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West Chester University

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Course Information
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Notes for Effective Writing I
  Understanding the 'Rhetorical Situation'
  Writing Descriptively
  What Makes a Good Story?
  Building a Thesis
  Notes on 'Purpose'
  Strategies for Writing Introductions
  Strategies for Writing Conclusions
  Assignment #5: Argument
  Understanding Rational Argument

Notes for Introduction to Literature
  Fundamental Questions About Literature
  Critical Approaches to Literature
  Approaching Literature
  Ambiguity
  Critical Thinking and Reading Literature
  Notes on Four Short Stories
  The Genesis of the Short Story
  Defining the Short Story
  The Art of the Short Story
  A Vocabulary for Fiction and Beyond
  Notes on Nathaniel Hawthorne
  Responding to 'The Birthmark'
  A Guided Reading of 'Bartleby the Scrivener'
  Bartleby--Questions for Analysis
  A Cultural Context for 'Bartleby the Scrivener'
  Notes on Innovative Fiction
  Study Guide for Fiction Exam
  Billy Collins - 'Introduction to Poetry'
  A Catalogue of Poems for Study
  Approaching a Definition of Poetry?
  Reading Poetry
  The Craft of Poetry: Imagery
  Readings from 'The United States of Poetry'
  The Craft of Poetry: Sound
  The Craft of Poetry: Structure
  Lines of Continuity
  Study Guide for Poetry Exam
  The Birth of Drama
  On Tragic Character
  Stepping Through 'Oedipus the King'
  Analyzing 'Oedipus the King'
  The Relevance 'Oedipus'Today
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~~ Readings from
The United States of Poetry, A PBS Series ~~

 

For more information about the authors below, visit the the official web site for the award-winning PBS TV series, The United States of Poetry.

Driftwood Feelin'
Henry Real Bird


How much longer
Do you want
To be in the wind
Elk River's edge
There I am standin'
Lookin' for a feelin'
In the roar of the water
Come down river lookin' around
Feelin' gotta roam.

Driftwood feelin'
Floatin' down love river
Hearts way can't do
I'm catchin' a ride
Driftwood feelin'
Floatin' down love river
Hearts way can't do
I'm catchin' a ride
Floatin' down love river.

Somewhere
Between the reflection and the stars
Is the feelin' of life in love
Where you could hear
The stars in the wind
Feelin', twinklin', and flutterin'

In cottonwood leaves
Just a feelin' in the wind
In yesterday from days gone by
Can I have tomorrow
From yesterday, that I borrow?

Driftwood feelin'
Floatin' down love river
Hearts way can't do
I'm catchin' a ride
Driftwood feelin'
Floatin' down love river
Hearts way can't do
I'm catchin' a ride
Floatin' down love river.



A Testimonial

Sparrow


I have lived in this city
25 years
and all that time
I have dropped things.
I've dropped
tissues,
letters from women
in Santa Fe, N.M.,
money,
the keys to my house,
books by
Jacques Prevert.
And all this time,
you,
the people of this
city, have pointed
to me, and said,
"Hey!" "Sir!" "You!
You dropped something!"
and then I've picked it up.
You have watched
over me all these
years,
and I've waited till
now to thank you.


Silos
Rita Dove

Like martial swans in spring paraded against the city sky's
shabby blue, they were always too white and
suddenly there.

They were never fingers, never xylophones, although once
a stranger said they put him in mind of Pan's pipes
and all the lost songs of Greece. But to the townspeople
they were like cigarettes, the smell chewy and bitter
like a field shorn of milkweed, or beer brewing, or
a fingernail scorched over a flame.

No, no, exclaimed the children. They're a fresh packet of chalk,
dreading math work.

They were masculine toys. They were tall wishes. They
were the ribs of the modern world.

 

Project
Tracie Morris


Teeny feet rock
layered double socks
Popping side piping of
many colored loose lace ups

Racing toe keeps up with fancy free gear
slick slide and just pressed recently weaved hair

Jeans oversized belie her hips, back, thighs
that have made guys sigh
for milleni year

Topped by an attractive jacket
her suit's not for flacking, flunkies, junkies
or punk homies on the stroll.

Her hands mobile thrones of today's urban goddess
Clinking rings link dragon fingers
no need to be modest.

One or two gap teeth coolin'
sport gold initials
Doubt you get to her name
just check from the side
please chill.

