Tuesday, March 28, 2017

For Friday: World War One British Poets (see below)

For Friday: World War One British Poets

NOTE: No class on Wednesday--I have to be out of town, unfortunately. So we'll pick up on Friday. Don't forget to start memorizing your poems! (see post below with the recitation schedule) 

  • Sassoon: “Haunted” (34), “The Troops” (36), “Repression of War Experience” (37), “Picture Show” (38)
  • Graves: “To Lucasta” (39), “Goliath and David” (40), “The Last Post” (41), “When I’m Killed” (41)
Answer TWO of the following:

Q1: What does Sassoon mean by the metaphor, “life is just the picture dancing on a screen”? Is he talking about life in general, or life in the war? Do you think some of our previous poets, such as Owen or Gurney, would agree with him?

Q2: Graves’ poem, “To Lucasta On Going To the War—For the Fourth Time” is a slight parody of a 17th century poem by Richard Lovelace called “To Lucasta, Going To the Wars,” which is also about a soldier leaving his love to fight. The concluding lines of the poem read, “Yet this inconstancy is such/As thou too shalt adore:/I could not love thee, dear, so much,/Loved I not honor more.” How is Graves parodying or mocking this sentiment in his poem? How has war changed over the centuries, based on Graves’ soldier?

Q3: Compare Graves’ “When I’m Killed” to Brooke’s “V.The Soldier” from The Soldier (p. 3). How does this underline Graves’ essential philosophy of the war and of being a soldier? Do you think he’s mocking Brooke’s beliefs? Or are they merely slightly different ways of looking at the same experience or sacrifice?

Q4:  How does Sassoon conjure up what Owen called “memory [fingering] in their hair of murders” (22) in his poem, “Repression of War Experience?” According to this poem, why in some ways is it easier to fight and die in a war than to survive it?

Friday, March 24, 2017

For Monday: World War One British Poets: Owen, Gurney, and Sassoon

No questions this weekend, so be sure to read the poems below, since we'll have an in-class response when you come to class. 

Owen, "Mental Cases" (22), "Anthem for Doomed Youth" (25), "Apologia Pro Poemate Meo" (26)

Gurney: "The Silent One" (28), "To His Love" (29), "The Target" (29)

Sassoon: "A Working Party" (31), "They" (34), "The One-Legged Man" (34)

Also, if you missed class on Friday, be sure to see the Exam #2 assignment a few posts below this one. I've posted the recitation schedule below; if you haven't signed up yet, let me know a good time. 

Monday, March 27
11-12: Lyndsey 

1:30-2:30 Ben 

11-12: Tyler, Sam
1-2: Dylan

1:30-2:30: Roland

11-12: Courtney, Matt
1-2: Macey, Amanda

Monday, April 3
11-12: Joshua B, Bailey
1-2: Lauren M.

1:30-2:30: Joshua K.

11-12: Lauren J.


1-2:50: Lessa B

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

For Friday: World War One British Poets

Rosenberg: “Break of Day in the Trenches,” “Louse Hunting,” “Returning, We Hear the Larks,” “Dead Man’s Dump” (pp.13-17)

Owen: “Arms and the Boy,” “Greater Love,” “Insensibility,” “Dulce et Decorum Est” (18-22)

Only ONE question this time:

Q1: Choose one of the poems above, and pick a few important lines or metaphors to discuss. As we do in class, help us appreciate how the poem is saying what it says through it’s choice of language and syntax: why this word, why this image. Pick the parts of the poem that most interested, excited, confused, or disturbed you, and explain why it does this. You don’t have to discuss the entire poem, but discuss enough so that we can understand the poem in a new light (or explain how you learned to read it in a new light). 

Exam #2: British Poets of World War I

Instead of taking the traditional sit-down-and-write-a-bunch-of-long-essays exam, I am offering an alternative this time around (you’ll get another one of those soon enough!).

PART I: Recitation (60 pts.)

