Thursday, October 31, 2013

Nov. 1st Friday Read...

Read through page 101. 

Create titles for chapters 7-8

In the meantime, listen carefully to labels people use to describe the mentally ill as well as deragotory terms for gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, etc. 

Be prepared for Test on Monday!

There will be: 

- character ID - match to quotes 

- passage analysis - annotate 

- short essay 

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Homework for Friday...

Homework is to get a jump start on your research project due Monday.

Maybe share some info via email or a google doc...

You will be in the library computer lab Friday. You have the technology to collaborate from afar. 

You should have received an email invite to your edublog:

Be sure to log in and change your password. See respective edublog above for details. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

A Busy Week! Homework for the weekend:

For Monday, please read through Chapter 4 - for most of you that is pages 3-41. Some of you have fallen behind already on the reading. You need to catch up and keep pace.

Therefore, get a jump start...

For Tuesday, you will need to READ through Chapter 5 - pages 42-75.
(We will read some in class on Monday.)

If you missed class, be sure that you are adding new names to your character list that you have started in your notebook.

Be sure you know ALL the characters - as well as significant details, physical descriptions, Acute or Chronic, etc.

We will have a Who's Who? Quiz on the characters and key vocabulary next week.
Be sure to annotate.

FYI - These are the links we watched in class:

Ken Kesey’s First LSD Trip Animated

Plus the trailer to the story about Ken Kesey's Magic Trip

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Ode to Poetry

Homework for long weekend:

READ One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Pages 3-14 (First two chapters - which are un-numbered and un-named).

The Lanyard - Billy Collins

The other day I was ricocheting slowly
off the blue walls of this room,
moving as if underwater from typewriter to piano,
from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,
when I found myself in the L section of the dictionary
where my eyes fell upon the word lanyard.
No cookie nibbled by a French novelist
could send one into the past more suddenly—
a past where I sat at a workbench at a camp
by a deep Adirondack lake
learning how to braid long thin plastic strips
into a lanyard, a gift for my mother.
I had never seen anyone use a lanyard
or wear one, if that’s what you did with them,
but that did not keep me from crossing
strand over strand again and again
until I had made a boxy
red and white lanyard for my mother.
She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
and I gave her a lanyard.
She nursed me in many a sick room,
lifted spoons of medicine to my lips,
laid cold face-cloths on my forehead,
and then led me out into the airy light
and taught me to walk and swim,
and I, in turn, presented her with a lanyard.
Here are thousands of meals, she said,
and here is clothing and a good education.
And here is your lanyard, I replied,
which I made with a little help from a counselor.
Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
strong legs, bones and teeth,
and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered,
and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp.
And here, I wish to say to her now,
is a smaller gift—not the worn truth
that you can never repay your mother,
but the rueful admission that when she took
the two-tone lanyard from my hand,
I was as sure as a boy could be
that this useless, worthless thing I wove
out of boredom would be enough to make us even.

I once taught a senior elective entitled: Why Poetry Matters - check out the blog.

My goal is to demystify and to inspire a passion for poetry.

No matter what you do when you grow up...
May poetry always offer solace
and a respite from your day to day challenges.
May it bring back awareness to what is real,
to what is important, to what is ephemeral,
to what is love, to what is life.

Ode to Students

Please give poetry
A chance. Like a toddler
That is learning to walk,
We hover holding your hand.

Forgive the mess we make
Of poems, annotating and analyzing.
In biology, and English class,
a frog that once kissed a princess
Lies dissected and desecrated.

Please forgive us
In the way we teach poetry
And talk at you.  Let’s let
The poetry speak to you. 

Ode to a Nightingale

My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
         My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains
         One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk:
'Tis not through envy of thy happy lot,
         But being too happy in thine happiness,—
                That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees
                        In some melodious plot
         Of beechen green, and shadows numberless,
                Singest of summer in full-throated ease.

O, for a draught of vintage! that hath been
         Cool'd a long age in the deep-delved earth,
Tasting of Flora and the country green,
         Dance, and Provençal song, and sunburnt mirth!
O for a beaker full of the warm South,
         Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene,
                With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,
                        And purple-stained mouth;
         That I might drink, and leave the world unseen,
                And with thee fade away into the forest dim:

Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget
         What thou among the leaves hast never known,
The weariness, the fever, and the fret
         Here, where men sit and hear each other groan;
Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last gray hairs,
         Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies;
                Where but to think is to be full of sorrow
                        And leaden-eyed despairs,
         Where Beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes,
                Or new Love pine at them beyond to-morrow.

