The How and Why of Language – Poetry and Art: Cezzane and Duchamp, Ginsberg and Kennedy

Now that we’ve practiced analyzing poetry as a class with Van Gogh and Anne Sexton’s “Starry Night”, you’ll practice working in small groups with your peers to analyze the next set of poems and paintings.

For this assignment you will choose to either read the American poet Allen Ginsburg’s poem “Cezzane’s Ports” while examining the French painter Paul Cezzane’s painting “The Gulf of Marseilles Seen From L’Estaque”, or read American poet X.J. Kennedy’s “Nude Descending a Staircase” while analyzing the painting by French artist Duchamp with the same title.

Paul Cezzane’s painting “The Gulf of Marseilles Seen From L’Estaque”. L’Estaque is a town in southern France.

Marcel Duchamp’s “Nude Descending a Staircase”, a famous cubist painting.

Remember, refer to the chart you made in class if you have a hard time remembering which artistic elements you should be looking for, and how they relate to poetry:

Artistic Element Poetic/Literary Element
Color Imagery, or Symbolism
Texture Imagery
Images Imagery
Lines/Movement Line breaks, stanzas, enjambment
Lighting Imagery
Level of detail Imagery
Emotion Mood/Tone
Contrast Juxtaposition
Symbols Symbolism


Click here to access the poems if you misplaced them.

You will be responsible in Part One of this analysis project for teaching your other group members about the poem or painting you’ve selected.

In Part Two, you will work together with those students to teach the rest of the class how your poem and painting pair together.

Please click here to view the assignment sheet and rubric for this project.


10th Grade Literature Spring 2019

The How and Why of Language – Poetry and Art: Starry Night

In class today we began discussing the ways that you can view language and poetry in much the same way you view art – paintings, and photographs.  First, we discussed that we’ll be trying to answer the questions:

  • Why would you use certain poetic devices?
  • How does using these devices change the meaning/theme of a poem?

Throughout this unit we’ll be working on answering these questions together for each of the poetic devices we encounter, and recording them on our “How and Why of Language” chart, which you can access by clicking here.

Next, we discussed the different elements that catch our eye or that we notice when we look at a picture or work of art. We discussed how bright colors catch our eye, and that sometimes we even associated certain meanings or feelings with these colors (i.e. red = danger, yellow=warm, blue=sad, depressed, cold). You guys did a great job of making connections between some of the artistic elements and similar literary elements:

Artistic Element Poetic/Literary Element
Color Imagery, or Symbolism
Texture Imagery
Images Imagery
Lines/Movement Line breaks, stanzas, enjambment
Lighting Imagery
Level of detail Imagery
Emotion Mood/Tone
Contrast Juxtaposition




Next, we looked at a series of images, and you guys analyzed the artistic elements that caught your eye – you did a great job of noticing the use of contrast and line, as well as texture, to draw our attention to certain parts of the image. You also did a good job of discussion the possible connotative meaning of these images – focusing on the symbolism behind the shapes and colors.
















After all this, we zoomed out and looked at the painting as a whole, Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”. We discussed how, just like a poem, you can analyze small parts of a work of art and still find details and insight – but without looking at everything as a whole, you cannot determine the theme or meaning.

Now, you will read the poem about this painting by Anne Sexton, titled “The Starry Night”. As you read this poem, look back and the painting and make connections. Look at Sexton’s use of imagery, personification and metaphor – how are they similar to the techniques Van Gogh used to create his painting?

Click here to read Anne Sexton’s “The Starry Night”

Finally, be sure to answer the writing prompt below over the poem by Anne Sexton – you must cite your evidence in MLA format. Remember, you will include the author’s last name and line numbers, and use a bracket to indicate when there should be a line break.

“…This is how/I want to die” (Sexton 5-6).

The prompt: 

  • What is the main idea of the poem that is reinforced through the refrain?
  • How is this main idea also reinforced through other poetic devices throughout the poem? 
10th Grade Literature Spring 2019

Parts of Speech – Pronouns

After our parts of speech pre-assessment yesterday, it seems we need to cover some of the different elements of pronouns together.

There are proper nouns, which give a specific name to an organization, person or place.

There are also personal pronouns, which identify a specific person place or thing and indicate singularity or plurality, and antecedents, which replace or reference pronouns.

Click here to review the pronoun powerpoint for our warm-ups this week.

You can also review the video below if you are having trouble with pronouns and antecedents:

Additionally, we discussed possessive pronouns. One thing to remember here is that possessive pronouns do not have apostrophes. ‘

Many of you were using it’s instead its. 

We also examined relative pronouns, which connect two clauses two a nouns or pronoun.

For example, “Cecil, who cannot swim, avoid fishing on the open water.” The first clause “Cecil avoids fishing on the open water” is connected to “who cannot swim”, as ‘who’ is the relative pronoun referring to Cecil.


