22 September, 2010

Ann Bradstreet Poetry

This year, I am teaching American Lit to our last two teens. We are moving in a Chronological order of time periods, so we began with some Native American writings (including a perusal of The Iroquois Constitution, which is quite sophisticated and inclusive of women, as well). We discussed Anne Bradstreet, the first female American poet today, and read through some of her poetry, which focuses on matters of daily living in the time of the Puritans.

Perhaps the one she best-known for is "To My Dear and Loving Husband."

This is the one we read today in class:

"By Night when Others Soundly Slept"

By night when others soundly slept
And hath at once both ease and Rest,
My waking eyes were open kept
And so to lie I found it best.

I sought him whom my Soul did Love,
With tears I sought him earnestly.
He bow'd his ear down from Above.
In vain I did not seek or cry.

My hungry Soul he fill'd with Good;
He in his Bottle put my tears,
My smarting wounds washt in his blood,
And banisht thence my Doubts and fears.

What to my Saviour shall I give
Who freely hath done this for me?
I'll serve him here whilst I shall live
And Love him to Eternity.

We are also reading a decent chunk of William Bradford's own writings of the Separatists, the important events leading them to remove from England, on to "The Lowlands" and eventually travel to Cape Cod. We've all heard the Pilgrim stories, but I wanted to kids to read an original source document on this time and group in history.

We are taking an "overview" approach, not completely digging into everything with a fine-tooth comb. We'll also be covering different folklore, historical speeches, documents, maps, music, short stories, some journal entries, just a few novels, as well as poetry. Would love to explore a bit of natural history through the Lewis and Clark journals, but I'm not sure that we'll have time for that. I may make it available as an alternate assignment and paper/project.

Hope your school year has begun well! We are finally beginning to get into a decent groove.


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