Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute Home

Poetry and Paintings: A Comparative Study

Jane K. Marshall

Contents of Curriculum Unit 80.02.06:

To Guide Entry

Poetry is perhaps the most difficult of all literary forms to teach. Primarily due to a lack of exposure, children often view poetry as a precocious, trumped-up, and therefore ingenuine form of writing. The teacher becomes aware all too quickly that poetry is, in fact, an alien mode of expression for many. Her primary objective in teaching the genre then is to make poetry somehow accessible to her students.

Traditionally the vocabulary of poetry has been taught in a vacuum. That is, alien words are presented in a didactic manner which inevitably destroys the student’s spontaneous emotional reaction or discovery that is prerequisite to enjoying and understanding poetry. The teacher faces a dilemma. She cannot overlook the vocabulary of poetry. An awareness of the devices which define the genre is essential. Yet individual “discoveries” of poetic devices, given a class size of twenty, is difficult. Teachers of large groups cannot consistently and effectively engage students in a dialogue of sharing and discovery when introducing something new. Often teachers have no idea from what framework the individual student is starting. In engaging this new or alien form of writing—poetry—the class needs a unifying experience, a common denominator which will invite reaction, discussion, and finally discovery.

It stands to reason that poetry, which is generally ignored by today’s visual and auditory oriented society, could be more easily approached, understood, and judged if it were introduced through a natural coupling with a visual or auditory mode of expression. Teachers often introduce poetry via popular song lyrics. This provides students with a familiar framework which facilitates an introduction to the genre of poetry.

This unit proposes that a visual mode of expression could also be employed effectively when approaching poetry. Poetry and paintings lend themselves quite naturally to comparative study, for the artist in both cases “sees” the world; observation of detail, and the enjoyment of the meaning of detail, are inherent characteristics of the process of poet and artist alike.

Paintings, a familiar mode of expression, allow students an emotional reaction, while poetry (unfamiliar) often does not. Classroom experience indicates that individual responses to paintings are readily forthcoming and real. They are fresh, honest, and natural. This, then, is where the learning process can begin.

Once a student has reacted emotionally to a painting, the next level of understanding may be approached. This is the why or how of the artist. It is at this point that vocabulary, which is comparable to that used for poetry,is introduced. To put it simply, the teacher begins with paintings, and transfers the beginnings of understanding of this familiar mode of expression to the alien expression, poetry.

This unit is created with a ninth grade advanced English class in mind; it was in such a class that initial experiments of this nature were conducted, and met with some success. Presumably this method could be modified for use with other levels and/or grades.

A comparative vocabulary for poetry and paintings has been developed. Topics for lesson plans for the concurrent study of paintings and poetry deal with such terms as: mood, metaphor/symbol, pattern. Terms are introduced via the visual mode of expression, and then transferred to the written. Student understanding of each idea should be such that, as a final step, the student becomes artist/poet. That is, students could use these devices for the creation of their own forms of expression, visual and written. These art forms would be the result of their intellectual and emotional involvement with ideas and discoveries associated with paintings and poetry.

to top

Part One—MOOD

1. Students are asked to find words for different feelings. Student response: sad, happy, annoyed, bored, puzzled, etc.
2. Students are asked to think of colors which seem to fit each feeling.
3. A painting is introduced. Students are asked to verbalize how it makes them feel. What mood does it represent?
____Student reaction: free-flowing ideas and feelings.
4. Students are then asked why it makes them feel the way they do. How does it work?
____Student reaction: the question of color and form emerges.
5. A poem is introduced. Objective: How does it make you feel? Student reaction: honest, natural.
6. Why does it make you feel the way you do?
____Student reaction: imagery and metaphor emerge—although not labeled at this point.
7. Students are asked to represent mood with pieces of paper (various colors, various shapes) as a collage.
8. They are asked to represent the same mood with words.
(Sample poem—ninth grade student)


Around the corner
on the surface
piercing like a needle
surrounding my thoughts like an electric blanket
As if to rip open and shock you to death.
Alas comes the hero
whirling, whipping, shining bright
skipping, sliding, dancing across the
With a hip and hop
A jump and skip
And wash their tears away.

An Additional Lesson on MOOD:
This lesson attempts to zero in on mood as it relates to color. In this case, the color blue is studied.

