by Corinne Hales

I am doing the hard, fun close work of reading a poem with my Intro to Lit students. Our textbook is our analytical tool as we glide back and forth over a powerful poem trying to get clear on how it works and why it works and what it might mean in our lives. A literature class that doesn’t aspire this high, ain’t worth it.

I have chosen Corinne Hales’ poem, “Power” to be my feldgang, my field walk. I will map it out over the next several weeks fully noting that the map is not the territory, but if you slow down enough you can feel the texture of it and perhaps get its measure.

The poem’s metes and bounds lie within the etherpad provided below:

Here I am reading the poem aloud:

Audio recording >>

Here is how I used the textbook to begin to analyze the poem:

Here I have paraphrased the poem:

Here is some of my analysis using the text book:


  1. // Reply

    Man. I love this post. All the visible thinking. A poem, then, for the poem …

    My brother
    placed my
    copper penny
    on the tracks
    and told me to
    wait, while
    in our shared
    silence — broken
    only by our
    breathing —
    I remembered
    the warnings
    he once told me
    about trains
    flying off the
    tracks, all for
    the want of
    a dare

    — Kevin, smallpoems (you know it!)

  2. // Reply

    Gotta love locomotives. Know of an Uncle Walty and Miss Emily poem about them. That was the magic then. Apparently still is. Ever put a penny on a track?

  3. // Reply

    As I read this and previous articles on your blog I think of the case studies being presented in the Affinity OnLine book that #clmooc members are reading (are we “members”?) Not formally, but…

    The type of thinking, studying, tinkering and design work that many participants in these on-line groups demonstrate is parallel to the type of work you’re demonstrating.

    It takes a special type of motivation and inspiration and commitment to do this.

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