we are going to read three short but intense and very popular poems: “Not Waving but Drowning,” “We Real Cool,” and “Harlem,” all of which are very well known and often anthologized in our high school literature books throughout the country. Please take the time–and by having very few things to read, I feel I have provided the time for you–to listen to these on Youtube. I am not saying you will like all three, but, if not all three, no doubt one or two of them I am sure you will.
After having explored these poems thoroughly–by reading them and then listening to them being read on YouTube–please read over the discussion questions and address several of those that are of interest to you. Be certain to answer one or more of those posting by other students in the class. A discussion is a sharing of opinions and feelings about what we read, so postings by every student alone does not constitute a discussion. Going to a discussion prepared–that is having read the assigned materials–means you are ready then to read student posts and respond to those that inspire you to reply in some sort of way, agreement or disagreement either one. When we disagree with a fellow student, we are always kind and tolerant–if you have an issue with that attribute, let me suggest reading Maya Angelou. If you read her words of wisdom, you almost can not help being a better person.
Read the three poems several times, listen to them, and then discuss some of the following questions with the other students in the class. As always be certain to reply to TWO other students’ posts.
First, which poem did you like the best? Why?
What is “Not Waving but Drowning” about? If you watched the Youtube video did this help at all?
In “We Real Cool” Brooks is writing about an attitude. What is the attitude she is writing about?
Can you find that attitude today? Where?
Are there words in Brooks’ poem you might have to look up?
“Harlem” has always been a very popular poem.
What is the mood conveyed by the poem?
Do the words or images help create that mood?
Are the poem’s similes vivid? Do these similes convey images or ideas or both?
Please give examples for all of your responses–as always, more is better.