1. Students are asked to free-associate and come up with thoughts and feelings associated with “blue.”
2. The discussion would consider: 1. temperature—water/coolness associated with blue, 2. vastness—the sky associated with blue. Also possibly spiritual connotations. 3. blue used to describe a mood. “I’m blue.” “THE BLUES” (music)
3. Representative paintings from Picasso’s blue period will be introduced. Students are asked to consider the following questions:
____1. Why did Picasso choose blue? 2. What does the color have to do with the theme of each work? 3. When is one “blue 4. What is the mood of each painting?
4. Songs associated with “blue”—“Am I Blue?”—Grant Clarke—Lyrics, Harry Akst—Music—“Black and Blue”—Andy Razaf—Lyrics, Thomas Waller and Harry Brooks—Music.
________The above are played in class. Students write personal reactions to each of the songs.
________Students discuss: 1. The “story” in each song, 2. How did each song reflect a “blue mood Tempo etc. is discussed.
5. Students are asked to visually depict “the blues.” Draw a picture which would be entitled “The Blues.”
________Students are also asked to depict their own representation of or condition for “the blues”—in words (poem).

to top


In thinking through this section on the comparative study of metaphor and symbol in poetry and paintings, I soon realized that some distinction would have to be made between what is meant by metaphor and what constitutes a symbol. In my mind, metaphor denotes an ongoing comparison between two unlike objects which have at least one characteristic in common. One object defines (a quality of) the other. Symbol, on the other hand, is that which stands for an emotion, thought or even a philosophy. In a sense, metaphors become symbols, and yet they are not always symbols. Symbols are usually generated from metaphors although the original meaning of the metaphor may be lost as the symbol begins to speak only for itself in the mind of readers or observers. I have endeavored to portray the process of this transition specifically in the section on Tennyson’s poem, “The Eagle,” as compared with the American eagle as a symbol of the USA (painting).

The next stumbling block I encountered was getting over the idea that symbols are more associated with paintings and metaphors with poetry. One quickly admits that poetry makes great use of symbols through allusions which make metaphors come alive in many instances. But how do metaphors work in art? The answer was to be found in Picasso’s “Baboon and Young”—a bronze statue which Picasso created from a toy car.

He took a toy car . . . and turned it into a baboon’s face. He could see the hood and windshield of the car as a face, and this fresh act of classification inspired him to put his find to the test. Here, as so often, the artist’s discovery of an unexpected use for the car has a twofold effect on us. We follow him not only in seeing a particular car as a baboon’s head but learn in the process a new way of articulating the world, a new metaphor, and when we are in the mood we may suddenly find the cars that block our way looking at us with that apish grin that is due to Picasso’s classification.2

A formal delineation of the difference between metaphor and symbol is not included in the lessons which follow. Instead, differences are implied through a study of the process of transition and/or the way metaphor and symbol work together.

This section is somewhat different from the previous one on “mood” in terms of strategy. Vocabulary is introduced earlier (symbol). The method remains intact however as symbol is quickly related to visual images for purposes of understanding. Students become artists/poets earlier in this section, rather than as a final culmination; active participation seems to me to be an effective way of engaging students in striving to understand this very important and rather complicated concept.

The following provides a brief summary of lessons and activities for this section.

Students are initially introduced to the concept of symbol through simple, readily-understandable or familiar examples. Psychological, religious, and philosophical symbols are introduced. The Star of David, for example, is analyzed. Students are asked to think of symbols as well as devise symbols (metaphors) of their own on various themes. Two paintings, rich in symbolism, are then presented. Students, having already formulated a basic understanding of the term, “symbol,” are led through an informal analysis of each painting which leads to discovery of symbolism as it relates to theme. Students are then ready to note symbols and metaphors in poetry. A poem is introduced along with a brief explanation of the terms simile and metaphor. Students are asked to comment on the mood and theme of the work (informally through questions). They are also expected to see symbols as they are often, in this particular work, related through comparisons or metaphors. An additional comparison of poetry and painting follows which emphasizes the transitions of metaphors and symbols. Finally, writing and artistic “exercises” are included which endeavor to enhance student understanding of these concepts and how they work, as well as trigger creative impulses among students.These exercises need not come at the end of this section, but might be introduced at various points, depending on class needs.

