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Mrs. Cone 6th Grade Language Arts Hope Middle School

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1 Mrs. Cone 6th Grade Language Arts Hope Middle School
“Poetry is imaginary gardens with real toads in them” Marianne Moore's definition of poetry, "Poetry," Collected Poems, 1951 Mrs. Cone 6th Grade Language Arts Hope Middle School

2 Walt Whitman America's Poet
Background Info: Walt Whitman was born in He was one of 9 children living in New York. Whitman didn’t go to school, but taught himself. He read the Bible, Dante, Shakespeare, and Homer (all old and tough to read!). Whitman worked as a newspaper writer and publisher for part of his life. He lived in New Orleans for a while and saw the “viciousness” of the slave trade. During the Civil War he visited the wounded in a hospital and stayed to work there. Whitman was poor for most of his life, but spent what money he had supporting his family. Why we like him: Whitman’s poetry (at the time) was considered to be very controversial. He was fired when his boss found out who he was. Now his poems are loved and respected. The famous poet Ralph Waldo Emerson read and praised Whitman’s poetry even though it was thought to be edgy. America's Poet Source:

3 “O Captain! My Captain!” –Walt Whitman
O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done, The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won, The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting, While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring; But O heart! heart! heart! O the bleeding drops of red, Where on the deck my Captain lies, fallen cold and dead. O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells; Rise up- for you the flag is flung- for you the bugle trills, For you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths- for you the shores a-crowding, For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning; Here Captain! dear father! This arm beneath your head! It is some dream that on the deck, You've fallen cold and dead. My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still, My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will, The ship is anchor'd safe and sound, its voyage closed and done, From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won; Exult O shores, and ring O bells! But I with mournful tread, Walk the deck my Captain lies, Fallen cold and dead.

4 Emily Dickinson Why does she matter? Dickinson is one of the major poets in American history. She is known to many as the most famous American woman poet. Why do we like her? Dickinson is well known for writing poetry about both loneliness and happiness. Although her poetry is widely read now, her work was published after she died and her journals were discovered by her family. Interesting Facts: Emily Dickinson was born in Amherst, Massachusetts in 1830. She lived in seclusion, rarely leaving her home. She never married and communicated with friends primarily through written notes. Let’s Learn More! Source:

5 “Hope is the Thing with Feathers” Emily Dickinson
That perches in the soul, And sings the tune without the words, And never stops at all, And sweetest in the gale is heard; And sore must be the storm That could abash the little bird That kept so many warm. I've heard it in the chillest land, And on the strangest sea; Yet, never, in extremity, It asked a crumb of me.

6 Paul Lawrence Dunbar Background Info: Dunbar was born on June 27, 1872 in Ohio. His mother was a former slave and his father had escaped from slavery and served in the 55th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment and the 5th Massachusetts Colored Cavalry Regiment during the Civil War. The family was poor, and after his father left, Dunbar’s mother supported her children by working in Dayton as a washerwoman. Though the Dunbar family had little material wealth, Matilda, always a great support to Dunbar as his literary stature grew, taught her children a love of songs and storytelling. Having heard poems read by the family she worked for when she was a slave, Matilda loved poetry and encouraged her children to read. Dunbar was inspired by his mother, and he began reciting and writing poetry as early as age 6. Dunbar was the only African-American in his class at Dayton Central High, and while he often had difficulty finding employment because of his race, he rose to great heights in school. Why we like him: Dunbar is the first African American poet to receive national critical acclaim. His poems address how difficult it was to be an African American in America Source:

7 Legacy of Language: NPR
Dunbar's Influence on Other Artists William Grant Still is a composer who was inspired by Dunbar’s words to create “Afro-American Orchestra” which features some of Dunbar’s poetry within it!

8 “Sympathy” Paul Laurence Dunbar
I know what the caged bird feels, alas!    When the sun is bright on the upland slopes; When the wind stirs soft through the springing grass, And the river flows like a stream of glass;    When the first bird sings and the first bud opens, And the faint perfume from its chalice steals-- I know what the caged bird feels! I know why the caged bird beats its wing    Till its blood is red on the cruel bars; For he must fly back to his perch and cling When he fain would be on the bough a-swing;    And a pain still throbs in the old, old scars And they pulse again with a keener sting-- I know why he beats his wing! I know why the caged bird sings, ah me,    When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore,-- When he beats his bars and he would be free; It is not a carol of joy or glee,    But a prayer that he sends from his heart's deep core, But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings-- I know why the caged bird sings.