10th Grade Literature Spring 2019

Welcome Back Sophmores!

Over the course of this semester we will explore a variety of world literature through fiction, poetry, speeches, legal documents and other primary source manuscripts from various periods, locations and times. We’ll also focus on other skills that will improve your understanding of English – through analyzing and making connections to art, conducting research and creating digital presentation, and practicing public speaking and small group communication skills.

I look forward to our journey through World Literature together!

Please click here to access your class syllabus.

You also need to make sure to sign up for our Remind 101, as well as our Google Classroom.

1st block: Text @mrsp10lit to 81010 for Remind101 and use code: i9km69 for Google Classroom.

3rd block: Text @b1010lit at 81010 and use code: 9u8dgp6 for Google Classroom.

10th Grade Literature Spring 2019

Creating Poetry to Reflect World Themes

In this assignment you will create two poems that reflect the themes or images you have observed in the literature of your world culture. These two poems must:

• Be a minimum of 14 lines long.
o If creating a blackout poem, the poem must be at least two pages.
• Reflect a clear theme.
• Use five poetic devices, three of which are common in the poetry of your culture.

To help you decide on the topic of theme of your own poems, review the information regarding the poems from you country that you’ve already read, and the information you’ve already researched. Then, decide which of these themes or devices you will be using in your own poem.



Remember, poetry uses figurative language (imagery, metaphors, similes, hyperbole) and sound devices (rhyme and rhyme scheme, alliteration, anaphora, repetition). You should use a mix of these in your own poem. Decided on the POV for your poem – 1st, 2nd or 3rd. Will your poem tell a story or share a scene or experience, or have a metaphorical discussion about a topic or theme? Remember, you don’t just have to write your poetry, you can create it with blackout poetry:

“Blackout poems can be created using the pages of old books or even articles cut from yesterday’s newspaper. Using the pages of an existing text, blackout poets isolate then piece together single words or short phrases from these texts to create lyrical masterpieces.

Step 1: Scan the page first before reading it completely. Keep an eye out for an anchor word as you scan. An anchor word is one word on the page that stands out to you because it is packed and loaded with meaning and significance.  Starting with an anchor word is important because it helps you to imagine possible themes and topics for your poem.

Step 2: Now read the page of text in its entirety. Use a pencil to lightly circle any words that connect to the anchor word and resonate with you. Resonant words might be expressive or evocative, but for whatever reason, these are the words on the page that stick with you. Avoid circling more than three words in a row.

Step 3: List all of the circled words on a separate piece of paper. List the words in the order that they appear on the page of text from top to bottom, left to right. The words you use for the final poem will remain in this order so it doesn’t confuse the reader.

Step 4: Select words, without changing their order on the list, and piece them together to create the lines of a poem. You can eliminate parts of words, especially any endings, if it helps to keep the meaning of the poem clear. Try different possibilities for your poem before selecting the lines for your final poem. If you are stuck during this step, return back to the original page of text. The right word you are searching for could be there waiting for you.

Step 5: Return to the page of text and circle only the words you selected for the final poem.  Remember to also erase the circles around any words you will not be using.

Step 6: Add an illustration or design to the page of text that connects to your poem. Be very careful not to draw over the circled words you selected for your final poem!”


10th Grade Literature Spring 2018

The Shape of Stories

In the next two weeks  we will be reading and examining a series of short stories, and discussing the ‘shape’ of short stories – their plots.


Many of you are probably familiar with a simplified version of Freytag’s Pyramid :middle-school-plot-diagram (1)

plot-shape-conflict-2-638However, while this is an easy way to remember the typical form of plot progression in Western storytelling, it is not completely accurate. Not all, not most, stories follow this plot progress. Stories have their own ‘shape’ – and the more interesting the plot of the story, the more interesting the shape.

Listen to amazing short story writer Kurt Vonnegut explain the ‘shape of stories’ by clicking the link below.

Click here to listen to Kurt Vonnegut’s ‘The Shape of Stories’.

Vonnegut explains that stories are much more complex that the typical Freytag’s Pyramid.


Think of movies you’ve watched – what type of ‘shape’ did the plot create? Think about tv shows – each episode has its own plot, and then all the episodes in a season create a larger plot as well.


As we read through the short stories in this unit I want you to consider the ‘shape’ of these stories. You will need to keep track of them – and decide which ‘shape’ make for the most interesting story.

Also remember that we’re looking at the shape of Western stories (stories from American or Europe) – stories from other cultures in Asian and the Middle East follow a much different plot structure. Stories in Asian culture are often told in a cyclical or spiral manner:




If you’ve ever watched an Asian movie or tv show (Dragon Ball Z) and felt like so much information was being repeated, or that the story took a really long time to ‘get going’, it was probably because their storytelling structure is so different from ours.

