Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Poetry Appreciation: The Bells by Edgar Allen Poe

Poetry appreciation for us has been a somewhat haphazard affair to date. However, this term I have actually scheduled it into our week and so I am hopeful we will be able to spend more time on it. My girls loved the Brave Writer Poetry class that they participated in a few terms ago and so writing and reading poetry is something they've come to enjoy a great deal. My plan this term is to focus on a few common poetic devices and thus to choose poems that demonstrate those elements.

Last week's elements were Alliteration (something they are already familiar with) and Onomatopoeia. I printed off these colourful wall cards which define each term and I will stick it on our wall each week as I go through the different terms so that the girls can refer to them at any time.

I chose The Bells by Edgar Allen Poe which is an excellent example of both poetic terms. Before  we delved into the poem, I introduced the definition of the two terms. We then looked at some simple examples of onomatopoeia from here. I found this fun interactive activity to help the kids form their own sounds and words to further enhance their understanding of the use onomatopoeia.  

I think this poem is one that really needs to be heard. So instead of me reading the poem out loud, I let them listen to this fascinating rendition of The Bells.

We were very taken by the musicality and tone of the poem and the way it was read by the late Nelson Olmsted ( an American broadcaster and and actor from the 1950s)  and this led the girls onto wanting to hear how other people had approached the reading of this poem. So we checked out some other youtube videos and also some choral renditions of the poem. 

It is a very long poem and we did not spend a long time analyzing it (not this time round anyway).  My goal was for them to experience the poem and the way it sounded when it was read. We did, however, spend some time talking about what the poem meant and the way the sounds enhanced what he was trying to say. You can find some helpful analysis of the poem here. 


Anonymous said...

Many thanks for this poem-resource. We came across the Bells of E.A. Poe (I believe via SBW' books) and we read this long poem. I wish I had your resources then. I will look at them and read the poem again. I had the feeling the bells, bells, bells...are the (sound of the) bells. Right?

MamaChi said...

Hi Paula, you are right about the bells. It really comes across in the reading doesn't it? Happy bells, alarm bells and the mournful bells. I really love the art on your blog and your daughter's work is awesome! Can you come teach my girls?!

Anonymous said...

Oh, I wish I could. I would teach your girls and then plan extensive fieldwork to see the beauty of NZ. :-)


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