One of the goals for this unit is for you to be able “differentiate the qualitative values of poetry” and argue “why some works are timeless ‘masterpieces’ and others have only short-term entertainment, emotional, or political value.” Another goal is that you will gain “an appreciation for the aesthetic qualities of poetry that is borne out of the harmonious coupling of form and purpose.” In simpler terms, as a result of your study of poetry, you should be able to not only see why the poems anthologized in our text are well executed “masterpieces” but also be able to discern the difference between these works and less successful “poetry” that is trite, cliché, melodramatic, and predictable. What you need to do for this discussion post is compare one of the poems assigned for this week to the lyrics of a pop song or the verse in a greeting card (you can go to the Hallmark cards webpage to find plenty of examples). What are the key differences between the two? Why is the poem in the textbook a work of art, while the pop song lyrics or verse in the greeting card isn’t? You can discuss style, word choice, and form, but be sure you point your classmates’ attention to the sophistication of the poem (not only in terms of not only style, but meaning) and the relative simplicity of the song or card. Be sure to include the song lyrics or greeting card verse so your classmates can see what you’re discussing. At the end of this post, try to write a statement that sums up how poetry is different from these other uses of language.
Poets have often used their works to express their religious thoughts and beliefs. For this discussion post, choose one of the following poems (John Donne’s “Holy Sonnet 14” OR “Death, Be Not Proud,” William Blake’s “The Lamb” AND “The Tyger” (these poems are meant to work together so discuss both if you choose this option), Emily Dickinson’s “The World is Not Conclusion,” John Milton’s “When I Consider How My Light Is Spent,” or Gerald Manley Hopkins’ “God’s Grandeur”) and discuss the poet’s expression of faith. What is the poet saying about God? About religion? About Christianity? What spiritual statement does the poem make, or what question does it ask? How do you think the poet wants the reader to respond to this poem? Also, what does this poem tell you about Christian beliefs at the time the poem was written?
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