• 12th Grade Poetry Summer Reading Assignments

     

    HONORS:
     

    1. REQUIRED: Read and sticky note your favorite and least favorite poems in Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry by Billy Collins.

       Be prepared to write an essay during the first week of school.

     

    2. REQUIRED CHOICE: Read one book from the list below. As you read, you must create an annotated anthology of your ten favorite poems. 

    Click here for instructions on creating this anthology.

     
    - Ariel by Sylvia Plath 
    - The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats by Y.W. Yeats
    - The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology  of Poetic Forms by Mark Strand and Eavan Boland  
    - Leaves of Grass, the first edition (1855) by Walt Whitman 
    - Poems to Read: A New Favorite Poem Project Anthology by  Robery Pinsky and Maggie Dietz
    - Selected Poems by Edna St. James Vincent Millay 
     

    You will also participate in an online discussion of this book during the first week of school.

     
    3. REQUIRED: College Personal Essay Brainstorming

    One of the best methods of brainstorming for your college essay is to begin with a grand list of potential topics and slowly let the best rise to the top. In order to generate a laundry list of important people, events, accomplishments, and activities in your life, fill in the worksheet below. 
    Click here to access the Brainstorming Worksheet


     

    CP:

     1. REQUIRED: Read and sticky note your favorite and least favorite poems in Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry by Billy Collins. 

          Be prepared to write an essay during the first week of school.

     

    2. REQUIRED: Create an annotated anthology of your ten favorite poems from the websites listed below. Click here for instructions on creating this anthology.

    www.poetryfoundation.org/

    www.poets.org/

    www.poetryoutloud.org/

     

    3. REQUIRED: College Personal Essay Brainstorming: Due the first week of school

    One of the best methods of brainstorming for your college essay is to begin with a grand list of potential topics and  slowly let the best rise to the top. In order to generate a laundry list of important people,  events, accomplishments and activities in your life, fill in the worksheet below.  
    Click here to access the Brainstorming Worksheet
     
  • 1. HONORS and CP REQUIRED
     

     

    Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry by Billy Collins

    A 180-degree turn implies a turning back—in this case, to poetry. A collection of 180 poems by the most exciting poets at work today, Poetry 180 represents the richness and diversity of the form, and is designed to beckon readers with a selection of poems that are impossible not to love at first glance. Open the anthology to any page and discover a new poem to cherish, or savor all the poems, one at a time, to feel the full measure of contemporary poetry’s vibrance and abundance.

     

    Reviews:

    “A dazzling new anthology of 180 contemporary poems, selected and introduced by America’s Poet Laureate, Billy Collins.” -Google Books 

     

    “Inspired by Billy Collins’s poem-a-day program with the Library of Congress, Poetry 180 is the perfect anthology for readers who appreciate engaging, thoughtful poems that are an immediate pleasure.” -Goodreads.com

  • 2. HONORS REQUIRED CHOICE
    Read one book from the six listed below.

     

    Ariel by Sylvia Plath

    "Ariel" depicts a woman riding her horse in the countryside, at the very break of dawn. It details the ecstasy and personal transformation that occurs through the experience. Written in the last year before Plath’s suicide, the poems in Ariel have an urgency that compels the reader to see the burning brilliance of the world. Ariel provides new perspectives on illness, motherhood, rivalry, resentment, and beekeeping. You will never look at a mirror, an elm tree, or a thumb the same way again.
     

     

    Reviews:

    “It is impossible not to welcome this lovingly produced volume; its facsimile pages add an extra dimension to the vividness and vigor of Plath's unique poetic voice.” -Erica Wagner 

     

    “We are forced by this new Ariel to stop and reacquaint ourselves with the unassailable force that is Plath the poet.” -Scotland on Sunday

      

    Good choice for a student who… 

    savors the sounds of language and appreciates vivid imagery that is at once unnerving and breathtakingly beautiful.

  • Leaves of Grass, the First Edition (1855) by Walt Whitman

    Leaves of Grass is a collection of poetry written over Walt Whitman's entire lifetime organized thematically into sections. Whitman revised and added to the book throughout his life, the final edition being published only months before his death in 1891. Whitman was intentional in not organizing the book in any chronological way. Instead, he was concerned with the journey of the poetry. He desired that the reader would see a self formed through the words and themes of the book.

