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Thursday, 1/17:  Bring The Little Prince and Rag and Bone Shop to class.  5 pts.

Friday, 1/18:  Little Prince Reflection, 1 page in notebook, 10 pts.  

Who is the most despicable character the Little Prince meets on his journey to the various planets?  Why?  Give one quote from that chapter. If you were to write a new chapter with a new sad/despicable character, who would it be, and why?  This should be a very personal choice and reflection!

Extra Credit:  

- Visit the Walt Whitman Birthplace State Historic Site in Huntington, then write a one page typed review--one paragraph on what you liked most about the museum and why, and one paragraph on what you liked about the house tour and why.  Finally, suggest any recommendations on how to improve the experience of your visit.  Up to 30 pts.

- Video poem, up to 15 pts.  See me for details.


Monday, 1/14:  Poets House poem, in notebook, 10 pts.  Remember, pick a line/phrase/sentence from the poem, "Late American Aubade" by Alexandra Teague, then write at least 12 lines to follow.  

ALSO:  Poem reflection, in notebook, 1 page, 10 pts.  Read "Mirror" by Sylvia Plath and "anyone lived in a pretty how town" by e.e. cummings. Discuss how each poet gets his/her theme of loneliness and despair across.  Pick 2 lines from each poem to reflect upon.  Please underline them.

Recitation Project, 100 pts.  Everyone must recite.

Wednesday, 1/9:  RECITATION ESSAY DUE, 1 page minimum, double space, typed, 50 pts.  Please print out a copy of your poem for me and staple it to your essay.  P.S. If you recite you get 5 pts. extra credit.

Intro paragraph: Title, poet, theme of poem, and the main reason you chose it. 

Body paragraph: What is your one favorite line and why (is it the imagery, theme, meaning, sound, metaphor, feeling, choice of the best words?) How does it support your reason for choosing your poem?

Conclusion: Why do you want to keep this poem memorized for the rest of your life?

Thursday, 1/10:  

1. Recitation Project, 100 pts.  TIME TO RECITE!  Remember, it must be a minimum of 25 "full" lines.  If you memorize a poem substantially longer you will get extra credit points. 

Suggestions:  Charles Bukowski, Billy Collins, Mary Oliver, Pablo Neruda, Rumi, Kabir, Jack Gilbert, Jane Hirschfield, Czeslaw Milosz, Jeffrey McDaniel, Stephen Dobyns, Kim Addonizio, Charles Simic, Jane Kenyon, Marie Howe, Linda Pastan

POETS HOUSE FIELD TRIP!  Tuesday, 1/8 : We will leave Prep at 8:25 a.m. sharp and return approximately 3:00 p.m.  Meet at the top of the Prep driveway on Francis Lewis at 8:15.  If it's raining, meet at the far end of East Middle.  You will see the bus outside. The forecast is rain until 8:30, then partly cloudy, 48 degrees.  Don't forget to bring money for lunch.  Dress casually and comfortably, and appropriately. 

Monday, 1/7:  Reflection due, 1 page in notebook, 10 pts.  

Read "Three Angels" by Bob Dylan and "Guardian Angel" by Rolf Jacobsen (both in Rag and Bone Shop, pp. 427-428).  Pick which one had more meaning to you and why.  Then using 3-4 lines from the poem discuss how the speaker gets the theme across.

Friday, 1/4: Little Prince Reading Exam, 100 pts. Bring a pencil. 

Thursday, 1/3:  Reflection due, 1 page in notebook, 10 pts.  Details to come.

POETRY OUT LOUD!  Please go to poetryoutloud.org and pick a poem you understand, connect to, and LOVE.  Memorize it and recite it to your class on Wednesday, December 19th.  Maybe you'll be the winner that goes to the Prep competition on January 10th!  See me for more details.

Thursday, 12/20:  Bring The Little Prince to class.  IMPORTANT:  You must purchase or print out the Katherine Woods translation--the copy with the white cover, not the blue cover.  5 pts.


Wednesday, 12/19:  Whitman Exam, 100 pts.  This exam is based on your class notes on Whitman's life and Leaves of Grass, as well as highlights from "Song of Myself."  Format will be multiple choice and a literary paragraph response.  Bring a pencil.

Monday, 12/17:  Whitman "Song of Myself" reflection, 1 page minimum in notebook, 10 pts.  Read parts of section 21 and 22 below and pick ONE sentence or line from each stanza and write a short paragraph (3 sentences) on what Whitman is expressing about himself, his love of nature, and/or humanity, etc.



