In Context

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

APRIL is National Poetry Month

Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

Sources and Sample Activities:
This website from the Academy of American Poets includes information on the history of National Poetry Month.

2.) The 2009 poster features the lines "Do I dare/Disturb the universe?" from T.S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" at and in TextFlows format at

In honor of National Poetry Month, students are introduced to a variety of poetic forms. One (or more) student each day is assigned as "poet of the day" for the month of April. Students are provided with several models for creating different forms of poetry, such as Shape Poems, Acrostic Poems, Diamante Poems, or Instant Poetry Forms. Each student might select one form of poetry and write an original poem, which he or she may also illustrate. On their assigned days, students will read their poetry out loud to the class.

Is a Sentence a Poem?
Students are given (or directed online to) a picture and asked individually to describe the picture in one sentence of less than twenty words. Afterward, the class analyzes syntax, imagery, and meaning in a chosen one-sentence poem by a canonical author to decide what makes it a poem. Students return to their own descriptive sentence to decide whether it is, is not, or could be a poem, justifying their reasoning. This exercise encourages students to dissect an established poem while defining the characteristics of the genre of poetry. Students then apply their knowledge during reflection upon their own work.

*Excerpts accessed on March 31, 2009.

~English HSA Online Resources~

~English HSA Online Resources~

  • Maryland HSA Overview & History
  • Class of 2009--First Class Required to Pass Tests for Graduation
  • High School Testing Content & Data
  • High School Assessment Testing Calendar
  • Publicly Released Test Forms--2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005
  • Answer Keys & Scoring Rubrics
  • Online HSA Courses
  • Testing Options/Accommodations
  • Contact Information
~from The Tragedy of King Richard II (Act 3, Scene 3) (1623) by William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

Yet looks he like a king: behold, his eye,
As bright as is the eagle's, lightens forth
Controlling majesty: alack, alack, for woe,
That any harm should stain so fair a show!

~from Moby-Dick (Chapter 96: The Try-Works) (1851) by Herman Melville (1819-1891)

There is a wisdom that is woe; but there is a woe that is madness. And there is a Catskill eagle in some souls that can alike dive down into the blackest gorges, and soar out of them again and become invisible in the sunny spaces. And even if he forever flies within the gorge, that gorge is in the mountains; so that even in his lowest swoop the mountain eagle is still higher than other birds upon the plain, even though they soar.

~from Love's Phases (1899) by Paul Laurence Dunbar

Love hath the wings of the eagle bold,

Cling to him strongly
What if the look of the world be cold,
And life go wrongly?
Rest on his pinions, for broad is their fold;
Love hath the wings of the eagle bold.

~from What the Eagle Says (1999) by Xi Chuan (born Liu Jun, 1963)

Among men there are men who are not men, just like among eagles there are eagles that are not eagles: there are eagles that are forced to pace up and down the alleyways, and there are men who are forced to fly through the air.