Homework: One poetic ancestor

Today in class, we looked over “On the Abolition of the English Department” and discussed the Western literary canon. We then examined the seminal poem “Friday” by Rebecca Black, examining the basics of poetry critique. For tomorrow, you need to come to class prepared with the name of one poetic ancestor and a brief (1 minute) explanation of why this person is your poetic ancestor.

Who are your poetic ancestors?

English 30 students, part of your “Writing Poetry Within The Tradition” assignment is to find three poets whose lives and poetry resonate within your soul, your heart, your consciousness… Their words buzz through your heads and don’t leave your thoughts, pricking your brain like an enraged wasp… Their lives reflect your own, their struggles yours, their joys yours…

It may be tricky to find poets and poetry who make your heart sing. Where do you even start? If I were you, I’d start with the poems you looked at last semester. Which ones interested you? Which made you think? Which words, phrases, lines have been rattling around in your head since then? What about the poems you examined during your “Poetry in Depth” project, or the projects of others?

Consider those, then look through your Wascana Anthology of Poetry. Take a look at this site. Google “influential poets”. If you’re interested in horses, google “horse poetry”. If you’re interested in technology, google “technology poetry”. Choose an adjective that interests you and google that, along with poetry.

You need to find poems and poets that resonate within your heart. You could just choose random poems and poets, and it might work out for you, but I think you’ll find that this will make your job this semester more difficult, not less. The more work you put into this project now, the more you’ll be rewarded later.