1. What is symbol? What does stand for?
(figure available in print form)
What does stand for?
(figure available in print form)
________The first obviously symbolizes a state of happiness, the second a state of unhappiness.
________(It might be interesting to note that opposite emotions are being presented and, in this instance, one symbol is the exact inverse of the other. Note: smile/frown, the positions of the eyes.)
2. A. The above is a symbol of an emotion or psychological condition. What does or stand for?
(figure available in print form)
(figure available in print form)
________(Religious significance) How does the symbol work? Why a star? a cross? (analysis of each symbol)
________How do we know that stands for Christianity? (Past experience; obviously, familiarity is essential.)
(figure available in print form)
____B. Philosophy: way of viewing life
(figure available in print form)
________A philosophy of life which is like a circle where one side is dark, the other light. (explanation of this philosophy)
3. Think of symbols for the following: fidelity, evil, work, joy, peace, strength, life, death, love, pain, fertility, USA, plenty.
________(Some symbols will be stereotypes we are all familiar with, others may represent your own ideas.)
________The above will be shared among class members. A discussion will follow concerning universal symbols as well as creative impulses (metaphors).
4. Introduce: “The Marriage of Giovanni Arnolfini”—Jan Van Eyck (untitled)
________Who are these people? What are they doing? What does the white veil symbolize? What do the expressions of man and woman reveal about their view of the occasion? This is a painting which encompasses many symbols connected with marriage. Study the many details of this painting and ask yourself what significance each might have as a symbol of marriage.
________Discussion of: 1. dog 2. shoes 3. candle 4. signature 5. figure by bed 6. fruit 7. mirror 8. window 9. colors 10. broom.
5. Introduce: “Portrait of Ezra Stiles”—Samuel King—Students are given background information/ identity of the subject, time period.
________Students discuss the following questions: 1. What do the drawings which surround Ezra Stiles symbolize? Discussion: religious symbols, books (knowledge), Newtonian symbol. 2. Why might such a man wish to have these symbols incorporated in his portrait? What sort of a portrait is this?
5. Introduce poem: “A Birthday”—Christina Georgina Rossetti Why is the poet overjoyed? What does she compare her heart to?
________(Explanation: terms, metaphor and simile.)
________The poet makes use of many symbols both within her comparisons (first stanza) and later in the work (second stanza). Read closely. Be prepared to discuss the significance of: 1. the apple tree 2. fruit 3. doves 4. peacocks 5. gold/silver Why was the poem entitled “A Birthday?” (rebirth—renewed life)
6. Introduce: “The Eagle”—Tennyson (untitled) Students try to guess what is being described. Students must read closely to unravel clues and comprehend metaphor “crooked hands” and simile “like a thunderbolt.”
7. Painting/ Eagle While looking at this painting, try to ascertain why the eagle was chosen as a symbol of the USA.
________What metaphors are to be found within the symbol itself? What qualities does our country hope to have which are comparable to the qualities of the eagle?
________Discussion would cover: 1. the strength of a nation as compared to the strength of the eagle’s wings. 2. sharp eyes/ a country with vision 3. fierce aspect/ a country which will and can defend itself if necessary 4. Largeness of bird/ largeness of country (both physically and influentially) 5. claws—tenacity, “crooked hands”—Who has? What does this metaphor imply? 6. isolation of eagle (flies above the rest). This is symbolic of the USA, especially during the d930’s—a time of isolationism.
8. Return to “The Eagle”—Tennyson. What is Tennyson’s vision of the eagle? What does the eagle represent to him? How did Tennyson “paint his picture” of the eagle?

