Poetry post – we real cool & my papa’s waltz

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Poetry is a literary form that can offer readers a different experience based on whether the poem is read silently, read aloud, or simply listened to when read by someone else. For example, you might hear a certain rhythm or change of pace that you might not catch when simply reading the poem silently to yourself. For this week’s discussion, you will read and listen to poetry. Read and listen with careful eyes and ears so you can respond thoughtfully to the two parts of the discussion this week.

Part One: Read “We Real Cool” and “My Papa’s Waltz” in your textbook. Then, answer the following questions about one of the poems:

  • What is the theme of the poem? How do you know this is the theme?
  • What poetic devices (rhythm, figurative language, etc.) are used in the poem? Offer at least two examples.
  • How do these poetic devices contribute to the development of the poem’s message?

Support your ideas with textual details and analyses. When you have answered the questions above, then move on to the next set of instructions in Part Two.


Part Two: Listen to “We Real Cool” and “My Papa’s Waltz.” These clips demonstrate the importance of performance, rhythm, and musicality in the poetic form. Describe your listening experience of the same poem you wrote about above. If you are unable to listen to these poems due to an auditory impairment, please reach out to your Instructor for an alternative prompt for this discussion. Respond to at least two of the following questions:

  • How did hearing the poem recited aloud compare to a silent reading of it?
  • Did the performance highlight certain words or phrases that were not as apparent in a silent reading?
  • Did the pace change and, if so, how did it change your understanding of the poem?
  • Did words have different connotations and, if so, what kind(s) of connotation did you associate with the poem?
  • Do you think reading poetry aloud is a worthwhile endeavor when analyzing it? Why, or why not?

Support your ideas with textual details and analyses. Address how specific literary elements and techniques contributed to your experience and the conflict. Your initial post should be at least 200 words in length. The minimum word count does not include references.

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