Sign up to receive our weekly series for teachers, featuring a poem for K students, accompanied by related interdisciplinary resources and classroom activities Email Enter your email to sign up Lesson Plans about Translation The following lesson plans feature poems in translation, at times alongside the original High School. Take a look at our brand-new Poetry in the Classroom Calendar, a downloadable, interactive PDF designed to inspire ideas for teaching poetry throughout each month, with links to related lesson plans, activities, and other resources.
With a special introduction by Education Ambassador Richard Blanco, this brief video guide for teachers highlights the many educational resources available on Poets. Madeleine Fuchs Holzer. During National Poetry Month , the Academy of American Poets received letters from over two thousand young people —fifth through twelfth graders from more than seventy public and private schools in major cities and rural areas across twenty-eight states.
These students were participating in Dear Poet , the free, multimedia education project we designed to help teachers engage their students in poetry.
To participate, young people watch videos of the award-winning poets who serve on the Academy of American Poets Board of Chancellors reading one of their poems aloud. After watching the videos and reading the poems, students write letters to the featured poet of their choice. The poets write back to select letters, and the correspondence is published on Poets. In the letters we received this year, many of these young people shared that, while they were initially resistant to poetry, they found themselves surprised and excited to read contemporary poems that felt important to them.
Learn more about the current Dear Poet project and how to participate. I was reluctant to complete this project at first, but hearing your poem changed my perspective of poetry. I believe that when an author reads their own poem, it can change the poem entirely…. I just want to thank you so much for being part of the Dear Poet project and for being willing to correspond with teens across the U.
The project also introduces teachers and students to contemporary poets whose work they might not otherwise encounter and to poems addressing a wide range of topics relevant to young people today. I think this is why your poem resonated with me so much. It allows people, like me, to want to help out in any possible way. A twelfth grader in Berthoud, Colorado, Nina, pointed to another especially powerful role poetry can play in the lives of young people. I have never connected with something so much. Their letters to her speak of grief, and comfort, and an evolving understanding of both happiness and loss.
This, too, is the power of Dear Poet, which narrows the field of poetry—often daunting to students and educators—into a single connection between a poet and a young reader, who could be anywhere, and who has the rare opportunity to write back. This article was originally featured in the Fall-Winter issue of American Poets. To participate, students watch videos of these poets reading their poems aloud and write letters in response to the poet of their choosing. They mail or email their letters to the Academy of American Poets office, and, after carefully reading each and every letter, we select a multitude to share on Poets.
Materials for Teachers Materials for Teachers Home. Poems for Kids. Poems for Teens. Lesson Plans. Teach this Poem. But it is not the purely imaginative poems in this volume that most deeply interest us. We come upon experience of life in these pages; not in the ordinary sense, however, of outward activity and movement, but in the hidden undercurrent of being. Difficult to analyze, difficult above all to convey, if we would not encroach upon the domain of private and personal experience, is the drift of this poem, or rather cycle of poems, that ring throughout with a deeper accent and a more direct appeal than has yet made itself felt.
It is the drama of the human soul,—"the mystic winged and flickering butterfly," "flitting between earth and sky," in its passage from birth to death. A golden morning of June! Such is youth, a June day, fair and fresh and tender with dreams and longing and vague desire. The morn lingers and passes, but the noon has not reached its height before the clouds begin to rise, the sunshine dies, the air grows thick and heavy, the lightnings flash, the thunder breaks among the hills, rolls and gathers and grows, until.
Now we have the phases of the soul,—the shock and surprise of grief in the face of the world made desolate. Loneliness and despair for a space, and then, like stars in the night, the new births of the spirit, the wonderful outcoming from sorrow: the mild light of patience at first; hope and faith kindled afresh in the very jaws of evil; the new meaning and worth of life beyond sorrow, beyond joy; and finally duty, the holiest word of all, that leads at last to victory and peace.
The poem rounds and completes itself with the close of "the long, rich day," and the release of.
We have dwelt at some length upon this poem, which seems to us, in a certain sense, subjective and biographical; but upon closer analysis there is still another conclusion to arrive at. In "Epochs" we have, doubtless, the impress of a calamity brought very near to the writer, and profoundly working upon her sensibilities; not however by direct, but reflex action, as it were, and through sympathetic emotion—the emotion of the deeply-stirred spectator, of the artist, the poet who lives in the lives of others, and makes their joys and their sorrows his own.
