I’m Nobody! Who are you?
Then there’s a pair of us?
Don’t tell! they’d advertise—you know!
How dreary—to be—Somebody!
How public—like a Frog—
To tell one’s name—the livelong June—
To an admiring Bog!
This is the poem I remembered from my own adolescence and one which I think will be excellent as an example of self-expression and for the study of rhyme.
We will begin by reading the poem silently and then having a volunteer read it aloud to the group. We will discuss the content of the poem; who is talking, what kind of person is the speaker, do you know anyone like this person? Next we will look for the main objective of the speaker: what does this person want?
At this point I will pass out some poems from a show called “The Me Nobody Knows”. This was a musical made up of poetry by young people. Each student will have their own poem to read silently and then read to the group.
The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson
edited by Thomas H. Johnson. © 1960 by Mary L. Hampson. By permission of Little, Brown & Company.
Reprinted by permission of the Publisher and Trustees of Amherst College from
The Poems of Emily Dickinson
edited by Thomas H. Johnson, Cambridge, Massachusetts; the Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, copyright 1951, © 1955, 1979, 1983 by the President and fellows of Harvard College.
Next I will ask students to find somewhere comfortable to sit and write a short poem (seven lines) telling a secret. It can be a real secret or one that the student makes up. Students need to be encouraged to write very neatly so that others can read it.
When they have finished I will collect the poems and pass them back out so that each one has someone else’s poem to read aloud to the group.
Next I will ask students to take their poems back and choose one idea presented in their poem and write two lines that rhyme. The poem by Emily Dickinson can be used to show examples of rhymes.
After students have completed this exercise we will come back into the circle and this time each student will read his or her own writing.
I will collect the two writing exercises and keep them for next week’s work. Some students will not have completed one of the exercises. They can do that when the class meets again. Those who have will go on to write an “abate” rhyme using their original poem for content.