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It's Alive
The Poem as an Organism

Tuesday afternoon students will explore the poem as an organic piece of art. We will first discuss, with the aid of Billy Collins' "Introduction to Poetry," the fears people harbor about poetry. Just why are such close readings of text in fact legitimate? Why can readers scrutinize nearly every word in a poem? Students will be introduced to the poem as an organism, and how certain images within the poem must be "earned" and their existence must be organic to the poem. Students will also explore the growth of the poem itself, and how the poem, not the poet, decide the piece's direction.

The Poem as an Organism
10-15 Minute Free Write
"Explication de Text"
   -  Read Billy Collins' "Introduction to Poetry"
      -  What is Collins getting at?
      -  Are the generalizations he addresses correct?
      -  Why?
      -  Why must the reader examine the poem so closely?
         -  The poem as organic... interrelated
         -  Earning your Keep
The Organic Poem
   -  Read Julia Alvarez's "Bilingual Sestina"
      -  The form of the sestina, the repetition, faciliates organic cohesion
      -  Read assorted other poems and identify the way poets earn their images
   -  The Growing Poem
      -  The poet becomes helpless over direction and intent
      -  The poem identifies its purpose and direction
      -  Telling Lie
         -  Bruce Weigl "We tell small lies to tell larger truths"
         -  Discuss selections of Richard Hugo's "Triggering Town"
      -  The found poem
         -  Have students arrange, without any intial purpose, the lines taken from the morning
         -  Encourage students to look at what is hidden in the text and allow the poem to write itself
         -  Allow 10-15 minutes of work on found poems
    -  If anyone has work they would like to share, offer the possibility of workshopping

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