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South, physical violence, skin color, death, travel (and the train).Students should be prepared to share their findings with the class in either a written paper or oral presentation.Inform students that several elements of the blues can be found in works of African American literature.
Ask students, in small groups, to analyze these poems in terms of their incorporation of the blues elements discussed above. Introduce prevalent blues themes by showing several segments from The Blues films.
After viewing, assign students to research Hughes' work, looking specifically for poems that illustrate the following themes: North vs.
Given the tie to this tradition, blues music inevitably impacted the writing of many African American poetsboth formally and thematically.
(segment of James and Alvin Youngblood singing "Hard Time Killin' Floor Blues," J. Lenoir's performance of "I've Been Down So Long," T.
Then, as a class, identify the devices evident in each: To further discuss the notion of blues as poetry, play Robert Johnson's "Cross Road Blues." As students listen, ask them to write down all of the devices they hear employed.
Students should recognize the use of rhyme, repetition, allusion, apostrophe, and personification.
If necessary, distribute lyrics to the song, which can be found at
Conclude the exercise by discussing song lyrics as poetry. Should teachers incorporate song lyrics into their poetry units?
Ask students to analyze the poem as they have examined blues songs in the previous exercise, specifically identifying poetic devices.
Inform students that the "song" they just analyzed is actually a poem by Langston Hughes.