Poetry Assignments

Assignment for March 28:

List poem:
You can do one or all of the following:
1) start each line with the same phrase, such as:
I fear
The first time I
I wish I could
I never will
Each morning when I wake
The last chance
My memory of

2)  Repeat words or phrases throughout.
3)  The last word in one line becomes the first word in the next line
4)  Lists of words associated with something the poem is about.  For instance, if it's about favorite foods:  spice cake, rum drinks, burgers with cheese, burgers naked.
5)  Repeat, repeat, repeat.  The idea is to build up a cadence or rhythm and create a musical effect.

Assignment #2 for March 6th

Abandoned Farmhouse

Ted Kooser (b. 1939)

He was a big man, says the size of his shoes
on a pile of broken dishes by the house;
a tall man too, says the length of the bed
in an upstairs room; and a good, God-fearing man,
says the Bible with a broken back
on the floor below the window, dusty with sun;
but not a man for farming, say the fields
cluttered with boulders and the leaky barn.

A woman lived with him, says the bedroom wall
papered with lilacs and the kitchen shelves
covered with oilcloth, and they had a child,
says the sandbox made from a tractor tire.
Money was scarce, say the jars of plum preserves
and canned tomatoes sealed in the cellar hole.
And the winters cold, say the rags in the window frames.
It was lonely here, says the narrow country road.

Something went wrong, says the empty house
in the weed-choked yard.  Stones in the fields
say he was not a farmer; the still-sealed jars
in the cellar say she left in a nervous haste.
And the child?  Its toys are strewn in the yard
like branches after a storm—a rubber cow,
a rusty tractor with a broken plow,
a doll in overalls.  Something went wrong, they say.

Using this poem as your model, write a poem in which you describe items in your own room, apartment or house.  Choose items that “show” something about the occupants.  You may choose to suggest what these items show, as the poem above does, or you may leave that to the reader to figure out.  Try to find the right balance between over-explaining the objects and leaving the reader to infer.  You may show the surroundings beyond the front door, as this poem does. A glimpse of the neighborhood

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