I am the poet of the Body and I am the poet of the Soul,

The pleasures of heaven are with me and the pains of hell are with me,

The first I graft and increase upon myself, the latter I translate into a new tongue.

I am the poet of the woman the same as the man,

And I say it is as great to be a woman as to be a man,

And I say there is nothing greater than the mother of men.

I chant the chant of dilation (EXPANSION) or pride,

We have had ducking and deprecating about enough,

I show that size is only development...

I am he that walks with the tender and growing night,

I call to the earth and sea half-held by the night.

Press close bare-bosom’d night—press close magnetic nourishing night!

Night of south winds—night of the large few stars!

Still nodding night—mad naked summer night.

Smile O voluptuous cool-breath’d earth!

Earth of the slumbering and liquid trees!

Earth of departed sunset—earth of the mountains misty-topt!

Earth of the vitreous pour of the full moon just tinged with blue!

Earth of shine and dark mottling the tide of the river!

Earth of the limpid gray of clouds brighter and clearer for my sake!

Far-swooping elbow’d earth—rich apple-blossom’d earth!

Smile, for your lover comes.


You sea! I resign myself to you also—I guess what you mean,

I behold from the beach your crooked inviting fingers,

I believe you refuse to go back without feeling of me,

We must have a turn together, I undress, hurry me out of sight of the land,

Cushion me soft, rock me in billowy drowse,

Dash me with amorous wet, I can repay you...

Tuesday, 12/11:  Whitman poem reflection, 1 page min. in notebook, 10 pts.  

Read the moving "runaway slave" stanza below from "Song of Myself," and discuss how each of Whitman's 7 actions towards this man are so compassionate, as well as making this man feel like the human being he is! 

The runaway slave came to my house and stopped outside,
I heard his motions crackling the twigs of the woodpile,
Through the swung half-door of the kitchen I saw him limpsy
and weak,
And went where he sat on a log and led him in and assured
And brought water and fill'd a tub for his sweated body and
bruised feet,
And gave him a room that enter'd from my own, and gave
him some coarse clean clothes,
And remember perfectly well his revolving eyes and his awkwardness,
And remember putting plasters on the galls of his neck and
He staid with me a week before he was recuperated and
pass'd north,
I had him sit next to me at table, my firelock (rifle) leaned in the

Tuesday, 11/27:  Bukowski & Billy Collins!

Wednesday, 11/28:  Stoner reading exam #2, chapter 11 to the end, 100 pts.  Bring a pencil.  

Thursday, 11/29:  Billy Collins h.w. assignment, 1 page in notebook, 10 pts.     www.poemhunter.com/poem/on-turning-ten/

1.  Discuss how Collins is able to capture the voice and viewpoint of a 10 year old so well.   2.  Pick 2 lines that express his joy of youth.   3.  Pick 2 lines that express his newfound sadness.   4.  Where is the turn in the poem?  The major shift...  Why do you think so?   5.  Like the treehouse, bike, imaginary friends, etc., what images/symbols of your own youth would you include in your "turning ten poem"?  Please list 5.

Monday, 12/3:  Stoner New Title/Cover Essay, typed, 1 1/2 pages minimum,   50 pts.    As you know, this is one of my favorite novels of all time, except I'm not crazy about the title OR the cover.  Please write an insightful  paragraph on a brilliant and meaningful new title and why, then 1 paragraph on a brilliant and meaningful new cover and why (please use lots of imagery to describe the image to the reader).  Each body paragraph must have a quote from the novel to support your choices.  Use your imagination!  The 3 best titles get extra credit!  Brief intro paragraph and brief conclusion is also needed.

Charles Bukowski (1920 - 1994) was a prolific underground writer who used his his poetry and prose to depict the depravity of urban life and the downtrodden in American society. A cult hero, Bukowski relied on experience, emotion, and imagination in his work, using direct language and violent and sexual imagery. While some critics found his style offensive, others claimed that Bukowski satirized the machismo attitude through his routine use of sex, alcohol abuse, and violence. “Without trying to make himself look good, much less heroic, Bukowski writes with a nothing-to-lose truthfulness which sets him apart from most other ‘autobiographical’ novelists and poets,” commented Stephen Kessler in the San Francisco Review of Books, adding: “Firmly in the American tradition of the maverick, Bukowski writes with no apologies from the frayed edge of society.” Michael Lally in Village Voice maintained that “Bukowski is…a phenomenon. He has established himself as a writer with a consistent and insistent style based on what he projects as his ‘personality,’ the result of hard, intense living.” 

