POETRY 2

This week I’d like you to write a response to a sonnet, villanelle, or sestina of your choice from chapter 19. These fixed form poems can be found on pages 464-472 in the eText. As usual, I’ve included a few questions to get us started. What do you notice about the poem? How does the poem’s form relate to the poem’s content? Is there, for example, a particular rhyme scheme or the repetition of a certain line? Is there a particular meter? As you think about your chosen poem, I’d like you to consider the technical challenges of writing a fixed form poem. I look forward to reading your thoughts on this week’s readings.

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poem of choice (sonnet)

John Keats (1795–1821)

On First Looking into Chapman’s Homerº1816

Chapman’s Homer: Before reading George Chapman’s (ca. 1560–1634) poetic Elizabethan translations of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, Keats had known only stilted and pedestrian eighteenth- century translations.© Corbis.

Much have I traveled in the realms of gold,

And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;

Round many western islands have I been

Which bards in fealty to Apollo° hold.

4 Apollo: Greek god of poetry.

Oft of one wide expanse had I been told

That deep-browed Homer ruled as his demesne;

Yet did I never breathe its pure serene°atmosphere

Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold:

Then felt I like some watcher of the skies

When a new planet swims into his ken;10

Or like stout Cortez° when with eagle eyes

11 Cortez: Vasco Núñez de Balboa, not Hernando Cortés, was the first European to sight the Pacific from Darien, a peak in Panama.

He stared at the Pacific — and all his men

Looked at each other with a wild surmise —

Silent, upon a peak in Darien.

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