Thursday, September 24, 2009

Poetry Thursday and The Absolutely True Diary

Because we've had a lot of craziness this year, we have not yet spent a Friday together. Therefore, you have all missed out on the latest craze, Poetry Fridays. Of course, today is not Friday. But, I didn't want to wait a whole week to institute this practice in this course. So, we're going to start today's class with a poem connected to the text that we're reading.

It should not be a huge shocker that I love Sherman Alexie's writing. To make this perhaps even more obvious, I decided to go to my collection of Alexie poems to kick off our Poetry Fridays. I ended up choosing a poem called Indian "Boy Love Song (#4)" because the speaker so reminded me of the main character, Arnold, and his best friend Rowdy. (Side note: I took this poem from a collection of short stories and poems titled The Business of Fancydancing. See me if you're interested in reading it.)

So, as I dictated this poem to you all, we discussed the author's choice of words, his placement of words in certain lines, words that stood out to us as important, and we made connections to the book. I loved our discussion about the title of the poem. We talked about the fact that when you hear the words "Love Song" you feel like the poem is going to be a romantic one. Also, you might think that the poem will be addressed to a lover, or about a love. In this poem, we felt that the speaker was a boy who loves his father but does not love the fact that his father is an alcoholic.

Specifically, we looked closely at the second stanza, which reads:

the dream he needed
was the dream that frightened him
more (4-8)

My interest in this stanza stems from some of the discussions we've had about Arnold's new found dream of attending Reardon and his sister's abandoned dreams of becoming an author. We discussed the fact that dreams have weight and that sometimes that weight can be crushing, especially if you are unable to carry out a dream. Heavy.

I want to thank you all for engaging in a thought-provoking conversation around this poem. I can't wait next week's Poetry Friday! Oh, and we read to page sixty-three in The Absolutely True Diary.

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