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
Symbols

Symbolism

 

 

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