Away! away! for I will fly to thee,
         Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards,
But on the viewless wings of Poesy,
         Though the dull brain perplexes and retards:
Already with thee! tender is the night,
         And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne,
                Cluster'd around by all her starry Fays;
                        But here there is no light,
         Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown
                Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways.

I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,
         Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs,
But, in embalmed darkness, guess each sweet
         Wherewith the seasonable month endows
The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild;
         White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine;
                Fast fading violets cover'd up in leaves;
                        And mid-May's eldest child,
         The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine,
                The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves.

Darkling I listen; and, for many a time
         I have been half in love with easeful Death,
Call'd him soft names in many a mused rhyme,
         To take into the air my quiet breath;
                Now more than ever seems it rich to die,
         To cease upon the midnight with no pain,
                While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad
                        In such an ecstasy!
         Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain—
                   To thy high requiem become a sod.

Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!
         No hungry generations tread thee down;
The voice I hear this passing night was heard
         In ancient days by emperor and clown:
Perhaps the self-same song that found a path
         Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home,
                She stood in tears amid the alien corn;
                        The same that oft-times hath
         Charm'd magic casements, opening on the foam
                Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.

Forlorn! the very word is like a bell
         To toll me back from thee to my sole self!
Adieu! the fancy cannot cheat so well
         As she is fam'd to do, deceiving elf.
Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades
         Past the near meadows, over the still stream,
                Up the hill-side; and now 'tis buried deep
                        In the next valley-glades:
         Was it a vision, or a waking dream?
                Fled is that music:—Do I wake or sleep?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Ode to Fallbreak...

Homework: Write a three stanza "Ode to..." anything!

(Minimum 4 lines per stanza - thus 3x4 =12 lines)

Please type and print your Ode.

It need not rhyme.

Consider juxtaposing imagery.

Be mindful of enjambment.

Use figurative language.

Consider diction and the sounds of words - alliteration, assonance, and consonance.

See more examples of Odes below.
Feel free to Google Odes for more inspiration.

"Introduction to Poetry
I ask them to take a poem   
and hold it up to the light   
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem   
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem’s room   
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski   
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author’s name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope   
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose   
to find out what it really means.

What is an Ode?

Can you write an Ode?

Ode to Socks
by Pablo Neruda

Mara Mori brought me
a pair of socks
which she knitted herself
with her sheepherder's hands,
two socks as soft as rabbits.
I slipped my feet into them
as if they were two cases
knitted with threads of twilight and goatskin,
Violent socks,
my feet were two fish made of wool,
two long sharks
sea blue, shot through
by one golden thread,
two immense blackbirds,
two cannons,
my feet were honored in this way
by these heavenly socks.
They were so handsome for the first time
my feet seemed to me unacceptable
like two decrepit firemen,
firemen unworthy of that woven fire,
of those glowing socks.

Nevertheless, I resisted the sharp temptation
to save them somewhere as schoolboys
keep fireflies,
as learned men collect
sacred texts,
I resisted the mad impulse to put them
in a golden cage and each day give them
birdseed and pieces of pink melon.
Like explorers in the jungle
who hand over the very rare green deer
to the spit and eat it with remorse,
I stretched out my feet and pulled on
the magnificent socks and then my shoes.

The moral of my ode is this:
beauty is twice beauty
and what is good is doubly good
when it is a matter of two socks
made of wool in winter. 

More examples of Odes

Tips for writing an Ode Poem

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Poetry by Carver, Walker, and Updike


Please read and enjoy the following poems:


by Raymond Carver

Left off the highway and
down the hill. At the
bottom, hang another left.
Keep bearing left. The road
will make a Y. Left again.
There's a creek on the left.
Keep going. Just before
the road ends, there'll be
another road. Take it
and no other. Otherwise,
your life will be ruined
forever. There's a log house
with a shake roof, on the left.
It's not that house. It's
the next house, just over
a rise. The house
where trees are laden with
fruit. Where phlox, forsythia,
and marigold grow. It's
the house where the woman
stands in the doorway
wearing the sun in her hair. The one
who's been waiting
all this time.
The woman who loves you.
The one who can say,
"What's kept you?"


