Welcome to Poetry Friday! I am so happy to have the opportunity to host the round up for this week. If you want to know what Poetry Friday is, click here for a great explanation!. After reading my post, don’t forget to leave a comment and then add your link! Fingers crossed this works. It is Monday night 8/16/21 and I am making the draft now for publishing the post later this week! I even remembered to open the round up on Thursday for our “down under” friends! A friendly midwestern welcome to all!
Introduction to Famous American Poets
As many of you know, I’ve been working with a few students this summer in an enrichment group called Creative Writer’s Circle. We just had our seventh, one-hour session this afternoon. Next week is our last meeting. Today we worked on “I am” poems. I was specifically looking for something with a middle school bent and this came up as a possible topic. While looking at examples, several famous poets were cited as writing I am poems. So, I thought I would combine a lesson on writing I am poems with an introduction to famous American poets.
I read from Emily Dickinson, Billy Collins, and Maya Angelou. Only one of these poets was named officially as poet laureate! I know, I know! I was surprised too that Maya Angelou, while winning many awards for her writing, did not officially hold this honor. She did, however, read her poetry at Bill Clinton’s inauguration. Billy Collins served as the Poet Laureate from 2001-2003. These famous poets all had examples of I am poems that I shared with my students today, along with a brief history of “who” these poets were/are.
From Maya Angelou’s work I read, Still I rise (1978). I read this last to let her words resonate with my students. It is a powerful poem that spoke to them regardless of age, gender, or race. They understood she was speaking from her life experience and that nothing would stand in her way. She did rise. And, we are so inspired by her writing. Even today, her words are especially applicable.
Billy Collins offered a more abstract and lyrical approach to the I am poem, Litany (2002), where he compares what “he is” to what someone else “is” or is not, as the case may be. I think this poem was harder for my students to grasp but still they were able to deduce that Collins is sometime different than whomever he is comparing himself to. I got the sense his friend was quiet and he was more noisy from the stanza about raindrops on the roof. I do not know if this is one of the correct literary interpretations of this piece, but it was my assessment after reading. For an analysis of the poem Litany that compares two people who obviously know each other well, check here.
Lastly, but read first, was the short poem by Emily Dickinson. I am Nobody! Who are You? This was an “I am poem” recommended especially for middle school aged students. It is short and we talked about who the frogs of today are – the consensus? Politicians!
Following these introductions to I am poems and famous American poets, we wrote some of our own “I am” poems using templets I found online. I have not obtained permission yet, but I hope to be able to share some of my students’ summer poetry work with you in the coming weeks. They’ll be back in class by then, and I? I will surely be missing my time with them!
I am thrilled to host Poetry Friday for the first time! Please link your blog and then leave a comment below! I look forward to hearing from many fellow poets this week! And, thank you!
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