Monday, 11/19:  Bukowski reflection, in notebook, 10 pts.  Google "Bukowski poems" and find your new favorite.  Then discuss how the speaker (Bukowski) uses raw language, some simplicity, and edge to make you feel the poem in your gut.  Make 3 specific references to prove your response.  PRINT OUT POEM!

Friday, 11/16:  Neruda Mad Libs Group Work!  In class!  Due at the end of the period!  Aw, yeah!  10 pts.

Thursday, 11/15:  Stoner Exam #1, chapters 1 - 10.  100 pts. 

Bring a pencil.

THURSDAY, 11/8: POETRY EXAM, 100 PTS.  Comprehensive written exam covering the most important poems of the 1st quarter. 

Poems you need to re-read and experience closely the night before--

William Carlos Williams: "The Red Wheelbarrow" "The Last Words of My English Grandmother" "Smell!"  "Danse Russe"  "This Is Just to Say"

Yehuda Amichai: 2 poems from handout (your choice)

Pablo Neruda: "Tonight I Can Write the Saddest Lines"  

(Maybe the 7 Father Poems)

NOTE:  One of your 3 exam questions will be on a poem you have never seen before.  You will have to read it closely and carefully (it will be printed on the back of the exam), then use your newfound poetry reading knowledge, experience, and wisdom to understand and discuss its most poignant lines (and one poetic device).  

Tuesday, 11/6:  Father poems reflection, 10pts.  1 page in notebook.

Read "My Papa's Waltz" and "Those Winter Sundays" again. We discussed briefly how each poem is bittersweet in how each speaker remembers a night or a morning with his father.  Please focus on the "sweet" in both poems.  

How do the last 2 lines of "Waltz" reveal love on the father's part and the son's, and discuss the two meanings of him CLINGING to his shirt.  What is another line that shows love/sacrifice/longing in the father?  Finally, why do you think the speaker shares this moment with us?

In "Sundays" discuss how the father shows his love--what are 2 specific lines that reveal this?  What do the last two lines mean?  Finally, why do you think the speaker shares this moment with us?

Wednesday, 10/31: IL POSTINO film review, 100 pts.  

2 pages double spaced, typed, Times New Roman, 12 pt. size, full heading. See screenplay below for reminders and/or youtube scenes to refresh your memory.


Guidelines below.


Paragraph 1 (Introduction):   INITIAL REACTONS:  What is the main theme of this film AND what did you like most about it?  What is your opinion of the characters Mario and Neruda, and what is so special about their friendship?

Paragraph 2:  ACTING DETAILS/PERFORMANCES: How did the actors handle their roles? Did they bring their characters to life? Pick one specific scene in which you thought a particular actor(s) played a scene very well and what made it so real. (You must include a line from the scene.)

Paragraph 3:  SETTING/SOUNDTRACK/SCRIPT:  Comment on how the island is portrayed in the film. Which aspects are portrayed positively? Negatively?   Discuss briefly how music enhances some scenes—which one in particular?  What did you think of the writing and dialogue?  Natural?  Poetic?  Why?

Paragraph 4:  OVERVIEW:  What is the significance of the closing image of Neruda on the beach and the camera panning out (moving away)?  Include a new, memorable line from the film that sums up its themes of friendship, love, and poetry.  Finally, state why a person should see this film in a clear, convincing closing sentence.   At the bottom, rate Il Postino (out of 5 stars). 

Monday, 10/29: Neruda Love sonnets reflection in notebook, 1 page,

 10 pts.  As you know, Neruda wrote 100 of these for his beloved Mathilde.  GIRLS--your assignment is which one of these would you most like to receive from your future husband?  Why?  Pick 2 lines/phrases that you thought were particularly breathtaking in their adoration and explain why.

BOYS--which one of these would you most likely give to your future wife?  Why?   Pick 2 lines/phrases that you thought were particularly breathtaking in their adoration and explain why.

Monday, 10/19:  Neruda reflection, 20 pts! on loose leaf, to be collected!