Exercises: Written and Visual for Metaphor/Symbol

1. Discussion of Horoscopes. What does each animal symbolize (in terms of supposed personality traits) Many people feel they do not really fit this picture in terms of their dominant personality characteristics.
________Think of an animal which best symbolizes your personality. Sketch it in such a way that the traits of this animal, which are comparable to your personality traits, are somehow accentuated. You may need to include surroundings to make clear your message.
________Write a brief poem expressing the same idea. You might start: I am a ___. (When possible incorporate a metaphor or simile within the overall symbol.)
2. Introduce representative paintings from young hospitalized children. Can you “read” the metaphors/symbols? What unspoken message is each child sending?
3. Practice writing metaphors/similes with the accent on the unusual way of seeing.
____A. Simile—Revise hackneyed expressions with original, interesting, (amusing?) comparisons of your own. Feel free to use as many words as you like.
________1. He is as busy as a bee.
________2. He is as strong as an ox.
________3. He is as sly as a fox.
________4. She has hair like gold.
____Finish the following statements:
________1. When I come home late my mother is like . . . .
________2. School is like . . . .
________Similes are used in advertising. Example: Peppermints are like a breath of fresh air. Create three of your own.
________Assemble a collage from cut-up magazines which expresses your comparisons. (ads)
____B. Metaphor Image Writing/ follow the steps below: answer the questions.
____________d. Choose an object.
________2. What does it remind you of?
________3. What do the two objects have in common?
________4. What would you like to do about it?
4. Associative value of Colors/Numbers. Discussion.
____Colors as symbols. As personality indicators?
________Numbers—What is “1” associated with? etc. Think of pop songs which make use of numbers as symbols.
5. Modern day symbols vs. symbols of the past. Discussion would touch on such themes as
____1. success
____2. beauty
____3. justice
6. Make a statement about today’s world through symbols of your own choice. Depict this visually in a painting. The symbols stand for your philosophical view of the world. Think of how you could portray the relative importance of each symbol within your whole work.
________Entitle your work.
________Portray the same thoughts in words.

to top

Part Three—PATTERN

The term, pattern, is meant to encompass both structure and rhythm. The structure or symmetry of a tree produces a pattern; the rhythm of waves too is pattern. It is pattern that enables us to comprehend the world outside of ourselves. Visual symmetry and rhythmic schema make us feel comfortable and in control. Pattern, in a sense, dominates our world.

This section of the unit on pattern in poetry and paintings is incomplete. It is incomplete as I have not been able to capture all of the nuances of structure/rhythm. In a sense pattern cannot be tied down. Even in its repetitions of old themes it always emerges in a different way for it is invariably connected with other components in each expression of art (poetry, painting). Thus, for example, Coffin’s use of the couplet scheme in “The Secret Heart” denotes completion, wholeness, and peace—qualities which are encompassed in the theme of the poem. W. H. Davies’ use of the couplet scheme in “Leisure,” on the other hand, denotes, in its repetitive quality, a sense of time passing; this is the central issue of that poem’s theme. Just as rhythms and structures of nature never cease to be different given a different frame of reference, so too pattern in poetry and paintings is subject to the intention of the poet and/or artist, and thereby projects different meanings.

The following ideas for lesson plans can be divided into three parts. The first part seeks to define pattern in terms of the natural patterning of the world as we know it, or as we like to know it. At this point, balance, symmetry, and visual and auditory patterns are discussed. Students initially are asked to comment on a symmetrical and an asymmetrical shape. The response is expected to be on an emotional level. They are asked to consider the reason behind their responses. One shape denotes completion, stability—the other incompleteness, instability. This leads to a discussion on patterns of nature.

Following a reading of poetry and prose in a foreign language, students are expected to connect the poet’s artistic rhythms with the auditory rhythms of the ideal world around him. The first part of this section concludes with a comparison of two radically different views of the world—in paintings. One painting is natural, symmetrical, somehow ordered. The other is chaotic, unstructured, and represents disorder. Students are asked to comment upon the meanings of each work as well as to express emotional reactions.

The second part of this section deals with shapes as part of structure in paintings and with comparable rhythmic schemes in poetry. Specific paintings and poems are compared with the intention of showing how shapes (painting) and rhythmic schema (poetry) affect not only the mood but the meaning of each work. The first comparison is of the oval or circle motif in Renoir’s “Madame Renoir” and the couplet verse of Coffin’s “The Secret Heart.” Both devices denote a sense of completeness or oneness which correlates directly with the underlying intention of each artist. Students are asked to discover this correlation through a series of discussion questions.

The second comparison is of Winslow Homer’s “The Morning Bell” (painting) and Burgess’ ”Sestina of Youth and Age.” Both works of art depict conflict. Once again shape (the triangle) and rhythmic schema (sestina), through their own innate characteristics, reveal meaning (complexity or conflict in this case) and help to define the mood and message of the artist. Again, students are expected to “discover” the comparison through questions.