9 Robert Frost Robert Frost Current Event
Background Info: Robert Frost is considered one of the greatest American Poets to have ever lived. (So, he’s pretty important!) He was born in San Fransisco in 1874 but lived much of his life in New England. When you think of Robert Frost, think “New Engalnd.” He attended both Dartmouth and Harvard (very famous colleges), but never earned a degree. Frost wrote poetry his entire life and became famous. Before he died in 1963, Frost had won many awards. Even President Kennedy said of him, "He has bequeathed his nation a body of imperishable verse from which Americans will forever gain joy and understanding." Why we like him: Robert Frost is well known for his use of common words in a musical way. He writes with common language, but it sounds beautiful. Often his poems are vague, leaving the reader with multiple ways of interpreting the poem. Robert Frost seemed to enjoy as critics tried to figure out what he “really meant.” We love a writer with a sense of humor!

10 The Road Not Taken Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim, Because it was grassy and wanted wear; Though as for that the passing there Had worn them really about the same, And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back. I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I– I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. The Road Not Taken Audio

11 Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening Robert Frost
Whose woods these are I think I know. His house is in the village, though; He will not see me stopping here To watch his woods fill up with snow. My little horse must think it queer To stop without a farmhouse near Between the woods and frozen lake The darkest evening of the year. He gives his harness bells a shake To ask if there is some mistake. The only other sound's the sweep Of easy wind and downy flake. The woods are lovely, dark, and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep. Stopping by Woods audio

12 Langston Hughes inspiring others
Background Info: Langston Hughes was born in He was Raised by his grandmother until he was 13. Then, he moved to Illinois with his mother. It was at 13 that Hughes began writing poetry. He had many jobs as a teen, including working on a ship that took him to Africa and England. He eventually moved to Washington, DC and published his first book at the age of 22. He was noticed soon after by Critics and became well known for his writing. His influences were Walt Whitman, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and Carl Sandburg. Why We LOOOOOVE him: Hughes wrote during the “Harlem Renaissance.” Just like the Renaissance in England was a time of rebirth for art, the Harlem Renaissance was a time in American History (during the 1920s) when there was a rebirth of African American art. The Harlem Renaissance brought us Jazz, great poetry, and new ways of thinking. Hughes was one of those poets who challenged the way people thought about African Americans. We love his use of rhythm! (You can almost dance to his poetry) Source:

13 Dreams Langston Hughes
Hold fast to dreams For if dreams die Life is a broken-winged bird That cannot fly. For when dreams go Life is a barren field Frozen with snow.

14 Dream Deferred Langston Hughes
What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up Like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore– And then run? Does it stink like rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over– like a syrupy sweet? Maybe it just sags like a heavy load. Or does it explode?

15 Gwendolyn Brooks Background Info: “Gwendolyn was born in Topeka, Kansas on June 7, 1917, the granddaughter of a runaway slave, and grew up in the slums of Chicago. Her parents were David Anderson Brooks, a janitor, and Keziah Corinne Brooks, formerly an elementary schoolteacher.” Gwendolyn grew up poor. She loved to read, but was an average student. She began writing after she took a workshop about writing poetry. She was married and slowly became a well-known poet. She has won many awards for her writing. Why we like her: Gwendolyn Brooks is described as an “objective” poet. She writes about what she sees and doesn’t say what is right and wrong. She used to sit by her window and write about the people she saw walking by. Her favorite subject is writing about the lives of different African American people- “their joys and their sorrows.” Source:

16 “We Real Cool” "We Real Cool" audio NPR conversation
THE POOL PLAYERS. SEVEN AT THE GOLDEN SHOVEL. We real cool. We Left school. We Lurk late. We Strike straight. We Sing sin. We Thin gin. We Jazz June. We Die soon.