Multidimensional shrimp earrings
frame her cinnamon face
Crimson with a compliment if a
comment hits the right place

Don't step to the plate
with datelines from '88
Spare your simple, fragile feelings
with the same sense that you came

Color woman variation reworks the french twist
with crinkle cut platinum frosted bangs
from a spray can's mist

Never dissed, she insists:
"No you can't touch this."
And, if pissed, bedecked fists
stop boys who must persist.

She's the one. Give her some. Under fire. Smoking gun. Of which songs
are sung, raps are spun, bells are rung, rocked, pistols cocked, unwanted
advances blocked, well stacked she's jock. It's all about you girl. You go
on. Don't you dare stop.



Boss of the Food
Lois-Ann Yamanaka


Before time, everytime my sista like be the boss
of the food. We stay shopping in Mizuno Superette
and my madda pull the Oreos off the shelf
and my sista already saying, Mommy,
can be the boss of the Oreos?

The worse was when she was the boss
of the sunflower seeds.
She give me and my other sistas
one seed at a time.
We no could eat the meat.
Us had to put um in one pile on one Kleenex.
Then, when we wen' take all the meat
out of the shells and our lips stay all cho cho,
she give us the seeds one at a time
cause my sista, she the boss
of the sunflower seeds.

One time she was the boss
of the Raisinettes.
Us was riding in the back
of my granpa's Bronco down Kaunakakai Wharf.
There she was, passing us one Raisinette at a time. My mouth was all watery
'cause I like eat um all one time, eh?

So I wen' tell her, Gimme that bag.
And I wen' grab um.
She said, I'ng tell Mommy.
And I said, Go you fuckin' bird killa;
tell Mommy.

She wen' let go the bag.
And I wen' start eating the Raisinetes all one time.
But when I wen' look at her,
I felt kinda bad cause I wen' call her bird killa.

She was boss of the parakeet too, eh,
and she suppose to cover the cage every night.
But one time, she wen' forget.
When us wen' wake up, the bugga was on its back,
legs in the air all stiff.
The bugga was cold.
And I guess the thing that made me feel bad
was I neva think calling her bird killa
would make her feel so bad
that she let go the bag Raisinettes.

But I neva give her back the bag.
I figga what the fuck.
I ain't going suffer eating one Raisinette at a time.
Then beg her for one mo
and I mean one mo
fuckin' candy.



Blood

Naomi Shihab Nye

"A true Arab knows how to catch a fly in his hands,"
my father would say. And he'd prove it,
cupping the buzzer instantly
while the host with the swatter stared.

In the spring our palms peeled like snakes.
True Arabs believed watermelon could heal fifty ways.
I changed these to fit the occasion.

Years before, a girl knocked,
wanted to see the Arab.
I said we didn't have one.
After that, my father told me who he was,
"Shihab" "shooting star"
a good name, borrowed from the sky.
Once I said, "When we die, we give it back?"
He said that's what a true Arab would say.

Today the headlines clot in my blood.
A little Palestinian dangles a truck on the front page.
Homeless fig, this tragedy with a terrible root
is too big for us. What flag can we wave?
I wave the flag of stone and seed,
table mat stitched in blue.

I call my father, we talk around the news.
It is too much for him,
neither of his two languages can reach it.
I drive into the country to find sheep, cows,
to plead with the air:
Who calls anyone civilized?
Where can the crying heart graze?
What does a true Arab do now?



A Poem for Jim Nagataak'w

My Grandfather, Blind and Nearly Deaf
Nora Marks Dauenhauer

I was telling my grandfather
about what was happening
on the boat. My father
and his brothers were trying to
anchor against the wind
and tide.

I could smell him, especially
his hair. It was a warm smell.
I yelled as loud as I could,
telling him what I saw.
My face was wet from driving
rain.

I could see his long eyebrows,
I could look at him and get
really close. We both liked this.
Getting close was his way of
seeing.



Dilly Dally

Everton Sylvester

I rise each day
to yet another shock
from dis alarm clock culture.
And I miss de sound
of mi big red cock
as him beat him chest
and crow welcome song
to de sun
from de fowl s--t covered
guava tree pon de hillside.

And de snooze button allow me five minute
more to dream bout ackee and breadfruit.
Den I get up and eat a bagel
and worry bout mi love handle.

Six layers a clothes
and termal drawers
and I still cold.
Another bridge mean more toll.
And de golden rule
is alternate-side parking.

