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ERIC Number: EJ856331
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Sep
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 7
ISSN: ISSN-0013-8274
The Sonnet Tradition and Claude McKay
Denize, Donna E. M.; Newlin, Louisa
English Journal, v99 n1 p99-105 Sep 2009
This year marks the 400th anniversary of the publication of the first edition of Shakespeare's 154 sonnets--an excellent moment to focus on them, as well as on those written by others before and after 1609. Because these authors share an enthusiasm for poetry in general and the sonnet in particular, they want to encourage teachers to include sonnets in their teaching. Under the aegis of the Folger, the authors have been leading sonnet workshops for high school teachers in which they offer several activities for bringing sonnets into language arts classes. The collaboration has been a voyage of discovery for them both; what were initially two separate presentations have gradually evolved into an unlikely but surprisingly coherent unit plan. They begin with a discussion of the sonnet tradition and examine several 20th-century sonnets. They then look at several 16th-century sonnets by Shakespeare's contemporaries followed by Shakespearean examples. The final step takes them back to the early 20th century and the work of Claude McKay. The journey represents an innovative "pairing" that can place an African American poet as the heir to a long sonnet tradition, one who himself, in his turn, left a lasting legacy. In this article, Denize and Newlin present the approaches and ideas that they include in their workshops. (Contains 1 note.)
National Council of Teachers of English. 1111 West Kenyon Road, Urbana, IL 61801-1096. Tel: 877-369-6283; Tel: 217-328-3870; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A