By Raymond Carver

So early it's still almost dark out.
I'm near the window with coffee,
and the usual early morning stuff
that passes for thought.
When I see the boy and his friend
walking up the road
to deliver the newspaper.
They wear caps and sweaters,
and one boy has a bag over his shoulder.
They are so happy
they aren't saying anything, these boys.
I think if they could, they would take
each other's arm.
It's early in the morning,
and they are doing this thing together.
They come on, slowly.
The sky is taking on light,
though the moon still hangs pale over the water.
Such beauty that for a minute
death and ambition, even love,
doesn't enter into this.
Happiness. It comes on
unexpectedly. And goes beyond, really,
any early morning talk about it.

My desire
is always the same; wherever Life
deposits me:
I want to stick my toe
& soon my whole body
into the water.
I want to shake out a fat broom
& sweep dried leaves
bruised blossoms
dead insects
& dust.
I want to grow
It seems impossible that desire
can sometimes transform into devotion;
but this has happened.
And that is how I've survived:
how the hole
I carefully tended
in the garden of my heart
grew a heart
to fill it.

Returning Native

What can you say about Pennsylvania
in regard to New England except that
it is slightly less cold, and less rocky,
or rather that the rocks are different?
Redder, and gritty, and piled up here and there,
whether as glacial moraine or collapsed springhouse
is not easy to tell, so quickly
are human efforts bundled back into nature.

In fall, the trees turn yellower—
hard maple, hickory, and oak
give way to tulip poplar, black walnut,
and locust. The woods are overgrown
with wild-grape vines, and with greenbrier
spreading its low net of anxious small claws.
In warm November, the mulching forest floor
smells like a rotting animal.

A genial pulpiness, in short: the sky
is soft with haze and paper-gray
even as the sun shines, and the rain
falls soft on the shoulders of farmers
while the children keep on playing,
their heads of hair beaded like spider webs.
A deep-dyed blur softens the bleak cities
whose people palaver in prolonged vowels.

There is a secret here, some death-defying joke
the eyes, the knuckles, the bellies imply—
a suet of consolation fetched straight
from the slaughterhouse and hung out
for chickadees to peck in the lee of the spruce,
where the husks of sunflower seeds
and the peace-signs of bird feet crowd
the snow that barely masks the still-green grass.

I knew that secret once, and have forgotten.
The death-defying secret—it rises
toward me like a dog’s gaze, loving
but bewildered. When winter sits cold and black
on Boston’s granite hills, in Philly,
slumped between its two polluted rivers,
warmth’s shadow leans close to the wall
and gets the cement to deliver a kiss.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Prepare for your Short Story Test - TUESDAY!

Videos of the presentations today:

Z Block Review

F Block Review Part I

F Block Review Part II

This Tuesday, October 8th...

Both FORM III sections will have a TEST on the short stories.

Test Format:

Part I: Author’s biography: Name that author
 Match the author to the short story title plus any significant details, quotes, etc.

Part II.  Quote Identification: Who said that? 
 Short quotes from the six stories; there will be a list of characters to help your cause.

Part III. Passage analysis and annotation of six passages: identify the story, the speaker, the audience, and annotate (underline and identify) any significance in terms of themes, symbolism, figurative language, tone, irony, or style.

Part IV: Write a paragraph about one of the passages above. Be sure to incorporate quotes from the text in your paragraph. We will review paragraphs on Monday!

Paragraph outline:

1. Topic sentence.
2. Set up quote properly.
3. Embed quote correctly.     

Ex. with a question mark: 
Connie says, "Hey, how old are you?"(590).

Ex. with a period: 
Arnold replies, "Or maybe a coupla years older, I'm eighteen"(590).

4. Paraphrase and analyze.

5. Set up a second quote.
6. Embed quote.
7. Paraphrase and analyze.

(You may wish to incorporate a third if it is relevant - repeat steps 2, 3,4)
8. Conclusion.

