Themes Across Genres: Nature Poetry

Themes Across Genres:
Nature Poetry
Nature as a Reflection of
Faith and Doubt in "Dover Beach” p.
In this poem:
• Nature, especially the sea, is a metaphor. What
does it stand for?
• Do you think that this poem is ultimately
pessimistic? About faith? About life? Why or why
• Why do you make of the allusion to Sophocles
in lines 15-20? Why do you think he includes
• What else can we say about Arnold's use of
nature in this poem?
Nature as a source of self-knowledge?
• In all of these works, the speaker or
main character experiences an
epiphany, a moment of realization.
• What does each of these characters
know at the end of the work that they
did not know at the beginning? What
did they have to go through to get
Attitudes Towards Nature
• If you had to describe these authors'
attitudes toward nature, what would you say
about each of them?
• In “How to Build a Fire”, how does the
relationship between the man and the dog
change over the course of the short story,
and what do you think that says about
London’s attitude towards “human”
Langston Hughes: “The Negro
Speaks of Rivers” p. 686
• Our friend Langston again!
• How is this poem similar to “Negro”?
• Why does this poem focus on a geographical feature?
How does that give focus to the poem?
• Can this poem meant to be seen as a companion to
• How so? How do we know? What evidence do you see for
Mary Oliver “Wild Geese” p. 634
• This poem expresses a view of nature that is a little
different than the other’s we have looked at.
• This poem expresses nature and humanity as one.
• Where do we find evidence of this in this poem?
• This poem views the relationship between humanity and
nature as one of inspiration, oneness, and healing.
• That although we rush around and worry and think of
ourselves as so separate and isolated from the world, we are
part of a greater whole, and that realizing that, noticing
nature and seeing ourselves as a part of it and not apart
from it, we can heal.
Robert Frost: “Stopping by Woods
on a Snowy Evening” p. 680
• This is probably one of the most famous nature poems in
the world, but is it really about nature?
• Many people argue it is not.
• What is it about? Anyone want to give us their
interpretation of this poem?
Essay 2: Themes in Poetry
• We have been discussing themes over the past 2 weeks:
• Love
• Nature
• War
• There are many, MANY other themes in literature of course.
• What are a few you can think of?
• We have also been reading a lot of poetry.
• Essay 2 asks that you explore a theme in
poetry and compare/contrast poems in
relation to their treatment of a
particular theme.
• [Pass out the prompt and discuss.]
From Last Week: Strange Love
• Last week when we discussed our “Strange Love Poems” I
gave you all a challenge for extra credit to write a love
poem with as many gross words/images as you could.
• Did anyone do this?
• Would you like to share it with us? 
Next Week’s Theme: War
• Tuesday, March 24 Themes Across Genres: War
Homework Due:
• Read 1 short story and two poems and do Read & Respond:
• Short Story: Tim O’Brian’s “The Things They Carried” p. 269-281
• Poem: Denise Levertov “What Were They Like?” (handout)
• Poem: Yusef Komunyakaa “Facing It” (handout)
• NOTE: all three of these works are about the same war—make sure
you understand which one.
• Thursday, March 26 Topics: War Poetry
Homework Due:
• Read 3 Poems and do Read & Respond:
Richard Lovelace “To Lucasta: Going to the Wars” p. 527,
Wilfred Owen “Dulce et Decorum Est” p. 642,
Yusef Komunyakaa “Facing It” (handout)
Wislawa Szymborska “The End and the Beginning” p. 648