Before dismissing this volume we may point out another clue as to the shaping of mind and character. The poem of "Admetus" is dedicated "to my friend Ralph Waldo Emerson. As she afterwards wrote: "To how many thousand youthful hearts has not his word been the beacon—nay, more, the guiding star—that led them safely through periods of mental storm and struggle! Left, to a certain extent, without compass or guide, without any positive or effective religious training, this was the first great moral revelation of her life. We can easily realize the chaos and ferment of an over-stimulated brain, steeped in romantic literature, and given over to the wayward leadings of the imagination.
Who can tell what is true, what is false, in a world where fantasy is as real as fact? Emerson's word fell like truth itself, "a shaft of light shot from the zenith," a golden rule of thought and action. His books were bread and wine to her, and she absorbed them into her very being. She felt herself invincibly drawn to the master, "that fount of wisdom and goodness," and it was her great privilege during these years to be brought into personal relations with him.
From the first he showed her a marked interest and sympathy, which became for her one of the most valued possessions of her life. He criticised her work with the fine appreciation and discrimination that made him quick to discern the quality of her talent as well as of her personality, and he was no doubt attracted by her almost transparent sincerity and singleness of soul, as well as by the simplicity and modesty that would have been unusual even in a person not gifted.
He constituted himself, in a way, her literary mentor, advised her as to the books she should read and the attitude of mind she should cultivate. For some years he corresponded with her very faithfully; his letters are full of noble and characteristic utterances, and give evidence of a warm regard that in itself was a stimulus and a high incentive. But encouragement even from so illustrious a source failed to elate the young poetess, or even to give her a due sense of the importance and value of her work, or the dignity of her vocation.
We have already alluded to her modesty in her unwillingness to assert herself or claim any prerogative,—something even morbid and exaggerated, which we know not how to define, whether as over- sensitiveness or indifference.
Once finished, the heat and glow of composition spent, her writings apparently ceased to interest her. She often resented any allusion to them on the part of intimate friends, and the public verdict as to their excellence could not reassure or satisfy her. The explanation is not far, perhaps, to seek. Was it not the "Ewig-Weibliche" that allows no prestige but its own? Emma Lazarus was a true woman, too distinctly feminine to wish to be exceptional, or to stand alone and apart, even by virtue of superiority.
A word now as to her life and surroundings.
She was one of a family of seven, and her parents were both living. Her winters were passed in New York, and her summers by the sea. In both places her life was essentially quiet and retired. The success of her book had been mainly in the world of letters.
In no wise tricked out to catch the public eye, her writings had not yet made her a conspicuous figure, but were destined slowly to take their proper place and give her the rank that she afterwards held. For some years now almost everything that she wrote was published in "Lippincott's Magazine," then edited by John Foster Kirk, and we shall still find in her poems the method and movement of her life.
Nature is still the fount and mirror, reflecting, and again reflected, in the soul. We have picture after picture, almost to satiety, until we grow conscious of a lack of substance and body and of vital play to the thought, as though the brain were spending itself in dreamings and reverie, the heart feeding upon itself, and the life choked by its own fullness without due outlet. Happily, however, the heavy cloud of sadness has lifted, and we feel the subsidence of waves after a storm.
She sings "Matins:"—. Nature is the perpetual resource and consolation. She gives us the breath of the pines and of the cool, salt seas, "illimitably sparkling. Like "Epochs," it is a cycle of poems, and the verse has caught the very trick of music,—alluring, baffling, and evasive. This time we have the landscape of the night, the glamour of moon and stars,—pictures half real and half unreal, mystic imaginings, fancies, dreams, and the enchantment of "faerie," and throughout the unanswered cry, the eternal "Wherefore" of destiny. Dawn ends the song with a fine clear note, the return of day, night's misty phantoms rolled away, and the world itself, again green, sparkling and breathing freshness.
In she published "Alide," a romance in prose drawn from Goethe's autobiography. It may be of interest to quote the letter she received from Tourgeneff on this occasion:—. About this time occurred the death of her mother, the first break in the home and family circle. In August of she made a visit to Concord, at the Emersons', memorable enough for her to keep a journal and note down every incident and detail. Very touching to read now, in its almost childlike simplicity, is this record of "persons that pass and shadows that remain.
Emerson himself meets her at the station, and drives with her in his little one-horse wagon to his home, the gray square house, with dark green blinds, set amidst noble trees. A glimpse of the family,—"the stately, white-haired Mrs. Emerson, and the beautiful, faithful Ellen, whose figure seems always to stand by the side of her august father.
