Learning Exercise

Poetry Anticipation Guide

This activity allows students to compare and discuss their own views and biases on a topic--in this case poetry, art and communicatiing ideas--with the "text" of a poem.
Course: Literature, Literature and Compostion

Maintained by three students in the University of Georgia System, this site is an archive of free classical poetry.... see more


?The Red Horse? Anticipation Guide

Before you read Seaborn Jones?s poem ?The Red Horse,? decide whether you agree
(A) or disagree (D) with the statements below. Share your before reading
answers with a peer, a group or the class. Now read the poem. After reading
the poem, respond to the statements based solely on the reading. Review your
lists of answers. Write a journal entry to show any change in your thinking .

Before / After

_____ _____ 1. Art conveys a meaning intended by the artist.

_____ _____ 2. Art can be understood by everyone.

_____ _____ 3. Interpreting poetry requires experience more than

_____ _____ 4. Readers should search for hidden meanings in a poem.

_____ _____ 5. Written or verbal miscommunication is a universal experience.

_____ _____ 6. It?s frustrating when people don?t understand what you mean.

_____ _____ 7. We make meaning by comparing the unknown to what we know.

_____ _____ 8. Maybe there?s a way to tell time by peacock feathers.


THE RED HORSE Seaborn Jones

When the woman in the museum
looked at the Chagall, she said,
"But what does it mean?
I don't like art where the artist hides the meaning."

Flying fish, man with goat's head
offering a bouquet of fireworks
to an upside down bride.

Once I was pulled over by the police;
I had laryngitis and all I could do
was make a sound like a cross between
a goose and a fog-horn.

When I tried to write a note
explaining my condition, I realized
I couldn't spell laryngitis
and handed them a piece of paper that said,
?I have Larry."

They passed it back and forth
saying, "What does he mean;
what does it mean?"

Maybe I should have handed them
a drawing of a violinist with no head.

Or like the clerk in the store
when I asked the time, responded,
"I don't know; I'm just hired help."
Then presented me with a peacock feather.

What does it mean?

Maybe there's a way to tell time
by peacock feathers. Something buried

in the mythology of hired help.
Circle of children
pointing feathers toward the moon.

I feel about the woman in the museum
the way she feels about Chagall:
what does she mean
what does he mean?

The peacock spreads his fan of fireworks.

It is time.


Literature/Poetry Analyis

Learning Objectives

Developing reader response skill, journal writing, poetry analysis and group discussion skill