Poetry and Paragraphs: a 16-Week Course of Integrated Literature, Research, and Paragraph Writing for Middle School and Early High School

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Homework Day 2

Paraphrase this passage from “When Lilacs Last in the Door Yard Bloom’d” by Walt Whitman, written to mourn the murder of Abraham Lincoln. Paraphrasing is hard work, but keep in mind as you struggle along that nearly every college degree and professional job requires lots of paraphrasing. You will use this skill again.
Vocabulary help:

Dooryard means near the door

Perennial means every year

Murk means darkness

Palings mean boards of a fence

WHEN lilacs last in the door-yard bloom’d,

 And the great star early droop’d in the western sky in the night,

I mourn’d—and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring.

 O ever-returning spring! Trinity sure to me you bring;

Lilac blooming perennial, and drooping star in the west,


Homework Day 3

Revise your paraphrase following these criteria:
My paraphrase has a title

My name and the date appear in the top RIGHT corner

My paraphrase has a topic sentence

My paraphrase contains at least 3 supporting details

My paraphrase contains at least 1 sentence if am 10, and one more for each additional year of age

My paraphrase is free of errors in spelling/apostrophe use

My paraphrase contains no more than 2 forms of “to be”

My paraphrase contains no errors in grammar

Week 7: Congratulations, You Are Poet of the Week!
List the metaphors you find in the passage from “When Lilacs by the Dooryard Last Bloomed” Check your list against the key at the back of this book. Over the past weeks, you’ve learned about several aspects of poetry. Now you are ready to try your hand at writing a poem.

Poetry Writing Assignment #2 (Completed as homework over three days this week)

Homework Day 1

Make a list of concrete words to describe your room. The words on the list should all show a dominant impression (ex: the room is dismal, the room is cheery, the room is messy…). DON’T MAKE THE DOMINANT IMPRESSION PART OF THE LIST! We’ll start this part in class so I can give you some assistance

Now, you will use that list to compose a poem. Start by deciding upon a dominant impression from the abstract list. Do you want to describe the holiday as funny, sad, exciting…?

Dominant impression:

Next, put an X through your abstract list. Poems usually contain more concrete imagery than abstraction. Then, cut any details from the concrete list that don’t fit your dominant impression.

Group the images you’re your concrete list logically here. A good rule of thumb is to move around the scene described by starting with one side of the scene and moving from one side of the scene to the other.
Order of images



Think of at least one metaphor and one simile to add to your descriptions. The metaphor and the simile may take the place of more straightforward descriptions you’ve thought of earlier.



Your poem should have a turn. For now, it is enough for your turn to summarize the main feeling of the poem. Make your turn in the last two lines of the poem. You may use an abstraction in the turn.
Put your poem aside and rest your mind for a day before proceeding with the next day’s work. You’ll write better after a rest.

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