The third part of the section on pattern harks back to the previous section on metaphor/symbol. Students learn that the structure of a painting may in and of itself express symbolically the meaning of the work. Concrete poetry is introduced at this point as it too visually presents a symbol. Students are asked to consider whether or not the rhythm of the poem is connected somehow with its portrayal of symbol.

Finally, once again, the section concludes with ideas for student activities of artistic and written natures. As was the case in the second section, teachers are advised to use these exercises when they are deemed appropriate within the section as a whole.

1. What is symmetry? Balance? How is it related to structure?
____Students are shown two shapes
(figure available in print form)
(figure available in print form)
________They are asked to comment on the feeling each gives them. The discussion which follows will include such topics as balance, symmetry, wholeness, and how these factors affect/ illustrate emotional states.
________Students listen to random notes of music, and then listen to a musical composition. Again, they are asked to comment on the emotional quality of each. What does pattern mean to us?
2. Pattern. Students are asked to think of patterns which exist in the natural world. (Symmetrical states/rhythms). The discussion would include such examples as: (Visual) 1. trees 2. shells 3. human beings 4. mountain ranges 5. waves 6. EEG waves. (Auditory) 1. heartbeat 2. waves 3. rain falling 4. speech patterns (under stress or emotion—rhythmic).
3. Students listen to prose and poetry read in a foreign language (Russian). Students recognize and comment upon rhythm (pattern)—accented and unaccented syllables.
4. Introduce: Georgia O’Keefe’s “Canyon with Crows.” The discussion which follows includes: 1. symmetry of landscape 2. crows in flight (symmetry in portrayal—positioning of wings) 3. colors as patterns.
________What kind of a feeling emerges as you (students) look at this painting? What does this painting mean?
5. Introduce Jackson Pollack’s “Number 12.” Compare this painting with Georgia O’Keefe’s. The discussion will include: the absence of pattern, symmetry (Pollack). What sort of a feeling emerges when you look at this painting? What is this a painting of?
6. Comparison of structure of “Madame Renoir” with the rhythm of the poem “The Secret Heart.”
________Both works reveal a structure/rhythm which represents wholeness or peace which is directly correlated to the theme of each work. Renoir’s wife is an earth goddess—complete, producing calm or “oneness” in the observer—due in large part to its pattern of circles/ovals. The couplet form of Coffin’s poem reveals completeness/stability in the closeness of father and son. Again, the rhythm produces the effect of calmness or wholeness.
________The above is revealed to students through a series of questions such as: (Renoir) 1. What is the dominant shape which is repeated over and over again as the structure of this painting? (oval, circle) 2. What might the circle be a symbol of?—compare to triangle if necessary. 3. Why did Renoir choose this shape to structure his painting? 4. What is Renoir “saying” in this portrait? (Coffin) 1. What sort of relationship does the boy have with his father? Give examples. 2. Teacher explains—couplet. Why would the poet choose this type of rhythm? (uncomplicated, cohesive) 3. Find images of round objects within this poem. 4. Compare the mood of this poem to the mood of “Madame Renoir.” Final discussion: structure of painting as compared to rhythm of poetry.
7. Comparison/ “The Morning Bell” / “Sestina of Youth and Age” Both works indicate complication/conflict within their structure. The painting is portrayed in a series of triangles which denote conflict (many directions). The poem uses a complex rhythm/structure (six lines per stanza etc.) which also indicates complexity, confusion, conflict. Possible questions: “The Morning Bell” 1. What indications are there within this painting of contrasts, changes? 2. Who is the girl who is walking alone? 3. What is her relationship with the other women? 4. What shape predominates in this painting? 5. Why did the artist choose to repeat this shape over and over again? 6. What does the structure of this painting have to do with its theme? “Sestina of Youth and Age” d. What does the son realize about his father now that he is dead? 2. How were son/father similar/different? 3. Discuss the relationship between the two. 4. What sorts of feelings does the son have now? 5. How does the scheme of rhythm enhance the meaning of the poem? 6. Compare this poem with the previous poem about father and son.
8. Structure in Painting as Symbol. Return to “The Marriage of Giovanni Arnolfini What symbol is a dominant part of the structure of the work? (cross) Note: way figures are situated in terms of the background (candle etc.) This same shape is echoed in the floorboards. How does this relate to the theme of the work?
9. Concrete poem—“City Question” The symbol is pictorially presented in the poem’s structure (shaped as a question mark) on the page. How does the rhythm of this poem reflect its theme, its symbol?