Short Story Study Guide! See our Form III GoogleSite:

There you will find student notes on attached WORD doc.

Just for fun - a quote:

“If we're lucky, writer and reader alike, we'll finish the last line or two of a short story and then just sit for a minute, quietly. Ideally, we'll ponder what we've just written or read; maybe our hearts or intellects will have been moved off the peg just a little from where they were before. Our body temperature will have gone up, or down, by a degree. Then, breathing evenly and steadily once more, we'll collect ourselves, writers and readers alike, get up, "created of warm blood and nerves" as a Chekhov character puts it, and go on to the next thing: Life. Always life.” 
― Raymond CarverCall If You Need Me: The Uncollected Fiction and Other Prose

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Raymond Carver's "Cathedral"

Full text of Raymond Carver's "Cathedral"

Raymond Carver 1984

"No tricks." He says. "Period. I hate tricks." Experimentation, as Carver goes on to say, is too often "a licence to be careless, silly or imitative."

Carver's 1981 essay "On Writing".
Get in, get out. Don't linger. Go on. It could be that I lost any great ambitions at about the same time, in my late 20's. If I did, I think it was good it happened. Ambition and a little luck are good things for a writer to have going for him. Too much ambition and bad luck, or no luck at all, can be killing. There has to be talent.

Paris Review Interview - excerpt from introduction:

           Carver works in a large room on the top floor. The surface of the long oak desk is clear; his typewriter is set to the side, on an L-shaped wing. There are no knicknacks, charms, or toys of any kind on Carver's desk. He is not a collector or a man prone to mementos and nostalgia. Occasionally, one manila folder lies on the oak desk, containing the story currently in the process of revision. His files are well in order. He can extract a story and all its previous versions at a moment's notice. The walls of the study are painted white like the rest of the house, and, like the rest of the house, they are mostly bare. Through a high rectangular window above Carver's desk, light filters into the room in slanted beams, like light from high church windows.
            Carver is a large man who wears simple clothes—flannel shirts, khakis or jeans. He seems to live and dress as the characters in his stories live and dress. For someone of his size, he has a remarkably low and indistinct voice; we found ourselves bending closer every few minutes to catch his words and asking the irritating “What, what?”

When asked why he wanted to be a writer,  he replies:

I wrote a longish thing about the fish that got away, or the fish I caught, one or the other, and asked my mother if she would type it up for me. She couldn't type, but she did go rent a typewriter, bless her heart, and between the two of us, we typed it up in some terrible fashion and sent it out. I remember there were two addresses on the masthead of the outdoors magazine; so we sent it to the office closest to us, to Boulder, Colorado, the circulation department. The piece came back, finally, but that was fine. It had gone out in the world, that manuscript—it had been places. Somebody had read it besides my mother, or so I hoped anyway.

Carver experiences a thrill in sending his writing out into the world - to an audience, a reader, beyond his mother. To move the world through writing can be empowering and exhilarating.

Documentary on Raymond Carver:

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Read "Sweat" by Zora Neale Hurston

Here's a link to hyperlink-annotated "Sweat" by Zora Neale Hurston.

Alice Walker rediscovered Hurston and wrote an essay "In Search of Zora Neale Hurston" about her research into the work of Hurston. The essay was later republished in her book as a chapter titled "Looking for Zora".

For what it's worth I have included a post that I shared last year while teaching American Literature to juniors:

It's been a few years since I've taught Zora Neale Hurston's novel Their Eyes Were Watching God - perhaps one of the most beautiful novels I've ever read. I remember reading it in high school. Some moments are still so clear, yet I confess that I missed the depth of most of it. I was too young to have those relationships in life that literature requires. It's in second readings, once we know the end... And second readings later in life, when we know ourselves a little better than when we were young and figuring ourselves out, who we are, in life.

In listening to this video, clip of Alice Walker reading - my eyes glistened as she read the end of the novel. The line, "The kiss of his memory made pictures of love and light against the wall. Here was peace." It resonated in a new way, reminding me of my brother - and other loved ones who have passed. Love is never lost with sweet memories that still offer solace - still living in memory.

I've said it before, and I will continue to say it, I hope you will consider reading these novels that we read in Junior English later in life, once you have loved and lost, and pulled yourself up from the pain and heartache to love again.