Reading Poetry

1.Read “My Papa’s Waltz” by Theodore Roethke. Then, answer the following question. Write your answer as one paragraph (5-7 sentences):What is your experience of this poem? How do you interpret its meaning? What do you think is the most powerful part of the poem? What, if anything, confused you in its reading? Did that change once you conducted a closer reading of the poem? Remember, there is no one way to interpret a poem. That’s what makes discussing them so pleasing and rewarding.**My Papa’s Waltz**BY THEODORE ROETHKEThe whiskey on your breathCould make a small boy dizzy;But I hung on like death:Such waltzing was not easy.We romped until the pansSlid from the kitchen shelf;My mother’s countenanceCould not unfrown itself.The hand that held my wristWas battered on one knuckleAt every step you missedMy right ear scraped a buckle.You beat time on my headWith a palm caked hard by dirt,Then waltzed me off to bedStill clinging to your shirt.2. Read Sylvia Plath’s “Morning Song.” Then, answer the following questions. Please write your answer as one paragraph (5-7 sentences):What is your first emotional reaction to the poem?Is this poem telling a story? Sharing thoughts? Playing with language experimentally? Is it exploring one’s feelings or perceptions? Is it describing something?Is the tone serious? Funny? Meditative? Inquisitive? Confessional? Here is a list of tonal descriptors that may help you pin down what you’re hearing:Abrasive, accepting, admiring, adoring, angry, anxious, apologetic, apprehensive, argumentative, awe-struckBiting, bitter, blissful, boastfulCandid, childish, child-like, clipped, cold, complimentary, condescending, criticalDespairing, detached, didactic, direct, discouraged, doubtful, dramaticFearful, forceful, frightenedHappy, heavy-hearted, horrified, humorousIndifferent, ironic, irreverentLovingMelancholic, mysteriousNaïve, nostalgicObjective, optimistic, peaceful, pessimistic, playful, proudQuestioningReflective, reminiscentSad, sarcastic, satirical, satisfied, seductive, self-critical, self-mocking, sexy, shocked, silly, sly, solemn, somber, stunned, subdued, sweet, sympatheticThoughtful, threateningUncertain, urgentWhimsical**Morning Song**BY SYLVIA PLATHLove set you going like a fat gold watch.The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cryTook its place among the elements.Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival. New statue.In a drafty museum, your nakednessShadows our safety. We stand round blankly as walls.I’m no more your motherThan the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slowEffacement at the wind’s hand.All night your moth-breathFlickers among the flat pink roses. I wake to listen:A far sea moves in my ear.One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floralIn my Victorian nightgown.Your mouth opens clean as a cat’s. The window squareWhitens and swallows its dull stars. And now you tryYour handful of notes;The clear vowels rise like balloons.

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