Learning Targets — I can…
Parts I & II:
- Identify and explain figurative language, tone, persona, and other literary or poetic devices in the poem.
- Closely read and analyze (identify and explain) the purpose and meaning of a poem in its historical context; in other words, apply what we’re learning in History to the poem.
- Use and cite specific words and lines from the poem to support my ideas.
- Accurately and creatively portray the history of World War I in my poem; readers can experience World War I in my poem.
- Create imagery by using vivid and strong words; my word choices are varied, powerful, and precise.
- Enhance the meaning and impact of my poem with powerful visual elements, such as backgrounds, images, font choices, colors, etc.
Reading the War:
On the “WWI in Poetry” page, read the poems and check out the related videos and links.
- “GRASS” BY CARL SANDBURG
- “IRON” BY CARL SANDBURG
- “I HAVE A RENDEZVOUS WITH DEATH” BY ALAN SEEGER
- “MEMORIAL DAY” BY JOYCE KILMER
- “IN FLANDERS FIELDS” BY JOHN MCCRAE (CANADIAN)
- “DULCE ET DECORUM EST” BY WILFRED OWEN (ENGLISH)
- “BREAK OF DAY IN THE TRENCHES” BY ISAAC ROSENBERG (ENGLISH)
I> First, by yourself, directly on your poetry handouts, annotate the poems, looking for…
- Figurative Language — What imagery, allusions, metaphors, personification, and other literary terms and devices do you see? (See Poetry Terms slides or ask questions if you need a reminder on what these are.)
- Signposts (On the Reading page!) — What comes up again and again in a poem; what are the words of the wiser of the poem; what memory moments, aha moments, or contrasts and contradictions do you see; any word gaps for you?
- Meaning — What do you make of the poem; what does it say to you; what do you take away from it?
- Power Lines — What stops you in your tracks? What hits you in the heart and the head? What stands out and captures your attention? What appeals to you?
II> Second, after you’ve had a chance to read and think about the poems on your own, join up with one or two partners (no more than groups of three!). Share your thoughts on the poems with one another and add to your annotations. Note: If you are not in class to work with a partner, then discuss the poems and add to your annotations with a classmate or friend outside of class.
Writing the War:
III> Third, compose your own original World War I poem. Use everything you’ve learned about life in the trenches and on the homefront to see through their eyes and place yourself in the era of World War I. Put to use all of the resources on my Mr. Taft’s websites and all of your notes!
Write a poem from whatever World War I perspective you choose, but capture the era in your best poetic voice, figurative language, descriptive language, and imagery. Consider the poems you’ve read as models.
Write about 20 to 30 lines of poetry, either all as one longer poem or a series of shorter poems. Of course, you’re welcome to write in free verse, create a rhyme scheme, compose a specific type of poem… whatever best captures the perspective you want to explore.
Give your poem a meaningful title. Submit your work on GoogleClassroom – GoogleDocs or PDFs only.
As we have done with other poetry we’ve written this year, create an 8.5×11” (regular paper size) poster for your poem. If you compose more than one poem, you can create a poster for just one of them.
Refer to the learning targets above. Utilize your poetry notes throughout this project.
Primary Sources to Inspire Your Poetry:
- WWI at the Library of Congress
- WWI at EyeWitnessToHistory.com
- Letters from the First World War at National Archives — These letters make for amazing reading; you might even consider a found poetry project from these letters!
- Gas Attack, 1916
- 1917, Soldier recounts brush with poison gas
- Gas Warfare in WWI