Reading PoetryPoetry Lecture #1 “Poetry is my cheap means of transportation. By the end of the poem, the reader should be in a different place from where he started. I would like him to be slightly disoriented at the end, like I drove him outside of town at night and dropped him off in a cornfield.” Billy Collins http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iuTNdHadwbk
Reading Poetry Responsively The Secretary Chant My hips are a desk, What statement is the poet making?From my ears hang What does the poet use to makechains of paper clips. this statement?Rubber bands form my hair. My breasts are quills of mimeograph ink. My feet bear casters, Buzz. Click. My head is a badly organized file. My head is a switchboard where crossed lines crackle. Press my fingers and in my eyes appear credit and debit. Zing. Tinkle. My navel is a reject button. From my mouth issue canceled reams. Swollen, heavy, rectangular I am about to be delivered of a baby Xerox machine. File me under W because I woncewas a woman. Marge Piercy, 1973
Reading Poetry Responsively • Those Winter Sundays Sundays too my father got up early And put his clothes on in the blueblackcold, then with cracked hands that ached from labor in the weekday weather made banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him. I'd wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking. When the rooms were warm, he'd call, and slowly I would rise and dress, fearing the chronic angers of that house, Speaking indifferently to him, who had driven out the cold and polished my good shoes as well. What did I know, what did I know of love's austere and lonely offices? • Robert Hayden
Did the poem match your feelings about winter Sundays? • Does the gender of the voice make a difference? • What is the tone of this poem?
Write a response and 1 question you have about “Dog’s Death” Dog's Death She must have been kicked unseen or brushed by a car.Too young to know much, she was beginning to learnTo use the newspapers spread on the kitchen floorAnd to win, wetting there, the words, "Good dog! Good dog!" We thought her shy malaise was a shot reaction.The autopsy disclosed a rupture in her liver.As we teased her with play, blood was filling her skinAnd her heart was learning to lie down forever. Monday morning, as the children were noisily fedAnd sent to school, she crawled beneath the youngest's bed.We found her twisted and limp but still alive.In the car to the vet's, on my lap, she tried To bite my hand and died. I stroked her warm furAnd my wife called in a voice imperious with tears.Though surrounded by love that would have upheld her,Nevertheless she sank and, stiffening, disappeared. Back home, we found that in the night her frame,Drawing near to dissolution, had endured the shameOf diarrhoea and had dragged across the floorTo a newspaper carelessly left there. Good dog.
What would the poem’s effect have been if Updike had titled it “Good Dog” instead of “Dog’s Death”?
Close Reading of Poetry Ask yourself: • What happens in the poem? • What are the poem’s central ideas? • How do the poems words, images and sounds contribute to its meaning? • What is the poem’s overall tone? • How is this poem put together?
The title offers an interjection expressing emotion The visual effect of lines 1-5 suggests an innocent, wide-eyed openness to experience while the repetitive oo sounds echo a kind of reassuring satisfied cooing. The informal language conjures up an idyllic picture of a pleasurable walk in the country. William Hathaway Oh, oh My girl and I amble a country lane, moo cows chomping daisies, our own sweet saliva green with grass stems. “Look, look,” she says at the crossing, “the choo-choo’s light is on.” And sure enough, right smack dab in the middle of maple dappled summer sunlight is the lit headlight– so funny. An arm waves to us from the black window. we wave gaily to the arm. “When I hear trains at night I dream of being president,” I say dreamily. “And me first lady,” she says loyally. So when the last boxcars, named after wonderful faraway places, and the caboose chuckle by we look eagerly to the road ahead. And there, posed and growling, are fifty Hell’s Angels. Filled with confidence and hope, the couple imagines a successful future together in exotic locations. Even the train is happy for them as it “chuckles” in approval of their dreams. Right in the middle op the poem, the black window suggest that all is not well. Not until the very last line does “the road ahead” yield a terrifying surprise. The strategically “poised” final line derails the leisurely movement of the couple and brings their happy story to a dead stop. The emotional reversal parked in the last few words awaits the reader as much as it does the couple. The sight and sound of the motorcycle gang signal that what seemed like heaven is, in reality, hell: Oh, oh..