Welcome to week five of the #WALKMYWORLD project. Actually, I would be more correct in calling this “Learning Event 5.” It might seem like a small change, but we’ve had people from all over the globe joining us on the project. We’ve also had people joining us in waves…and some joining us this week. To save us all from confusion, you’ll hear us refer to “learning events.” Without further ado, let’s get to the action!!!
Last week we asked you to continue sharing your images, videos, and audio clips online to Twitter using the #WALKMYWORLD hashtag. Last week also began the shift to thinking about poetry and how it sometimes allows us to re-examine our world. We introduced you all to Robert Hass, and many of you had some incredible examinations of this intersection. In learning event 5, we’ll continue to explore the work of Robert Hass, and identify connections between his work, and our “worlds.” Please review Greg McVerry’s blog post from earlier tonight on more of the specifics for this week.
Last week in introducing you to Robert Hass, many of you started off by examining the poem, Meditation at Lagunitas. This week we ask that you focus your thoughts, works, and expressions of identity on the poem Letter to a Poet.
Letter to a Poet
A mockingbird leans
from the walnut, bellies,
riffling white, accomplishes
his perch upon the eaves.
I witnessed this act of grace
in blind California
in the January sun
where families bicycle on Saturday
and the mother with high cheekbones
and coffee-colored iridescent
hair curses her child
in the language of Pushkin–
John, I am dull from
thinking of your pain,
this mimic world
which make us stupid
with the totem griefs
we hope will give us
power to look at trees,
at stones, one brute to another
like poems on a page.
What can I say, my friend?
There are tricks of animal grace,
poems in the mind
we survive on. It isn’t much.
You are 4,000 miles away &
this world did not invite us.
In your response explore some, all, or none of these prompts:
What words or phrases spoke to you and influence the overall meaning of the poem?
What does this poem suggest about human connections and isolation?
What does Hass suggest about the ways we are, and are not, part of the world?
How do your walks demonstrate a connection or isolation to the natural world?
As an extra layer of support, and to entice you all to examine, and annotate poetry collaboratively, we uploaded this piece to PoetryGenius. You can find Letter to a Poet here. For those of you still on learning event 4, you can find Meditation at Lagunitas here.
Image CC by PoetryFoundation