     

    Reviews:

    "I am not blind to the worth of the wonderful gift of Leaves of Grass. I find it the most extraordinary piece of wit and wisdom that America has yet contributed. . . . I rubbed my eyes a little to see if this sunbeam were no illusion; but the solid sense of the book is a sober certainty.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

     

    Good choice for a student who… 

    enjoyed reading Whitman and the transcendentalists at the beginning of junior year and for fans of effusive, free verse poetry.

  • Selected Poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay

    One of America’s most celebrated poets—and winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1923—Edna St. Vincent Millay defined a generation with her passionate lyrics and intoxicating voice of liberation. Edited by Millay biographer Nancy Milford, this Modern Library Paperback Classics collection captures the poet’s unique spirit in works like Renascence and Other PoemsA Few Figs from This-tles, and Second April, as well as in “The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver” and eight sonnets from the early twenties. As Milford writes in her Introduction, “These are the poems that made Edna St. Vincent Millay’s reputation when she was young. Saucy, insolent, flip, and defiant, her little verses sting the page.”

     

    Reviews:

    Edna St.Vincent Millay writes poetry of passion and power.” -Amazon.com

     

     

    Good choice for a student who… 

    enjoys reading traditional forms such as the sonnet, sometimes packed with surprisingly modern takes on love and life in the Roaring Twenties.

  •  
     

    The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats by W.B. Yeats

    W. B. Yeats was Romantic and Modernist, mystical dreamer and leader of the Irish Literary Revival, Nobel prizewinner, dramatist and, above all, poet. He began writing with the intention of putting his 'very self' into his poems. T. S. Eliot, one of many who proclaimed the Irishman's greatness, described him as 'one of those few whose history is the history of their own time, who are part of the consciousness of an age which cannot be understood without them'. For anyone interested in the literature of the late nineteenth century and the twentieth century, Yeats's work is essential. This volume gathers the full range of his published poetry, from the hauntingly beautiful early lyrics (by which he is still fondly remembered) to the magnificent later poems which put beyond question his status as major poet of modern times. Paradoxical, proud and passionate, Yeats speaks today as eloquently as ever.

     

    Reviews:

    “Yeats extends the meaning of love poetry beyond the obviously romantic: love becomes a revolutionary emotion, attaching the poet to friends, history, and the passionate life of the mind.” -Kerry Fried

     

    Good choice for a student who… 

    wants to read poems on a range of subjects from retellings of Irish fairytales to mystical visions of the apocalypse written in finely crafted rhyme and meter.

  • The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms by Mark Strand and Eavan Boland

    Two of our foremost poets provide here a lucid, straightforward primer that "looks squarely at some of the headaches and mysteries of poetic form": a book for readers who have always felt that an understanding of form (sonnet, ballad, villanelle, sestina, among others) would enhance their appreciation of poetry. Tracing "the exuberant history of forms," they devote one chapter to each form, offering explanation, close reading, and a rich selection of exemplars that amply demonstrate the power and possibility of that form

     

    Reviews:


    "A fresh take on the ever new pleasure of reading poems.... illuminating, energetic and very American.” -Carol Muske-Dukes, Los Angeles Times
     

    “A good start for people who have read very little poetry.” -Teresa Elsey, Harvard Book Review


    Good choice for a student who… 

    is curious about why poets structure their poems the way that they do and who would like to read a variety of poems from a variety of time periods.

  • Poems to Read: A New Favorite Poem Project Anthology by Robert Pinsky and Maggie Dietz

    For a reader unaccustomed to reading poetry, or who has fallen away from the custom, this collection offers an inviting way into the art, or back into it. For readers devoted to poetry, it offers illuminating examples of the infinitely various ways a poem reaches a reader.

    The anthology presents poems by Donne, Shakespeare, Brooks, Ginsberg, and many contemporary poets as selected by people from across the United States—a police officer, an engineer, a refugee, a doctor—each of whom speaks about his or her connection to the poem. Their comments are variously poignant, funny, heartening, tart, penetrating, and eccentric, showing some of the ways poetry is alive for American readers.

     

    Reviews:

    “A fresh take on the ever new pleasure of reading poems.... illuminating, energetic and very American.”- Carol Muske-Dukes, Los Angeles Times


    “A good start for people who have read very little poetry.” -Teresa Elsey, Harvard Book Review


    “The magic of [this anthology] is that they [is]...revelatory to both poetry beginners and longtime poetry readers.” -Jeff Simon, Buffalo News

     

    Good choice for a student who… 

    enjoys hearing people’s personal stories about why they have connected with particular poems and who would like to read a variety of poems from a variety of time periods.