Everyone brings a poem to class. For extra credit, interested people may also submit a “PDF” with their poem (TURNITIN box: EC Chinese poem PDF) by 8am Mon May 9. See this link for PDF instructions.
You have two assignment choices, based on our studies from the Poetry Day on Tue Apr 26.
Assignment Context: On that day you wrote at least one example in the style of a jueju, the basic instructions for which you have in your Poetry Folder. After people shared their poems with classmates, we briefly looked at a poem by Li Bai, who wrote during the T’ang Dynasty in China, a little over a thousand years ago. That poem is also in your folder. I pointed out that in Li Bai’s poem the majority of phrases are rooted in concrete imagery. This attention to imagery is one of the Chinese poetic tradition’s greatest gifts to us, three thousand years later.
Towards the end of class, we looked briefly at a poem you already know, James Wright’s “A Blessing.” Why this poem? Because some people say, and Mr. Wright has probably also said, that his poetry is influenced by Li Po (another name for Li Bai). During class, I asked you to underline examples of concrete imagery in his poem.
Lastly, remember that I asked you about the mood of each poem (the feelings or atmosphere evoked by a poem). I then asked–though we spent little time on this question–how do metaphors, imagery and structure help build the mood of either poem?
Assignment Choice #1
Write a poem in the style of a jueju, with at least four couplets. Although this is one poem, each of its couplets expresses a distinct idea. Make strong use of concrete imagery from the natural world. Ideally, this poem expresses longing for someone or something . If you want other examples of this particular style of poetry, see the “Context” tab for this poem–from the Words Without Borders site.
Assignment Choice #2
Write a poem about an experience or person(s) you see as a blessing. James Wright’s poem describes a unique experience that he remembers as a blessing to him and his friend. Wright uses twenty-four lines, and I ask you to write at least twenty for this assignment. Make yours a free verse poem: no meter, and no regular end rhyme. Finally, and here’s the part that overlaps between these two assignment choices, make strong use of concrete imagery from the natural world, just as many Chinese poets have done across the years.