Some modern storytellers and movie-makers like Christopher Nolan are trying to use new and interesting plot structures – if you’ve seen these movies and have been confused about what’s happen, that’s probably why!

inception-explained_50290a7919c5a_w1500 619f8731a1c552dc05fbc6fdf5b23dbd


10th Grade Literature Spring 2018

Conducting Research – Determining the Reliability of Sources

As we being our unit on World Literature, you will be deciding which culture you would like to research and explore in your groups. You will also need to brainstorm six questions about this culture or literature you would like to find the answers to.

Once you have decided which culture’s literature you’re focusing on, and have determine which set of questions you want to research the answers to, you will need to make sure you use only RELIABLE SOURCES!

Remember, reliable sources are those that can be trusted to provide unbiased, factual information. Reliable sources include .org, .gov or .edu websites, books, news organizations, educational journals or publications.

Unreliable sources cannot be trusted for accuracy or for an unbiased perspective. Unreliable sources include Wikipedia, Yahoo Answers, any .net or .com website, blogs, editorials from newspapers, or forums.

Click here to view the worksheet from class on reliable vs unreliable sources.

Remember, if you have a hard time determine if a source is reliable or not, you can always ask us to check it with you!

You will need to gather information from reliable sources to answer the questions you’ve selected from above, and be sure to paste the information in your GoogleDocs. You will need to use this information throughout the week to write an extended essay response, so please save your research!

10th Grade Literature Spring 2018

Translating the Poetry of Sappho

For the past two days we have been examining the lyric poetry of Ancient Greece, and are focusing our attention on one poem in particular by the female poet Sappho. We discussed literary devices you should be looking for in poetry (see the Unit 1 Vocabulary post for the list) and now you are ready to begin analyzing poetry!

In class we looked at an original version of the poem in Greek script, in Roman script and Greek Language, and then two translations of the poem into English. The first translation is from the 1870’s, which means the diction you will find in it is a little ‘old fashioned’. The final translations of the poem is in a modern version, which should be much easier to read!

Click here to read the four versions of the Sappho Love Poem

Remember, you should be identifying the devices listed below for each poem, and explaining the elements in Part 2 on a separate piece of paper. Everything you needs for this analysis should be in your notes over Ancient Greek Poets and vocabulary.


Over the next few days you will read and analyze these poems in class and on your own, before writing your own translation of Sappho’s poem!

Click here for the assignment sheet over ‘Writing Your Own Sapphic Poem’.


10th Grade Literature Spring 2018

R.A.C.E. Method,Constructed Response, and Citing Textual Evidence

Today in class we reviewed how to answer constructed response questions – a skill you started building last year in 9th grade. As you work on answering the constructed response questions over Cupid and Psyche’ the next two days, be sure to refer to the notes from class and the helpful rubrics and worksheets you were given.

RACE thumbnail


You can also refer to the example we did in class below – this is the answer to question one from your assignment: “Why is Venus so jealous of Psyche? Does it make sense for the goddess of love and beauty to be jealous? Why or why not?”



Remember, I will be using the same rubric that will be used on your 11th Grade EOC Test next year to grade your constructed responses – Its never too early to start preparing!

Click here to access the constructed response rubric I will be using to grade these assignments with.

Click here to access the constructed response questions over Cupid and Psyche if you lost your sheet from class.

Remember, when citing textual evidence you have three steps to follow.

  • First, be sure to include a signal phrase. This is a phrase, in your own words, that will lead into the quote. For example:  Cupid refused to let Psyche see his face, saying “I would rather you love me as I am that as a god” (Coolidge 223).
  • Next, you need to quote directly from the text, and put quotation marks around the text. For example: Cupid refused to let Psyche see his face, saying “I would rather you love me as I am that as a god” (Coolidge 223).
  • Finally, you need to list the authors last name and the page number in parenthesis after the quote, and then end with a period. For example: Cupid refused to let Psyche see his face, saying “I would rather you love me as I am that as a god” (Coolidge 223). 

Follow these steps and you’ll have citing textual evidence down perfectly!

10th Grade Literature Spring 2018

Cupid and Psyche and La Belle et La Bete – Close Reading

Students – the past few days we have been reading and examining the Ancient Greek story of Cupid and Psyche in class. Below you will find some of the notes we took together  -use them to add to your own notes or help you study. You will be completing an analysis of The Hero’s Journey in “Cupid and Psyche” in class this week and answering a series of constructed response questions about the story – make sure you are taking notes and studying each night for your first Unit Test!



Click here to read the story of Cupid and Psyche

You will also look at how Ancient Greek literature has influenced literature around the world – all the way to present day. To do this you will be looking at a classic French story, La Belle et La Bete, and comparing the two. You will notice that this French story is the basis for the modern version of Beauty and the Beast that many of you are familiar with!

Beauty and the Beast

10th Grade Literature Spring 2018