Posted by Alex on .
I’m not really good at reading poems and I need help on these two poems “Linage” by Margaret Walker and “The Courage My Mother Had” by Edna St. Vincent Millay I constantly read the poems but still don’t understand what their saying I know they where slaves but what are they trying to say please help if you can
Poetry is my favorite thing because the poet must say in very few words what some one you write out in prose. If there is a rhyme scheme it makes it even more difficult. Poetry should really be read outloud; have you tried that?
Poetry takes your full attention and here is a Website that explains "How to read Poetry" here:
Please study that carefully and then ask any questions you might have. I'll be back to see how you have done.
- Poetry - Ms. Sue,
Since you have not gotten back to us, I'll add a few things here.
Poetry forces you to THINK and that is not easy! When you read a poem, if you know the background of the poet, the era when the poem was written, you can better understand the sentiments and feelings that the poem is meant to convey.
1. Lineage = be sure you spell it correctly, by Margaret Walker is written by an African/American about her Grandmothers. They had to be strong to survive but listen to some negro spirituals and you'll better understand why they were singing. The poet speaks with pride in her ancestors and yet she rather resents the fact that she herself does not feel strong.
Here is something marvelous that the University of Kansas has done. They have set some of Margaret Walker's poems to music. The program itself is called "Lineage" but it will be the fourth poem they do. For the first 3, just close your eyes, listen to the words and music and see what sort of "feeling" you get. On the poem "Lineage" itself, the piano music and the photos they use can make the words of the poem much more meaningful:
2. The Courage My Mother Had by Edna St. Vincent Millay is also about a predecessor, her Mother. Although she treasures the golen brooch her Mother left her, she resents the fact that she did not inherit her Mother's courage. Note the vocabulary - rock, quarry, New England (very rocky)...a hard environment either defeats you or you MUST develop courage to survive it!