Poetry Slam

5 03 2010

Our final poetry activity was a poetry slam.  The students did not have to participate if they did not want to.  I have 5 or 6 students participate (I was hoping for more!)  All of the students created their own poetry and performed in front of the class and my camera!  One student even created a poster for a prop to set the mood.  Overall, I was very impressed.  The only thing I would have changed was – make them memorize their poems.  While their poems were amazing, all the students were looking down at their papers while performing their poems.  A little of the magic was lost because of this.  As soon as I can figure it out, I will post the videos of some of the performances!

Extended Metaphor and “Mother to Son”

22 02 2010

In an effort to encourge creative writing, I have started using some assignment I previously completed in Dr. Levy’s ENGL 7735 class.  We had already completed a successful round of ‘word photos’ and now we are moving on to our ‘metaphor’ pieces.

In addition to examples from my classmates, I used Langston Hughes “Mother to Son”.  In the poem, a mother compares her life to a stair case and keeps the same metaphor throughout the poem. 

The students really enjoyed this project, and probably some of the most creative work has emerged from this assignment.


19 02 2010

The emphasize personification, we read “Casual” by Langston Hughes.  Actually the student who brought in the poem, performed it (from memorization) to the class. 

The first time he performed, he rushed through the poem and most of the other students we left lost and confused.  Another student shouted out:  “Perform like you did at ‘Raisin in the Sun’!”  During his second reading, he created suspense with his pauses and added a much needed vigor to his reading.  After he finished reciting the second time, the rest of the students felt the power of Hughes words.

‘Hope for the Best’

18 02 2010

One of my students, took it upon herself to write her own ballad.  I shared her poem with the class and we reviewed the elements of a ballad poem.

I must say, I was extremely impressed with this student’s inititive.  I did not ask anyone to replecate any poems we might come across (unless it’s the assignment).  What this student did was exactly what I am trying to accomplish.  She took something she learned in class and made it her own.  She connected personally to type of poetry and ran with it.

“The Tides”

17 02 2010

At an attempt to help the students make connections between two seemingly unrelated texts, the students quiz for the day was to connect “The Tides” to the events in Salem Falls

The reason why I chose to use this poem for the quiz was because a lot of the characters in the novel act without thinking of the consequences that would follow their actions.  

I was pretty impressed with most of their responses.

Poe poetry – “A Dream Within a Dream”, “The Raven”, and “Annabel Lee”

10 02 2010

Because the students are going on a field trip next week to the Center for Puppetry Arts for “The Tales of Edgar Allen Poe”, I thought now might be a good time to have the students experience some of his works.

After a quick intro to Poe, his legacy, and dark romantic (gothic) literature, we read “A Dream Within A Dream”.  While reading this (and the following poems), the students looked for the elements of dark romanticism.  After reading both “Annabel Lee” and “The Raven”, we watched representations of the poem. 

With “Annabel Lee”, we watched a video made by a student at KSU using the video game World of Warcraft.

With “The Raven”, we watched the Simpson’s version of the poem.  This was also a nice opportunity to talk about satire and parody!

I was worried, at first, that the students wouldn’t understand the horror and suspense that Poe creates in his writings, but the students seemed really involved.  The conversation turned a little gruesome – one student even asked: “Would you rather be torured mentally or physically?”  It began a mini socratic seminar with the students – without any prompting from me!

Def Poetry Jam and spoken word

5 02 2010

So far, this semester, we have explored poetry that has be written.  Now, I wanted the students to see the passion, intensity, and fevor that comes from performance poetry.  With most of the students involved in the performing arts program, I thought they would really enjoy seeing these artists perform. 

So I picked 10 poets from HBO’s Def Poetry Jam series.  The videos are posted below – I attempted to pick artists that they students would be familar with (Alicia Keys, Eryka Badu, Cedric the Entertainer, etc) and artists that had powerful, relatable messages (Taylor Mali, Gemineye, Malcolm Jamal Warner, etc).  While the students watched each poet perform, they commented what part of the performance/poem spoke to them.  What was the overall tone?  Message?

After we discussed each clip, I gave the students an option to have their own Def Poetry Jam.  They are to create their own poem (doesn’t have to be memorized) and perform it.  Right now our poetry jam is scheduled for March 5th.


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