She meets the little set of Concord people: Mr. Alcott, for whom she does not share Mr. Emerson's enthusiasm; and William Ellery Channing, whose figure stands out like a gnarled and twisted scrub-oak,—a pathetic, impossible creature, whose cranks and oddities were submitted to on account of an innate nobility of character.
I do not know whether I was most touched by the thought of the unique, lofty character that had inspired this depth and fervor of friendship, or by the pathetic constancy and pure affection of the poor, desolate old man before me, who tried to conceal his tenderness and sense of irremediable loss by a show of gruffness and philosophy. He never speaks of Thoreau's death," she says, "but always 'Thoreau's loss,' or 'when I lost Mr.
Thoreau,' or 'when Mr. Thoreau went away from Concord;' nor would he confess that he missed him, for there was not a day, an hour, a moment, when he did not feel that his friend was still with him and had never left him. And yet a day or two after," she goes on to say, "when I sat with him in the sunlit wood, looking at the gorgeous blue and silver summer sky, he turned to me and said: 'Just half of the world died for me when I lost Mr.
None of it looks the same as when I looked at it with him. He took me through the woods and pointed out to me every spot visited and described by his friend. Where the hut stood is a little pile of stones, and a sign, 'Site of Thoreau's Hut,' and a few steps beyond is the pond with thickly-wooded shore,—everything exquisitely peaceful and beautiful in the afternoon light, and not a sound to be heard except the crickets or the 'z-ing' of the locusts which Thoreau has described.
Farther on he pointed out to me, in the distant landscape, a low roof, the only one visible, which was the roof of Thoreau's birthplace. He had been over there many times, he said, since he lost Mr. Thoreau, but had never gone in,—he was afraid it might look lonely!
But he had often sat on a rock in front of the house and looked at it. Channing gave her a package, which proved to be a copy of his own book on Thoreau, and the pocket compass which Thoreau carried to the Maine woods and on all his excursions. Before leaving the Emersons she received the proof-sheets of her drama of "The Spagnoletto," which was being printed for private circulation.
She showed them to Mr. Emerson, who had expressed a wish to see them, and, after reading them, he gave them back to her with the comment that they were "good. He laughed, and said he did not know of any; but he went on to tell her that he had taken it up, not expecting to read it through, and had not been able to put it down.
Language itself is the focal point of fiction writer Johnson's (Pagan Babies) first collection of poetry: the words family and doctors don't say to those who are. Aid and comfort: poems ARCHITECTURE: COMFORT AND ENERGY This Page Intentionally Left Blank ARCHITECTURE: COMFORT AND ENERGY Editors.
Every word and line told of richness in the poetry, he said, and as far as he could judge the play had great dramatic opportunities. Early in the autumn "The Spagnoletto" appeared,—a tragedy in five acts, the scene laid in Italy, Without a doubt, every one in these days will take up with misgiving, and like Mr. Emerson "not expecting to read it through," a five-act tragedy of the seventeenth century, so far removed apparently from the age and present actualities,—so opposed to the "Modernite," which has come to be the last word of art.
Moreover, great names at once appear; great shades arise to rebuke the presumptuous new-comer in this highest realm of expression. The denoument especially is unfortunate, and sins against our moral and aesthetic instinct. The wretched, tiger-like father stabs himself in the presence of his crushed and erring daughter, so that she may forever be haunted by the horror and the retribution of his death. We are left suspended, as it were, over an abyss, our moral judgment thwarted, our humanity outraged.
But "The Spagnoletto" is, nevertheless, a remarkable production, and pitched in another key from anything the writer has yet given us. Heretofore we have only had quiet, reflective, passive emotion: now we have a storm and sweep of passion for which we were quite unprepared. Ribera's character is charged like a thunder-cloud with dramatic elements. Maria Rosa is the child of her father, fired at a flash, "deaf, dumb, and blind" at the touch of passion. Exquisitely tender and refined are the love scenes—at the ball and in the garden—between the dashing prince-lover in search of his pleasure and the devoted girl with her heart in her eyes, on her lips, in her hand.
All parts of this universe are inspired by their own intelligence : the sun is the visible embodiment of the supreme spirit; the planets are all divine or under the guidance of divine spirits; Plato speaks of the soul of the seven plants : the Earth also is a divine being. Browning and Tennyson came strongly under his spell. Has that eager, passionate striving ceased, and "is the rest silence? Very touching to read now, in its almost childlike simplicity, is this record of "persons that pass and shadows that remain. In Rosalind and Helen, Shelley disagrees with a loveless marriage. Reed points out. Once again, want to regain the happiness that walk fun
Behind them, always like a tragic fate, the somber figure of the Spagnoletto, and over all the glow and color and soul of Italy. In appeared the translation of Heine's poems and ballads, which was generally accepted as the best version of that untranslatable poet. Very curious is the link between that bitter, mocking, cynic spirit and the refined, gentle spirit of Emma Lazarus. Charmed by the magic of his verse, the iridescent play of his fancy, and the sudden cry of the heart piercing through it all, she is as yet unaware or only vaguely conscious of the of the real bond between them: the sympathy in the blood, the deep, tragic, Judaic passion of eighteen hundred years that was smouldering in her own heart, soon to break out and change the whole current of thought and feeling.
