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Lesson Plans

Stories/Poems to use in the (High School) Classroom - Long post

From: Stephanie Krause (frostyoranges)
Date: Sat Aug 12 2000 - 17:40:31 PDT

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    Hello everyone,

    Thanks for your advice about the glazes!

    Next on the agenda: writings. As I mentioned, I'll be teaching high school
    - which I'm excited about because I can give them stories/poems/articles to
    take home, read, and discuss (yes, you could do this with younger grades -
    but I wouldn't with longer or more advanced readings). I'm especially
    interested in finding short stories or poems that could somehow be connected
    to projects. For example, I have one short story, Ray Bradbury's "The
    Picasso Summer," which I'm going to give to my drawing students. It's about
    a man who's obsessed with art, especially Picasso. He goes with his wife to
    vacation on the shore in France - and one night, he's the last person out of
    the ocean at sunset, and walking back up toward the hotel he sees a little
    old man pick up a popsicle stick and start drawing in the sand along the
    beach...long story short, !surprise!, it's Picasso, but it's too late for
    the man to run for his camera (sun's setting), too late to do anything to
    capture the moment, too late to do anything but watch helplessly as Picasso
    finishes his drawing and walks away and the sun goes down. It ends with the
    man paralyzed with horror at dinner as he hears the sound of the tide coming
    in. (Unfortunately, though I love the idea behind the story, it's NOT one
    of Bradbury's best - rather poorly written; it's irritatingly flowery.) But
    I'm going to have my drawing students read it all the same, and use it to
    spark discussion on a variety of points as well as introduce some quick
    exercises about drawing with alternative materials (ie, sticks in sand). I
    have one other story by Roald Dahl, "Parson's Pleasure," more to spark an
    aesthetics discussion than anything else. But I'm looking for MORE! Any
    suggestions? Please post 'em!

    Also - I'd like to suggest a poetry book to all of you - it's out of print,
    but if you can get your hands on it, it's called _The Poet Dreaming in the
    Artist's House: Contemporary Poems About the Visual Arts_, edited by Emilie
    Buchwald and Ruth Roston. I got my copy last year through (if you don't know about this site, it's the best used
    book site ever). It's a neat collection of poems, divided into sections
    (Portraits of the Artist, Scenes, Still Lives, The Thing Itself) - including
    a good selection of poets' interpretations of particular works of art (i.e.,
    there are two about Hokusai's "Great Wave"). Here, I'll type one poem for
    you that I find very interesting:
    by Edward Tick

    Kandinsky: "Improvisation No. 27"

    A bull.
    A fence.
    A monk.
    An angel in despair.

    A bull's nostrils singed with blood.
    A fence that separates a torso
    from the green of its grave.
    An angel in despair.

    Blood cascading through a bull's hot brain.
    A fence with honed pickets.
    Torso of a monk.
    An angel in despair.

    A bull wrinkled with death.
    A monk mediating on death.
    A fence capable of death.
    An angel impossible in death.

    A bull with hot wings stampeding in its pasture.
    A monk blinded by his search for wings.
    A fence of stakes crossed like wings.
    A wingless angel despairs.

    Angel: eternally in despair.

    Art's whatever we see in it huh?

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