Friday, November 13, 2009

Alberto Blanco, "The Parakeets"

In my classes this week, we read and discussed Alberto Blanco's "The Parakeets." The focus was on personification and to what extent Blanco uses it in the poem, but we also delved into trickier territory, for example, asking how exactly does one talk to their shadow, or converse with silence -- isn't silence the opposite of talking? We also discussed Blanco's use of repetition in the poem -- what exactly he chose to repeat, possible reasons why, and what ultimate effect was achieved by doing so. Finally, we focused on the last two lines and why they were important. (I actively endorse good closure in a poem -- not necessarily simply for effect, nor for the sake of a contrived epiphany, but as a methodology for leaving the poem with a sense that you as reader have made a trek, from the equally-important opening, through the mysterious terrain of its body, to a predetermined destination. Admittedly, sometimes in a poem it's the journey and not the destination that matters, but more often than not a good ending gives the reader information that prompts them to re-explore the poem anew, and see it afresh, starting again at the beginning.)

Here are student poems from Shields and from Solomon schools. Enjoy!

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