For the first part of your exam (the easy part!), I want you to memorize all or part of a poem from our book, World War One British Poets. To qualify, the poem must be at least ten lines long. You can choose any ten lines, or more than ten lines, so long as you recite at least ten lines. We’ll sign up for times to do this in my office, and you don’t have to get it 100% perfect, but are allowed 3 mistakes. As long as you make no more than 3, you’ll get full points for this part of the exam. More than that, and you’ll lose points.

HINT: Try to pick a poem you have a connection to—that created an image or emotion in your mind, and that is easy for you to read and think about. Read it out loud as you try to memorize it and hear the sounds and rhythms. It will help you remember!

PART II: Analysis (40 pts.)

After you recite your poem in my office, I’ll give you a series of questions (you will pick ONE) to respond to using your poem. This is a “close reading” response, meaning that you analyze your poem to provide your answer to the question. What is “close reading”? Basically, it’s what we often do in class—examining how individual words, syntax, metaphors, and sounds contribute to ideas and themes in a poem.

For example, if writing about “In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae, I might write:
“In the last stanza, the poet suddenly uses the word “ye” when he writes, “If we break faith with us who die/We shall not sleep” (12). This is important because “ye” is an archaic world, sounding Biblical or Shakespearean, which makes the reader hear this as an ancient law that cannot be broken, like one of the Ten Commandments. This makes the tone of the poem more serious and suggests that the soldiers have a heavy task before them; otherwise, the dead soldiers will never truly be laid to rest.”

NOTE: When writing about poetry, use slashes (/) to indicate line breaks, since this saves space in your paper (though you can transcribe them exactly as they appear, as long as you don’t do it simply to take up space!). Also, be sure to cite the page number the poem occurs on so I—or others—can find it.

DUE DATES: Recitation no later than Friday, April 7th; Analysis due a week later by April 14th.  

Monday, March 20, 2017

For Wednesday: WWI poems of Brooke, Sorley, and Thomas

For Wednesday: World War One British Poets
  • Brooke, “The Soldier” (1-3), “The Treasure” (4)
  • Sorley, “To Germany” (5-6), “When You See Millions of the Mouthless Dead” (6), “Route March” (6-7)
  • Thomas, “This Is No Case of Petty Right or Wrong” (8-9), “Adlestrop” (9), “Tears” (9-10), “The Owl” (10), “A Private” (10-11), “As the Team’s Head Brass” (11)
REMEMBER: don’t worry if you don’t understand the entire poem, and don’t look for the overall ‘message.’ Look instead at the metaphors or just consider the sounds of the poem itself. Ask yourself, ‘what does this poem want me to see or experience as I read it? Why look at a plot of ground as “England”? How does this change how I see the world?”

Answer TWO of the following:

Q1: Why does Brooke see the experience of war—not just dying, but the entire enterprise—as a spiritual endeavor? What meaning does it give to his life that he lacked before? What does he mean by lines such as, “Safe though all safety’s lost; safe where men fall;/And if these poor limbs die, safest of all”? (2).

Q2: In the letter quoted on page 5, Sorley criticizes Brooke’s attitude toward war by saying, “He has clothed his attitude with fine words: but he has taken the sentimental attitude.” How does one of his poems take the unsentimental attitude, then? How does he look at the realities of war without clothing them with fine words or romantic language? For him, what is the reality of war for the common soldier?

Q3: In Thomas’ poem, “This Is No Petty Case of Right or Wrong,” what does the narrator mean when he says, “Little I know or care if, being dull,/I shall miss something that historians/Can rake out of the ashes when perchance/The phoenix broods serene above their ken” (9)? Also, if this is how he feels about the war, what makes him  ultimately enlist as a soldier? What does he care about?

Q4: How is Sorley’s “Route March” a parody of most propagandistic poems, such as Kipling’s “For All We Have and Are” (63), and even Brooke’s “The Soldier”? What makes the poem satirical, and where do we hear echoes of these earlier poems?