Exercises—Written and Visual for Pattern

1. Choose an object from nature which is symmetrical—draw. Choose a man-made object which is symmetrical—draw. Draw an object from nature that was originally symmetrical but was damaged in some way—draw. Do the same for a man-made object. Look at each. Jot down free associations which come to mind when you look at each picture. Place these writings beneath each appropriate picture. Has your writing captured the rhythm/structure of each picture (or lack of)—if not, rewrite.
2. Teacher plays instrumental versions of songs unknown to students. Students tape. Write lyrics for these songs—taking into account rhythms and the mood the music projects.
3. Students listen to several popular songs (varied)—in tempo and mood. While listening to the music they draw designs—move pencil as music changes (in time). They entitle drawings with song titles. They comment on each picture.
4. Students practice writing various rhythms/structures of poetry. 1. iambic pentameter 2. couplet 3. free verse 4. sestet etc.
5. After studying several concrete poems (“The Christmas Tree,” “City Question,” ”The Main Deep”) students create concrete poems of their own. They discuss the rhythm of each poem as well as structure/rhythm of the poems mentioned above.
6. Students assemble a collage of pictures of any one theme in such a way that shapes (circles, triangles etc.) comment upon the theme. Students write a brief explanation of what they tried to depict through shape. They may also write a poem on this same theme.

“A Birthday”

by Christina Georgina Rossetti
My heart is like a singing bird
Whose nest is in a watered shoot:
My heart is like an apple tree
Whose boughs are bent with thickset fruit;
My heart is like a rainbow shell
That paddles in a halcyon sea;
My heart is gladder than all these,
Because my love is come to me.
Raise me a dais of silk and down;,
Hang it with vair and purple dyes;
Carve it in doves and pomegranates,
And peacocks with a hundred eyes;
Work it in gold and silver grapes,
In leaves and silver fleurs-de-lys;
Because the birthday of my life

Is come, my love is come to me.3
“The Eagle”
by Alfred Lord Tennyson
He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ring’d with the azure world, he stands.
The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.4
“The Secret Heart”
by Robert P. Tristam Coffin
Across the years he could recall
His father one way best of all.
In the stillest hour of the night
The boy awakened to a light.
Half in dreams, he saw his sire
With his great hands full of fire.
The man had struck a match to see
If his son slept peacefully.
He held his palms each side the spark
His love had kindled in the dark.
His two hands were curved apart
In the semblance of a heart.
He wore, it seemed to his small son,
A bare heart on his hidden one.
A heart that gave out such a glow
No son awake could bear to know.
It showed a look upon a face
Too tender for the day to trace.
One instant, it lit all about,
And then the secret heart went out.
But it shone long enough for one
To know that hands held up the sun.5
“Sestina of Youth and Age”
by Frank Gelett Burgess
My father died when I was all too young,
And he too old, too crowded with his care,
For me to know he knew my hot fierce hopes;
Youth sees wide chasms between itself and
Age—How could I think he, too, had lived my life?
My dreams were all of war, and his of rest.
And so he sleeps (please God), at last at rest,
And, it may be, with soul refreshed, more young
Than when he left me, for that other life—
Free, for a while, at least, from that old Care,
The hard, relentless torturer of his age,
That cooled his youth, and bridled all his hopes.
For now I know he had the longing hopes,
The wild desires of youth, and all the rest
Of my ambition ere he came to age;
He, too, was bold, when he was free and young—
Had I but known that he could feel, and care!
How could I know the secret of his life?
In my own youth I see his early life
So reckless, and so full of flaming hopes—
I see him jubilant, without a care,
The days too short, and grudging time for rest;
He knew the wild delight of being young—
Shall I, too, know the calmer joys of age?
His words come back, to mind me of that age
When, lovingly, he watched my broadening life—
And, dreaming of the days when he was young,
Smiled at my joys, and shared my fears and hopes.
His words still live, for in my heart they rest,
Too few not to be kept with jealous care!
Ah, little did I know how he could care!
That, in my youth, lay joys to comfort age!
Not in this world, for him, was granted rest,
But as he lived, in me, a happier life,
He prayed more earnestly to win my hopes
Then ever his own, when he was young!
He once was young; I too must fight with
Care; He knew my hopes, and I must share his age;
God grant my life be worthy, too, of rest!6

to top


Poems are arranged according to topic (mood, metaphor/symbol, pattern). Most of the poems can be found in The World of Poetry by Rockowitz and Kaplan.

