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1.Read “My Papa’s Waltz” by Theodore Roethke. Then, answer the following question. Write your answer as one paragraph (5-7 sentences):
What is your experience of this poem? How do you interpret its meaning? What do you think is the most powerful part of the poem? What, if anything, confused you in its reading? Did that change once you conducted a closer reading of the poem? Remember, there is no one way to interpret a poem. That’s what makes discussing them so pleasing and rewarding.
**My Papa’s Waltz**
BY THEODORE ROETHKE
The whiskey on your breath 
Could make a small boy dizzy; 
But I hung on like death: 
Such waltzing was not easy.
We romped until the pans 
Slid from the kitchen shelf; 
My mother’s countenance 
Could not unfrown itself.
The hand that held my wrist 
Was battered on one knuckle; 
At every step you missed
My right ear scraped a buckle.
You beat time on my head 
With a palm caked hard by dirt, 
Then waltzed me off to bed 
Still clinging to your shirt.
2. Read Sylvia Plath’s “Morning Song.” Then, answer the following questions. Please write your answer as one paragraph (5-7 sentences):
What is your first emotional reaction to the poem?
Is this poem telling a story? Sharing thoughts? Playing with language experimentally? Is it exploring one’s feelings or perceptions? Is it describing something?
Is the tone serious? Funny? Meditative? Inquisitive? Confessional? Here is a list of tonal descriptors that may help you pin down what you’re hearing:
Abrasive, accepting, admiring, adoring, angry, anxious, apologetic, apprehensive, argumentative, awe-struck
Biting, bitter, blissful, boastful
Candid, childish, child-like, clipped, cold, complimentary, condescending, critical
Despairing, detached, didactic, direct, discouraged, doubtful, dramatic
Fearful, forceful, frightened
Happy, heavy-hearted, horrified, humorous
Indifferent, ironic, irreverent
Loving
Melancholic, mysterious
Naïve, nostalgic
Objective, optimistic, peaceful, pessimistic, playful, proud
Questioning
Reflective, reminiscent
Sad, sarcastic, satirical, satisfied, seductive, self-critical, self-mocking, sexy, shocked, silly, sly, solemn, somber, stunned, subdued, sweet, sympathetic
Thoughtful, threatening
Uncertain, urgent
Whimsical
**Morning Song**
BY SYLVIA PLATH
Love set you going like a fat gold watch.
The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry 
Took its place among the elements.
Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival. New statue.
In a drafty museum, your nakedness
Shadows our safety. We stand round blankly as walls.
I’m no more your mother
Than the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slow
Effacement at the wind’s hand.
All night your moth-breath
Flickers among the flat pink roses. I wake to listen:
A far sea moves in my ear.
One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral
In my Victorian nightgown.
Your mouth opens clean as a cat’s. The window square
Whitens and swallows its dull stars. And now you try
Your handful of notes;
The clear vowels rise like balloons.

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