Unit 7 – Poetry: The Spontaneous Overflow of Powerful Feeling


Unit 7 Introduction and Teacher Notes

Send questions, comments, or corrections to amity.conkright@leusd.k12.ca.us

Essential Question for Unit 7: What is poetry? What makes some poems unforgettable? Why is poetry important?
Enduring Understandings: The famous poet William Wordsworth said “Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings;” the equally famous poet Robert Frost wrote “Poetry is a way of taking life by the throat.” While there is more than one definition for poetry, there is a general consensus that poetry is a powerful and meaningful way to communicate. Some poems are unforgettable because the author effectively utilizes poetic structure, form, elements, and sound devices to share their message in a unique way that resonates with audiences all over the world, and throughout time.
Notes to teacher: Items in red are for ELL/SPED or struggling students. Items highlighted in yellow are intended primarily for accelerated learners.

Unit Goals:

Text Analysis
•Recognize characteristics of a variety of forms of poetry, including lyric poetry, elegy, concrete poetry, ode, ballad, dramatic monologue, sonnet, and free verse
•Analyze imagery
•Analyze diction and the impact of word choices on meaning and tone
•Analyze structure and form, including line and stanza
•Analyze figurative language, including metaphor, simile, and personification
•Analyze sound devices, including repetition, alliteration, assonance, onomatopoeia, rhyme, rhythm, and meter
•Utilize reading strategies, including visualizing and connecting
•Make inferences and cite evidence
•Determine a main idea or theme
•Synthesize ideas from multiple sources
•Analyze how characters, including a poem’s speaker, develop and interact
Writing and Language
•Write an analysis of a poem
•Write a concrete poem
•Support key ideas with details and quotations
•Use descriptive language effectively; write concisely
•Use participles and participial phrases to add interest to writing
•Use infinitives and infinitive phrases to add interest to writing
Speaking and Listening
•Present a literary analysis
Key Ideas to Teach: Poetry forms including lyric poetry, elegy, ballad, dramatic monologue, ode, sonnet, and free verse; poetic elements and sound devices, imagery, and figurative language


Not in a Silver Casket… by Edna St. Vincent Millay
I Am Offering This Poem by Jimmy Santiago Baca
My Papa’s Waltz by Theodore Roethke
I Ask My Mother to Sing by Li-Young Lee
Grape Sherbet by Rita Dove
Spring is like a perhaps hand by E.E. Cummings
Elegy for the Giant Tortoises by Margaret Atwood
Today by Billy Collins
400-Meter Free Style by Maxine Kumin
Boldybuilders’ Contest by Wislawa Szymborska
For Poets by Al Young
Ode to My Socks by Pablo Neruda
egg horror poem by Laurel Winter
O What Is That Sound by W.H. Auden
The Seven Ages of Man by William Shakespeare
The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost


U.S. Poet Laureates: Getting the Word Out – Magazine Article
The Night Poetry Rocked the House – Magazine Article

Technology & Media:

Audio: Pretty Words by Elinor Wylie @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=toHgLiqDibk
Audio: Fire and Ice by Robert Frost @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPDRxSONu7c
Audio: The Bells by Edgar Allen Poe @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qd6DoU88TSE
Audio: miss rosie by Lucille Clifton (start at 1:56) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VuUo9Y598Vw
Audio: My Papa’s Waltz by Theodore Roethke @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bs8uO5nPgY4
Audio: I Ask My Mother to Sing by Li-Young Lee @ http://www.illinois.gov/poetlaureate/Documents/Lee_Sing.mp3
Audio: Grape Sherbet by Rita Dove @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNyT3ouLpWE
Audio: I Am Offering You This Poem by Jimmy Santiago Baca @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sm7U9BtPXXM&feature=kp
Audio: Spring is like a perhaps hand By E.E. Cummings http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZpdYB8HQ7A
Audio: Elegy for the Giant Tortoises Poem by Margaret Atwood @http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IeKrB5i2cH4
Audio: Today Poem by Billy Collins @ http://www.openculture.com/2011/04/billy_collins_poetry_brought_to_animated_life.html
Audio: Examples of student poetry slams: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=isLtc5lFgf8 & http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8eym-7jeo0Ode to My Socks Poem by Pablo Neruda @http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1GOkypeafdM
Audio: For Poets Interview with poet Al Young @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6FbyDZjpXM
Audio: egg horror poem by Laurel Winter@ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zwD0hJO4SYU
Audio: What kind of times are these by Adrienne Rich @ http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/pe11.rla.genre.poetry.richtimes/what-kind-of-times-are-these-by-adrienne-rich/
Audio: O What is That Sound by W.H. Auden @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=my1LRyiUEBI
Audio: The Seven Ages of Man by William Shakespeare @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcpZ8ubrsfc
Audio: The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hwUrBgZeUA

Major Writing Task:

Analysis of a Poem

Major Speaking Task:

Presenting a Literary Analysis

Introductory Activities:

Introduction Activities
Common Core Standards Addressed

Reading Literature (RL)

RL.1 Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text

RL.3 Analyze how characters interact and advance the plot.

