming Black political power?

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