And as de belly get fat
many tings bout Yard dat
used to be just a mere inconvenience
start to look like major incompetence.
Unscheduled power cut
daily
water lock off
bank pon short staff cause
the morning was a little bit rainy.
Few telephones
dat's just how it is
yet everyone know
everyone else business.

Well I live in mi building for five years now
and mi neighbours dem still don't know me.
But solace come from anonymity.
And every time I bite de apple
de apple swallow me.

So dem force me to buy
a piece of the FBI
CIA investment pie.
And dem give me a W2
form in lieu
of a receipt.
So now I'm funding a plot
to get God shot
or someting like dat.

De Korean polish him apples dem clean
and arrange dem in stacks of red, gold and green.
say him want Rasta to feel welcome. Seen?

Still I yearn for de breeze
from de Natty Bay sea
as it cool down de sweat pon me back
Long to feed dry coc'nut to mi cock.

So I dilly
and I dally
and I wonder
how much longer
I can philander
Cause each time I bite de apple
it swallow a piece of me
Still it hard to love de fruit
if I never did climb de tree.


I am waiting
Lawrence Ferlinghetti

I am waiting for my case to come up
and I am waiting
for a rebirth of wonder
and I am waiting for someone
to really discover America
and wail
and I am waiting
for the discovery
of a new symbolic western frontier
and I am waiting
for the American Eagle
to really spread its wings
and straighten up and fly right
and I am waiting
for the Age of Anxiety
to drop dead
and I am waiting
for the war to be fought
which will make the world safe
for anarchy
and I am waiting
for the final withering away
of all governments
and I am perpetually awaiting
a rebirth of wonder

I am waiting for the Second Coming
and I am waiting
for a religious revival
to sweep thru the state of Arizona
and I am waiting
for the Grapes of Wrath to be stored
and I am waiting
for them to prove
that God is really American
and I am waiting
to see God on television
piped onto church altars
if only they can find
the right channel
to tune in on
and I am waiting
for the Last Supper to be served again
with a strange new appetizer
and I am perpetually awaiting
a rebirth of wonder

I am waiting for my number to be called
and I am waiting
for the Salvation Army to take over
and I am waiting
for the meek to be blessed
and inherit the earth
without taxes
and I am waiting
for forests and animals
to reclaim the earth as theirs
and I am waiting
for a way to be devised
to destroy all nationalisms
without killing anybody
and I am waiting
for linnets and planets to fall like rain
and I am waiting for lovers and weepers
to lie down together again
in a new rebirth of wonder

I am waiting for the Great Divide to be crossed
and I am anxiously waiting
for the secret of eternal life to be discovered
by an obscure general practitioner
and I am waiting
for the storms of life
to be over
and I am waiting
to set sail for happiness
and I am waiting
for a reconstructed Mayflower
to reach America
with its picture story and tv rights
sold in advance to the natives
and I am waiting
for the lost music to sound again
in the Lost Continent
in a new rebirth of wonder

I am waiting for the day
that maketh all things clear
and I am awaiting retribution
for what America did
to Tom Sawyer
and I am waiting
for Alice in Wonderland
to retransmit to me
her total dream of innocence
and I am waiting
for Childe Roland to come
to the final darkest tower
and I am waiting
for Aphrodite
to grow live arms
at a final disarmament conference
in a new rebirth of wonder

I am waiting
to get some intimations
of immortality
by recollecting my early childhood
and I am waiting
for the green mornings to come again
youth's dumb green fields come back again
and I am waiting
for some strains of unpremeditated art
to shake my typewriter
and I am waiting to write
the great indelible poem
and I am waiting
for the last long careless rapture
and I am perpetually waiting
for the fleeing lovers on the Grecian Urn
to catch each other up at last
and embrace
and I am awaiting
perpetually and forever
a renaissance of wonder



Gift

Czeslaw Milosz

A day so happy.

Fog lifted early, I walked in the garden.

Hummingbirds were stopping over honeysuckle flowers.

There was no thing on earth I wanted to possess.

I knew no one worth my envying him.

Whatever evil I had suffered, I forgot.

To think that once I was the same man did not embarrass me.

In my body I felt no pain.

When straightening up, I saw the blue sea and sails.



Star

Derek Walcott


If, in the light of things, you fade
real, yet wanly withdrawn
to our determined and appropriate
distance, like the moon left on
all night among the leaves, may
you invisibly delight this house;
O star, doubly compassionate, who came
too soon for twilight, too late
for dawn, may your pale flame
direct the worst in us
through chaos
with the passion of
plain day.

 

 

 

 

     

 


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