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Thread: Poetry Discussion: I Hear America Singing

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    Senior Member Makers's Avatar
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    Poetry Discussion: I Hear America Singing

    I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
    Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong,
    The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,
    The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work,
    The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deckhand
    singing on the steamboat deck,
    The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing as he stands,
    The wood-cutter's song, the ploughboy's on his way in the morning, or
    at noon intermission or at sundown,
    The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work, or of
    the girl sewing or washing,
    Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,
    The day what belongs to the day—at night the party of young fellows,
    robust, friendly,
    Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.

    -Walt Whitman

    As an optimist and poet, Whitman has settled on the verb "singing" to portray the general mood among America’s working class. Do you believe the verb is still fitting or would you choose another? If you would choose another, what would it be? Feel free to be creative and/ or change the context. For example, perhaps you see America straining. Elaborate on your selection.

    The presence of “types” reoccur throughout Whitman’s poetry to reflect the power of an individual’s contribution to a democratic society. I.e. carpenter, mason, boatman, etc. What types do you believe currently represent America? Additionally, each type is followed by a brief action or tool of their trade. What tools or actions are representative of the types you’ve determined?
    Last edited by Makers; 06-10-2014 at 07:51 PM.

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    凸(ಠ_ರೃ )凸 stuck's Avatar
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    I hear America watching TV, the varied commercials I hear,
    Those of products, each one hawking his to the extent it is allowed by law, perhaps misleading but legal,
    The foodstuffs hawking theirs as they increase triglycerides and insulin resistance,
    The banks hawking theirs as they make ready for profit, or accrue interest,
    The entertainer hawking what belongs to him in his IP, the publishing contract
    laying in the drawer,
    The school hawking as he sits at his gate, the video game hawking as he reclines,
    The law firm's class action hawk, the PAC hawking at midterm, at the state and federal level,
    The incessant hawking by all of youth, to the old and young, the female and the male
    Each hawking to the extent of their market share,
    The economy what belongs to the economy—at night the whir of young algorithms,
    sleepless and derivative
    Hawking with open loopholes in tax code, their mathematically determined hawks.

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    Meae Musae Servus Hephaestus's Avatar
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    Ha. Are you outsourcing your essays now? Or have you just mastered the art of the academic prompt?
    I'm suspicious of people who say they'll die for a flag but won't wear a mask for their neighbor.

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    Senior Member Makers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hephaestus View Post
    Ha. Are you outsourcing your essays now? Or have you just mastered the art of the academic prompt?
    It's that obvious, huh? haha I'm summer reading and got to thinking how I might approach Whitman in a future class, should happen to teach him. Of course, I was weighing the questions for my own interest first. I think stuck nailed it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Makers!* View Post
    It's that obvious, huh? haha I'm summer reading and got to thinking how I might approach Whitman in a future class, should happen to teach him. Of course, I was weighing the questions for my own interest first. I think stuck nailed it.
    If you become an English teacher, how do you decide how to present a poet like Whitman? How do you make it relevant and interesting to kids today? This would all be beyond me. (A man has to know his limitations--paraphrasing Dirty Harry)

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    gryffindor Hermione's Avatar
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    You frame it as Whitman was the rapper, the poet, of his day. Poets are truth tellers, like rappers-- both difficult to understand and need to be sorted out to appreciate.
    All lives end. All hearts are broken. Caring is not an advantage. Mycroft Holmes

    I am not programmed to harm human beings. Baymax

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    凸(ಠ_ರೃ )凸 stuck's Avatar
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    For me, I think it was just being placed in front of the material.

    Opportunities to make things fun and creative are cool. I remember we read (part of) macbeth out loud in class and my friend decided to adopt an absurd Scottish accent. That made it really memorable.

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    gryffindor Hermione's Avatar
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    And we got to act out Shakespeare and plays that were modern, also. I got to be one of the three witches. I love acting.
    All lives end. All hearts are broken. Caring is not an advantage. Mycroft Holmes

    I am not programmed to harm human beings. Baymax

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    Senior Member Makers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thevenin View Post
    If you become an English teacher, how do you decide how to present a poet like Whitman? How do you make it relevant and interesting to kids today? This would all be beyond me. (A man has to know his limitations--paraphrasing Dirty Harry)
    Yea, what Hermione and stuck said. Also, from my English classes I've learned there are several ways to critically approach literature. Each is more or less a segue into a broader conversation. For instance, with Whitman it might be pertinent to discuss how he represents nature to promote environmental values, or address his notions of democracy to instill a sense of civic pride. Of course, formal qualities may be considered, as well as insights into our shared humanity. The main thing is to start a conversation and pose problems the class feels inspired to solve, with students learning from teachers and teachers learning from students. Everybody has experience to share. The goal of the humanities is to create a space were those experiences can be turned into constructive ideals.
    Last edited by Makers; 06-11-2014 at 02:56 AM.

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    Meae Musae Servus Hephaestus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Makers!* View Post
    It's that obvious, huh?
    It's obvious to me because I've seen an awful lot of 'em, both as a student and as a tutor. They have a flavour. Yours fits right in.
    I'm suspicious of people who say they'll die for a flag but won't wear a mask for their neighbor.

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