Week 11: Modernism in Poetry

Modernist Art Sells For Millions

Robert Frost




Formal Assignment #1: Personal Poetry Collection (with reflections)

Assemble your selected poems and edited posts into a single file.

Title: “YOURLASTNAMEPoetryCollection”

Upload a draft of this assignment to our GoogleDrive by this week.


  1. Robin Williams in Dead Poet’s Society (students recite Walt Whitman’s “O Captain! My Captain”)

2. An Introduction to Modernism


4. Modernist Journals Project

5. HOMEWORK: Post a 1-2 paragraph response to a poem by a Modern Poet or a Modern Magazine that interests you. Feel free to choose a poet from the Harlem Renaissance or from elsewhere on the Poetry Foundation Site. This will be due in two weeks (Tues. 11/23). Eventually this will become Assignment #2.


Consider attending “The Soho Memory Project” discussion (Tues. 11/16 1-2 pm)

A discussion on Zoom of the SoHo Memory Project Documentary with City Tech Professor Josh Kapusinski (COMD, Moving Pixels Club), Jonathan Baez (City Tech alum and cinematographer), and Or Szyflingier (alum and director).

Consider reviewing the accompanying article and video:

I will offer extra credit for attending this event.


Preserving and Telling a New York Story (Tues., Nov 16 1-2pm)https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87040228416?pwd=UnNHMzRSSU1IQzVhZXoxWkZHZUg3UT09

Meeting ID: 870 4022 8416

Passcode: 175967

One tap mobile+16465588656,,87040228416#,,,,*175967# US (New York)+13017158592,,87040228416#,,,,*175967# US (Washington DC) Dial by your location        +1 646 558 8656 US (New York)


Formal Assignment #1: Personal Poetry Collection (with reflections)

Assemble your selected poems and edited posts into a single file.

Title: “YOURLASTNAMEPoetryCollection”

Upload a draft of this assignment to our GoogleDrive by Tues., Nov. 9


  1. Edward Hirsch’s “How to Read a Poem” (Comment on One Section)
  2. Your response to a selection from Robert Pinsky’s “Favorite Poem Project”
  3. Mad-Lib Metaphor Poem
  4. Response to a Shakespearian Sonnet (include the poem)
  5. Response to a “Romantic” Poem (include the poem)
  6. Response to a poem or selection from Walt Whitman
  7. Response to a poem by Emily Dickinson (include poem)
  8. Response to a poem by Edgar Allan Poe
  9. Substitute one of the above with a response to a poem by Phyliss Wheatley, Rumi, and/or Arooj Aftab


For a review of poetic devices see: Elements of Poetry 

Here are the readings:

Edward Hirsch’s â€śHow to Read a Poem”  (in 16 brief sections)

Robert Pinsky’s Favorite Poem Project 

“Learning About Figurative Language” (for “Metaphor Mad-Lib” poem) 

Shakespeare 101

The Romantic Poets

Declaration of Independence

Phyliss Wheatley

Walt Whitman

Emily Dickinson

Edgar Allan Poe

Documentary: â€śIn Search of Walt Whitman”


  1. Namkha T Oedzer


    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?

    This poem can be interpreted in many ways but the primary interpretation is, in my perspective, based off the last line, “or does it explode”. The author gives us various possibilities of what may happen to a deferred dream or a dream that is put off. It is in relation to the freedom that was held back from most of the people of America at that time and what the possibilities of such an act of holding back can result in.
    maybe it will die down and become one of those seldom discussed topics in history, or, maybe it will explode. maybe it will mean everything to the future of the country.

  2. brenda almonte

    “Harlem Shadows” by Claude McKay, focuses on the harsh lives of Black sex workers in Harlem during the 1920s. These women work through the night, with little opportunity to rest their feet. The poet creates a dismal image of this job as well as a compassionate one of the ladies who are forced to work in this manner. In the poem, the speaker refers to the sex workers as “girls,” and she also remarks on how little and sensitive they seem. Though some of these girls are undoubtedly youthful, the speaker isn’t always talking about their age. The speaker is also emphasizing how society has created many women absolutely helpless and disempowered—basically, like toddlers at the whim of a “stern brutal world.”

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