Dear Poetry Students:
We are slightly past the midway point of the semester and I want to commend you for your excellent weekly posts thus far. This week I will be providing comments on your first essay, which I’ll then ask you to revise.
By tomorrow (Tuesday), I will have posted mid-term grades which can be found in the OpenLab Gradebook on the right side of our site homepage (when you click on Check Your Grade, only your grades will be visible to you, when you are logged in).
The possible midterm grades are as follows: P (Passing), BL (Boderline), U (Unsatisfactory/Failing). The midterm grade does not get recorded on your transcript in any way; it is more just to let you know how you are doing in the class thus far. Every professor should be giving you a midterm grade by 10/30.
I am also giving you a grade for the collective work you’ve done so far on your posts. When you are finished with your first essay (subsequent to revising it), I will also add this grade.
THIS WEEK’S ASSIGNMENT
In celebration of Halloween, I want to introduce you to one of America’s most famous writers, best known for his horror stories and gothic poetry that have influenced writers into the present: Edgar Allan Poe.
Poe’s most famous work today (and the moment it was published in 1845) was “The Raven.” The poem relays the grief of a young man who has lost his beloved “Lenore” to a fatal sickness, who hopes she will nonetheless return to earth. But alas only a black raven shows up seemingly to mock him in his grief. Thus proceeds the questions and answers that structure the poem. The poem is a masterpiece in technical artistry. As you listen to it, note the way Poe creates a haunting setting and captures the deep grief of the poem’s persona. Think about his use of repetition, rhyme, and choice language to capture the rise and fall of the young spirits. This is clearly a poem to be both read AND heard.
Listen to the poem here: “The Raven”
Read the poem HERE
If you really want to have some Halloween fun, check out this link from our Poetry Magazine website: The short audio poems are particularly nice and scary!
As we continue our discussion of Political Poetry, I also want to introduce you to an important young Latinx poet: José Olivarez. For the next two weeks, we will be focusing on the concerns and aesthetics of writers with Spanish American roots. With the election next week, this is a particularly relevant topic, as the Latino vote is said to be exceptionally important in determining who will be our next President (did someone say Florida???).
- His biographical essay: “Maybe I Could Save Myself by Writing”
- His poem: Mexican American Disambiguation
- Here is Olivarez reading his great poem:
Post a response to “The Raven,” your favorite Halloween poem (from the site link), or to the essay or poem by Olivarez. Discuss a poetic element or idea that really struck you.