17 Maya Angelou (One of my favorites!)
NPR interview Background Info: Maya Angelou was born in St. Louis in 1928, but grew up in Arkansas during segregation. Her life is filled with tragedy, but she writes about overcoming those hard times and growing stronger. Her life is filled with accomplishments: she worked with Martin Luther King, Jr. as a civil rights activist, she was the first female African American director in Hollywood, she has lived all over the world and has fought in many different ways for peace and equality for all people. She has written both poetry and books. Why we ADORE her: “Dr. Maya Angelou is a remarkable Renaissance woman who is hailed as one of the great voices of contemporary literature.  As a poet, educator, historian, best-selling author, actress, playwright, civil-rights  activist, producer and director, she continues to travel the world, spreading her legendary wisdom.  Within the rhythm of her poetry and elegance of her prose lies Angelou's unique power to help readers of every orientation span the lines of race and Angelou captivates audiences through the vigor and sheer beauty of her words and lyrics.” –Angelou Website

18 Still I Rise Author's Perspective The Power of Words

19 Still I Rise (excerpts) Maya Angelou
You may write me down in history With your bitter, twisted lies, You may trod me in the very dirt But still, like dust, I'll rise. Does my sassiness upset you? Why are you beset with gloom? 'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells Pumping in my living room. Just like moons and like suns, With the certainty of tides, Just like hopes springing high, Still I'll rise. Did you want to see me broken? Bowed head and lowered eyes? Shoulders falling down like teardrops, Weakened by my soulful cries? Does my haughtiness offend you? Don't you take it awful hard 'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines Diggin' in my own backyard. Still I Rise (excerpts) Maya Angelou You may shoot me with your words, You may cut me with your eyes, You may kill me with your hatefulness, But still, like air, I'll rise. Out of the huts of history's shameI rise Up from a past that's rooted in pain I rise I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide, Welling and swelling I bear in the tide. Leaving behind nights of terror and fear I rise Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave. I rise.

20 Billy Collins Interview
Billy Collins was born in New York City in He is the author of several books of poetry. His poems are humorous because of Collins’ dry, witty sense of humor. His monotone voice adds to the humor as he reads his poems that are often musings on simple, ordinary things in unexpected ways. I hope you enjoy him as much as I do! Collins was poet laureate for the US in He was New York’s poet in 1992. Billy Collins Interview

21 Litany You are the bread and the knife,
The crystal goblet and the wine... —Jacques Crickillon the crystal goblet and the wine. You are the dew on the morning grass and the burning wheel of the sun. You are the white apron of the baker, and the marsh birds suddenly in flight. However, you are not the wind in the orchard, the plums on the counter, or the house of cards. And you are certainly not the pine-scented air. There is just no way that you are the pine-scented air. It is possible that you are the fish under the bridge, maybe even the pigeon on the general's head, but you are not even close to being the field of cornflowers at dusk. Litany

22 And a quick look in the mirror will show
that you are neither the boots in the corner nor the boat asleep in its boathouse. It might interest you to know, speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world, that I am the sound of rain on the roof. I also happen to be the shooting star, the evening paper blowing down an alley and the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table. I am also the moon in the trees and the blind woman's tea cup. But don't worry, I'm not the bread and the knife. You are still the bread and the knife. You will always be the bread and the knife, not to mention the crystal goblet and—somehow—the wine.

23 Robert and Emily Barrett Browning
Background Info: These two poets are famous separately, but their love story ties them together. Emily Barrett was a well known poet before meeting Robert Browning. She grew up in a wealthy family, but was sickly through her youth. Her father kept her secluded for her health. Robert Browning (who was younger than her) originally came to Emily Barrett for discussions about poetry. Soon, the two fell in love. They kept their feelings secret because they knew Mr. Barrett would not approve. Finally, the two ran away together and eloped. On their honeymoon, Elizabeth presented her husband with a book of love poems which he had published after her death because he felt they were too beautiful to keep from the word. The book, “Songs of the Portuguese” has some of the most famous love poetry today. You would probably recognize more than one poem. Why we love them: Other than their mushy love story, we also love their poetry! Robert Browning is famous for his ability to “put the microphone” to a subject and let them speak in his dramatic monologues.

24 “How Do I Love Thee?” Elizabeth Barrett Browning
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight For the ends of Being and ideal Grace. I love thee to the level of everyday's Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light. I love thee freely, as men strive for Right; I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise. I love thee with a passion put to use In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith. I love thee with a love I seemed to lose With my lost saints, --- I love thee with the breath, Smiles, tears, of all my life! --- and, if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death.

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