One year for National Poetry Month I joined a bunch of friends who posted a poem every day through April. It was fun sharing some favorites and reading new ones. But now that I am off Facebook, that time-suck, I haven’t seen this river of poetry flowing by.
This year my Challenge III students are working through Roar on the Other Side, a poetry appreciation and exercise book that exuberantly introduces poetry essentials. During April I am adding a little more to our poetry experience.
This week leads up to the celebration of the Resurrection. (Is anyone else troubled that this astounding event in world history is named after a pagan goddess of dawn?) So this week my students will hear It’s Friday. But Sunday’s Coming. It is a powerful sermon-poem. It is also an example of symploce, the figure of speech where both the beginning and the end are repeated.
“No one should dare to even think about being the Commander in Chief of this country if he doesn’t believe with all his heart that our soldiers are liberators abroad and defenders of freedom at home. But don’t waste your breath telling that to the leaders of my Party today…They claimed Carter’s pacifism would lead to peace — they were wrong. They claimed Reagan’s defense buildup would lead to war — they were wrong.” Zell Miller, 2004 Republican National Convention address
“We remember today that all our gentle heroes of Vietnam have given us a lesson in something more: a lesson in living love — their love for their families lives; their love for their buddies on the battlefields and friends back home lives; their love of their country lives.”
— Ronald Reagan, Address at the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial
By Challenge III students have become skilled at the arts of Grammar and Dialectic. Both are practiced and honed in seminar. They take their communication, both written and spoken, deeper into the art of Rhetoric. Their poetry, written essays, class discussion, and practiced speech all show growth in this skill. Former students have shared with us how impressed their college professors are with their capable communication. Classical education makes powerful communicators!
This week I will share Dylan Thomas’ villanelle, “Do Not Go Gentle into that Dark Night” and hope to inspire them to write one.
I had fun playing with this form for my Christmas letter, a collection of stories told through various poem forms. Here is the villanelle which I posted on my blog: https://lettersfromheartscontent.com/2017/01/02/making-a-tiny-splash-in-the-internet/