RL.4 Determine the figurative meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone.

RL.10 Read and comprehend poems.

Reading for Information (RI)

RI.2 Determine a central/main idea of a text and analyze its development, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by details.

RI. 4 Determine the connotative meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text.


L.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing.

L.1b Use various types of phrases to convey specific meanings and add variety and interest to writing.

L.2c Spell Correctly

L.4 Determine or clarify the meaning of multiple meaning words

L.4c Consult reference materials to determine or clarify a word’s etymology.

L.5 Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings


W.1a-b Introduce precise claims, supplying evidence for each.

W.2a-f Write informative/explanatory texts to examine complex ideas through the effective, selection, organization, and analysis of content.

W.4 Produce clear and coherent writing.

W.5 Strengthen writing as needed by revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience; Develop and strengthen writing by revising and editing to ensure that it demonstrates the conventions of standard English grammar, usage, and spelling

W.9a Cite textual evidence; analyze the impact of specific words choices on meaning and tone

W.10 Write Routinely over shorter time frames for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences

Speaking and Listening

SL.4 Presents information clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning.

SL.6 Adapt speech to a variety of context and task.

Lessons and Learning Experiences

3 Poems To Analyze

3 poems pic

Teacher Notes

Essential Questions: What is your most vivid memory? How can you best share it with others?

Found in textbook on page 613

My Papa’s Waltz by Theodore Roethke

I Ask My Mother To Sing by Li-young LeeListen to the poem @ http://www.illinois.gov/poetlaureate/Documents/Lee_Sing.mp3

Grape Sherbet by Rita DoveListen to the Poem @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNyT3ouLpWE

Two Poems To Analyze

two poems pic

 Teacher Notes

Essential Questions: What makes a terrific competitor? What makes a champion, a champion?

400 – Meter Free StylePoem by Maxine KuminPoem found online @ http://teacherweb.com/PA/DallasMiddleSchool/MrsRazavi/400-Meter-Free-Style.pdf

Bodybuilder’s Contest by Wilslawa SzymborskaPoem found online @ http://www.mrhoyesibwebsite.com/Poetry%20Texts/Szymborska/The%20Poems/Bodybuilders%20Contest.htm

Examples of student poetry slams:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=isLtc5lFgf8http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8eym-7jeo0

3 More Poems To Analyze

fancy pic

Teacher Notes

Essential Questions: What is the benefit of thinking out of the box? Are you an innovative thinker?

Spring is like a perhaps hand By E.E. Cummings

or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4BPaXcjlGwk

Today Poem by Billy Collins

Billy Collins Poetry brought to animated life@ http://www.openculture.com/2011/04/billy_collins_poetry_brought_to_animated_life.html

Learning Experiences

3 More Poems to Analyze

3 Additional Poems To Analyze

3 Additional Pic

Teacher Notes

Essential Questions: What stimulates your imagination? Why is imagination important?

For Poets by Al Young

Interview with the poet: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6FbyDZjpXM

Ode to My Socks by Pablo Neruda

Online reading @http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1GOkypeafdMhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSrxZuR8c2I

Egg Horror Poem by Laurel Winter

Online reading @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zwD0hJO4SYU

Oh What Is That Sound

oh what is that sound pic

Teacher Notes

Essential QuestionsHow can a poem reflect the realities of an era? How can poetry help to capture and preserve history?

Audio version of the poem available @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=my1LRyiUEBI

Post Reading Prezi (great tool to help analyze the poem) @ http://prezi.com/x7ih1frlq_jv/o-what-is-that-sound-by-wh-auden/

What Kind of Times Are These Audio Reading @ http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/pe11.rla.genre.poetry.richtimes/what-kind-of-times-are-these-by-adrienne-rich/

Two Poems To Analyze

last poems pic

Teacher Notes

Essential Questions: If life is a journey, then who’s in control? Do we control our own destinies?

The Seven Ages of Man by William Shakespeare

Audio Reading with Text@ : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcpZ8ubrsfc

The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

Audio Reading with Text @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hwUrBgZeUA