Tag Archives: poetry

Gennady Nikolaevich Aigi

“Gennady Nikolaevich Aigi: (1934-2006) Chuvash poet and translator. Aigi published six collections of poetry in his native Chuvash language in the period 1958-1988, and several translations into Russian. Later, however, he was only able to publish poems in Russian abroad, in Stikhi, 1954-71 (Poems, 1975) and the two-volume Otmechannaia zima (The Naked Winter, 1982). Aigi worked on various translation projects from the mid-1960s until the early 1980s. His best-known anthologies of translations into Chuvash include works of the French poets (1968) and the poets of Hungary (1974). In 1992, an English-language edition of Chuvash poems selected by Aigi—An Anthology of Chuvash Poetry—appeared in the West. Since the onset of Perestroika, Aigi’s poetry in Russian has once again been officially published in Russia—Zdes (Here, 1991) and Teper vsegda snega (Now There Is Always Snow, 1991). Aigi writes in free verse and searches for new means of expression to embody his vision; he sees the world as broken apart and composed of isolated images, and his metaphors are often abstract. Because his work can be obscure, he sometimes provides his own commentary.”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

The Weekly Text, April 30, 2021: A Lesson Plan on the Relative Pronouns

This week’s Text is a lesson plan on the relative pronoun. I open this lesson with this Cultural Literacy worksheet on limericks; in the event that you extend the lesson into a second day, here is an Everyday Edit worksheet on Thurgood Marshall, the late civil rights jurist and Supreme Court Justice. (Incidentally, if your students respond favorably to that Everyday Edit–mine generally did–you will find that the good people at Education World give away a yearlong supply of them.) This scaffolded worksheet on relative pronouns is the principal work of this lesson. Finally, here is the teacher’s copy of the worksheet to ease delivering this lesson.

The relative pronouns in common use are who, whom, whose, what, which, that, and the –ever forms: whoever, whatever, whichever, and whomever, and they are what this lesson addresses. So, if you want your students to develop an understanding of using these words, I hope these documents abet that cause.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Book of Answers: Dante’s Inferno

“According to Dante’s Inferno (1321), who is at the bottom of hell? In the lowest circle of hell, the place for traitors, a three-faced Satan chews on three people: Brutus and Cassius, betrayers of Julius Caesar, and Judas Iscariot, betrayer of Jesus Christ.”

Excerpted from: Corey, Melinda, and George Ochoa. Literature: The New York Public Library Book of Answers. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993.

The Weekly Text, April 2, 2021: A Lesson Plan on the Crime and Puzzlement Case “Picture Gallery”

Since they continue as some of the most downloaded items on Mark’s Text Terminal, here is another case from the pages of the Crime and Puzzlement books, this one a lesson plan on the “Picture Gallery” whodunit.

I start this lesson with this Cultural Literacy worksheet on Dylan Thomas’s immortal lines, some of the best-known in the history of poetry, “Do not go gentle into that good night…Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” I don’t teach younger children, but I’ll hazard a guess that this do-now exercise may well be inappropriate for them. Needless to say, your call. To conduct your investigation into the larceny at the picture gallery, you’ll need this PDF of the illustrations and questions that constitute the forensic material in this crime. Finally, to determine whether your detectives used evidence judiciously to allege a crime and arrest a suspect, here is the typescript of the answer key.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Book of Answers: Emily Dickinson’s Publications in Her Lifetime

“How many of Emily Dickinson’s poems were published during her lifetime? Seven. She wrote over 1,500.”

Excerpted from: Corey, Melinda, and George Ochoa. Literature: The New York Public Library Book of Answers. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993.

Cultural Literacy: Emily Dickinson

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on Emily Dickinson. I’ve never seen her taught in the public schools in which I’ve served, which for a variety of reasons has always mystified me. 

For her poems, long out of copyright, are available at no charge to readers everywhere. And her work? It is commonly regarded as among the most original of all time. It may require some effort, but I do think it is possible to arouse interest in students in reading Emily Dickinson.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Cultural Literacy: Charlotte and Emily Bronte

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on Charlotte and Emily Bronte. Are the Brontes taught in high school?

If nothing else, this is an interesting artistic family: lesser-known sister Anne also a writer, perhaps because she originally published her novels under the name Acton Bell which may account for her public status among her more famous sister; she also died young, at 29, of tuberculosis. She was also the youngest of six children–in addition to the four siblings mentioned here, two elder sisters, Maria and Elizabeth, rounded out the family. Branwell Bronte, also a writer and an accomplished translator, was also a painter, for which he is primarily known. He too died young, the result of unhappiness and, apparently, drug addiction.

The patriarch of the family, Patrick Bronte (Branwell Bronte carried the full name Patrick Branwell Bronte, after his father and his mother’s–Maria Branwell–maiden name), was a clergyman of humble Irish origins.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Maud Gonne to William Butler Yeats

[Remark to William Butler Yeats]

“Poets should never marry. The world should thank me for not marrying you.”

Quoted in Margaret Ward, Maud Gonne: A Life (1990)

Excerpted from: Schapiro, Fred, ed. The Yale Book of Quotations. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006.

Cultural Literacy: Lizzie Borden

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on Lizzie Borden. If you are my age (or perhaps younger–do kids still recite this?), you might remember her from this piece of doggerel, recited on finer playgrounds during recess from the horrors of the elementary school classroom:

“Lizzie Borden took an axe
She gave her mother forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done
She gave her father forty-one.
Lizzie Borden got away
For her crime she did not pay.”

I wrote this worksheet for this year’s Women’s History Month 2021 which is under way now. So I’ve never used it in the classroom. But it’s a safe bet that it will be a high-interest item–especially if paired with a deeper examination of the facts of Lizzie Borden’s case, and the fact that one may, if one chooses, lodge at the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast/Museum while traveling through Fall River, Massachusetts.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Mina Loy

“Mina Loy: (Born Mina Gertrude Lowy; 1882-1966) English poet and painter. Daughter of a Hungarian Jewish father and English Protestant mother, her first avocation was art. During her years in Florence (1906-1916) she was immersed in Italian Futurism. Loy gradually disassociated herself from the movement as it became increasingly fascist; a number of early satires take aim at the ‘Futurist genius’ as an example of male suprematism. Her first published work appeared in Alfred Stieglitz’s magazine Camera Work and Carl Van Vechten’s Trend (1914). Her controversial work ‘Love Songs for Johannes’ were considered shocking for their frank expression of female sexuality. In New York, she met Arthur Cravan, an infamous Dadaist “poet-boxer.” Divorcing her first husband, she married Cravan in Mexico City, with whom she had one child. Cravan later disappeared in Mexico and was never found. Her first collection of poems, Lunar Baedeker, appeared in 1923, and she did not publish another one until 1958 (Lunar Baedeker and Time Tables). Her work is distinguished by a satiric and feminist sensibility, an unusual polysyllabic and abstract diction, alliteration, internal and slant rhymes, and a combination of the image with the with the epigram. Some of her poems convey rage at the injustices done to women, the poor, and the homeless. Late in life she became more and more reclusive. Her collected poems, The Last Lunar Baedeker, appeared in 1982.”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.