“All Day I Hear”—James Joyce

“Bitter Fruit of the Tree”—Sterling Brown

“Break, Break, Break”—Alfred Lord Tennyson

“The Daffodils”—William Wordsworth

“An Old Man’s Winter Night”—Robert Frost

“The Eagle”—Alfred Lord Tennyson (Poems for Modern Youth—Gillis, Benet) “A Birthday”—Christina Georgina Rossetti

“The Knife”—Milton Kaplan

“The Oak”—Alfred Lord Tennyson

“Fog”—Carl Sandburg (Poems for Modern Youth—Gillis, Benet)

“At Midnight”—Frank Dempster Sherman

“Lamp Posts”—Helen Hoyt

“The Secret Heart”—Robert P. Tristam Coffin

“Sestina of Youth and Age”—Frank Gelett Burgess

“The Main Deep”—James Stephans

“City Question”—(author unknown)

“The Triumph of Freedom”—William Lloyd Garrison

“The Last Leaf”—Oliver Wendell Holmes

“The Minstrel-Boy”—Thomas Moore

to top


“The Red Poppy”—Georgia O’Keefe

“The Shanty”—Georgia O’Keefe

“The Old Guitarist”—Pablo Picasso

“The Marriage of Giovanni Arnolfini and Giovanna Cenami”—

Jan van Eyck

“Portrait of Ezra Stiles”—Samuel King

“Canyon with Crows”—Georgia O’Keefe

“Number 12”—Jackson Pollack

“Madame Renoir”—Pierre Auguste Renoir

“The Morning Bell”—Winslow Homer

to top


1. Raquel Libman (student—Richard C. Lee High School)
2. E. H. Gombrich, Art and Illusion: A Study in the Psychology of Pictorial Representation, p. 104.
____Reprinted by permission from Art and Illusion: A Study in the Psychology of Pictorial Representation, © 1960 by The National Gallery of Art.
3. Murray Rockowitz and Milton Kaplan, The World of Poetry, p. 148.
4. Adolph Gillis and William Benet, Poems for Modern Youth, p. 312.
5. Reprinted by permission from Collected Poems, © 1935 by The Macmillan Company.
6. Murray Rockowitz and Milton Kaplan, The World of Poetry, p. 43.

to top


Arnheim, Rudolf, Art and Visual Perception: A Psychology of the Creature Eye. Berkeley, University of California Press, 1954

This book provides very interesting analysis of balance, form, shape, color, movement etc.

Canaday, John, Metropolitan Seminars in Art. New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1958

This is a series of portfolios, complete with prints, which deals with various aspects of the study of art. It includes such topics as: Realism, Expressionism, Abstraction, What is a painting?, Composition, Techniques.

Gillis, Adolph and Benet, William, Poems for Modern Youth. Cambridge, Houghton mifflin Company, 1938

This rather old-fashioned book has a strong introduction complete with good explanations of poetic terms.

Gombrich, E. H., Art and Illusion: A Study in the Psychology of Pictorial Representation. Princeton, New Jersey, Princeton University Press, 1969 This book is quite lengthy; it does however provide a complete study of the psychology of art.

Leavitt, Hart D. and Sohn, David A., Stop, Look and Write. New York, Bantam Books, 1964

This book is a very useful tool for teachers who wish to sharpen students’ observation skills for purposes of writing.

Rockowitz, Murray and Kaplan, Milton, The World of Poetry. New York, Globe Book Company, 1965

This is an excellent collection of poems arranged thematically.

to top

Contents of 1980 Volume II | Directory of Volumes | Index | Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute

© 2016 by the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute
Terms of Use Contact YNHTI