1 page minimum.  Google Pablo Neruda's masterpiece, "Tonight I Can Write the Saddest Lines," print it out, read it at least twice carefully and slowly, mark it up with your ink and reactions, then pick the 4 lines/sentences that reveal the most longing and loss and why.  Was it an image?  A phrase?  An idea?  A poetic device perhaps?  Explain fully.  Staple your printout with your name on it to the back of the assignment.


Born Ricardo Eliecer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto in the town of Parral in southern Chile on July 12, 1904, Pablo Neruda led a life charged with poetic and political activity. In 1923 he sold all of his possessions to finance the publication of his first book, Crepusculario (“Twilight”). He published the volume under the pseudonym “Pablo Neruda” to avoid conflict with his family, who disapproved of his occupation. The following year, he found a publisher for Veinte poemas de amor y una cancion desesperada(“Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair”). The book made a celebrity of Neruda, who gave up his studies at the age of twenty to devote himself to his craft. 

Neruda received numerous prestigious awards, including the International Peace Prize in 1950 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971.

MONDAY, 10/15:  HAIKU DAY!  Plus in-class assignment (instead of h.w. over the weekend), 10 pts.

Wednesday, 10/17:  Haiku Project due!  50 pts.  Typed, Times New Roman, 12 pt. size.  

Write 9 haiku/senryu with the subject matter listed below. Only the first one has to be 5-7-5.  Remember, no rhyming.

1.) Traditional Japanese haiku any theme (5-7-5 syllables)


3.) Favorite season/weather

4.) Favorite animal

5.) Favorite place on earth

6.) Funny

7.) Halloween haiku or Thanksgiving haiku (or Christmas haiku)

8.) 2-liner (romantic/love theme)

9.) 1- liner (any theme)


Furuike ya
kawazu tobikomu
mizu no oto
- Basho

Literal Translation

Fu-ru (old) i-ke (pond) ya,
ka-wa-zu (frog) to-bi-ko-mu (jumping into)
mi-zu (water) no o-to (sound)

The old pond-
a frog jumps in,
sound of water.

Translated by Robert Hass

Tuesday, 10/9: Reflection on Amichai handout, 1 page in notebook, 10 pts.    Read all of the poems closely and carefully.  Read your 2 favorites twice, THEN discuss how Amichai's imagery and metaphors create such a vivid sense of the pain/loss the speaker feels with the love in his life coming to an end.  Make references to 2 lines in each poem to support your response.  Note:  You may not use "Tourists."  =( 

Thursday, 10/4:  Crossover poem reflection, 10 pts.    Pick your 2 favorite Basketball Rules poems from the novel and write a short paragraph on each.  Discuss what message/lesson in the poem meant so much to Josh. AND why it means so much to you.

Extra Credit:  Write your own Rules poem using your favorite sport, hobby, interest.  8 lines minimum. +5

(The best one gets +10!)

Bring The Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart, 5 pts.

Tuesday, 10/2:  The Crossover reading exam, 100 pts.  Bring a pencil (multiple choice and literary paragraph response).

Wednesday, 9/26 :  Poetic Terms Quiz, 50 pts.   Quiz based on knowledge of terms and recognizing them.

Monday, 9/24 (abbreviated schedule):  "Danse Russe" reflection, 1/2 page minimum in notebook, 5 pts.

Discuss how and why the speaker/father is the "happy genius of his household."  Make sure to make references to his dance, the time of day, who he's with, and his being lonely and "best so."

Bring The Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart, 5 pts.

Thursday, 9/20: Stanley Kunitz "Touch Me" Quiz, 50 pts.

Monday, 9/17: "Touch Me" reflection, 1 page minimum in your notebook, 10 pts.  

You heard me recite "Touch Me" by Stanley Kunitz.  Now on your own, read it carefully and slowly twice, allow each image to sink in and make its mark and meaning on you.  Then, discuss how he uses the approaching storm, his garden, his house, and of course THE CRICKETS, to express the state he's in; how are they effective metaphors for how he feels in his life, but especially the relationship with his wife?  Make references to at least 4 lines to support your responses.  Make sure you share your thoughts on his final request at the end!  

Wednesday, 9/12:  Print out the course outline and sign, and get a parent's signature as well. 10 pts.

Welcome to POETRY- English 12!

The press of my foot to the earth springs a hundred affections.

- Walt Whitman

"I have never met a heavy heart

that wasn't a phone booth

with a red cape inside."     - Andrea Gibson