13 October, 2010
William Cullen Bryant
In American Lit class this week, we read and discussed Bryant's Thanatopsis, then I sent the kids home with a copy of To a Waterfowl to add to their notebooks. What I like about the particular website that I've linked here, is that you can click on the highlighted words within the poem for literary insight or a definition. Pretty smart, I thought, because it is just a "tidbit" and not an over-analyzed page or two, which sometimes bleeds all the life out of the poem or work itself.
Bryant was considered America's first poet of importance. In fact, when publishers first read Bryant's work, Thanatopsis, they didn't believe such a work could ever have been produced on this side of the Atlantic. Ha!! Bryant's father was able to prove that it was his son's work (written at 17 with a few final lines added ten years later).
I set up the class time with a little discussion of the Romantic movement first, just to set the stage for these poems and the rest of the Romantics we will study for the next month or so, just before moving into the Transcentalist movement.
Next week, we'll delve more into the Fireside Poets.
It's good to dive into American Literature again.