Already, in , the storm was gathering. In a distant province of Russia at first, then on the banks of the Volga, and finally in Moscow itself, the old cry was raised, the hideous mediaeval charge revived, and the standard of persecution unfurled against the Jews.
Province after province took it up. In Bulgaria, Servia, and, above all, Roumania, where, we were told, the sword of the Czar had been drawn to protect the oppressed, Christian atrocities took the place of Moslem atrocities, and history turned a page backward into the dark annals of violence and crime. And not alone in despotic Russia, but in Germany, the seat of modern philosophic thought and culture, the rage of Anti-Semitism broke out and spread with fatal ease and potency.
In Berlin itself tumults and riots were threatened. We in America could scarcely comprehend the situation or credit the reports, and for a while we shut our eyes and ears to the facts; but we were soon rudely awakened from our insensibility, and forced to face the truth. It was in England that the voice was first raised in behalf of justice and humanity.
In January, , there appeared in the "London Times" a series of articles, carefully compiled on the testimony of eye-witnesses, and confirmed by official documents, records, etc. We do not need to recall the sickening details. Nor need we recall the generous outburst of sympathy and indignation from America. Evarts in the meeting at Chickering Hall Wednesday evening, February 4; "it is that it is the oppression of men and women, and we are men and women. For Emma Lazarus it was a trumpet call that awoke slumbering and unguessed echoes.
All this time she had been seeking heroic ideals in alien stock, soulless and far removed; in pagan mythology and mystic, mediaeval Christianity, ignoring her very birthright,—the majestic vista of the past, down which, "high above flood and fire," had been conveyed the precious scroll of the Moral Law. Hitherto Judaism had been a dead letter to her. Of Portuguese descent, her family had always been members of the oldest and most orthodox congregation of New York, where strict adherence to custom and ceremonial was the watchword of faith; but it was only during her childhood and earliest years that she attended the synagogue, and conformed to the prescribed rites and usages which she had now long since abandoned as obsolete and having no bearing on modern life.
Nor had she any great enthusiasm for her own people. As late as April, , she published in "The Century Magazine" an article written probably some months before, entitled "Was the Earl of Beaconsfield a Representative Jew? In view of subsequent, or rather contemporaneous events, the closing paragraph of the article in question is worthy of being cited:—. By a curious, almost fateful juxtaposition, in the same number of the magazine appeared Madame Ragozin's defense of Russian barbarity, and in the following May number Emma Lazarus's impassioned appeal and reply, "Russian Christianity versus Modern Judaism.
Her verse rang out as it had never rung before,—a clarion note, calling a people to heroic action and unity, to the consciousness and fulfillment of a grand destiny. The dead forms burst their bonds and lived again. Her whole being renewed and refreshed itself at its very source. She threw herself into the study of her race, its language, literature, and history. Breaking the outward crust, she pierced to the heart of the faith and "the miracle" of its survival. What was it other than the ever-present, ever-vivifying spirit itself, which cannot die,—the religious and ethical zeal which fires the whole history of the people, and of which she herself felt the living glow within her own soul?
She had come upon the secret and the genius of Judaism,—that absolute interpenetration and transfusion of spirit with body and substance which, taken literally, often reduces itself to a question of food and drink, a dietary regulation, and again, in proper splendor, incarnates itself and shines out before humanity in the prophets, teachers, and saviors of mankind. Those were busy, fruitful years for Emma Lazarus, who worked, not with the pen alone, but in the field of practical and beneficent activity. For there was an immense task to accomplish.
The tide of immigration had set in, and ship after ship came laden with hunted human beings flying from their fellow-men, while all the time, like a tocsin, rang the terrible story of cruelty and persecution,—horrors that the pen refuses to dwell upon. By the hundreds and thousands they flocked upon our shores,—helpless, innocent victims of injustice and oppression, panic-stricken in the midst of strange and utterly new surroundings.
Emma Lazarus came into personal contact with these people, and visited them in their refuge on Ward Island.