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, 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.
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.How do such lyrics compare to other poetry studied in school? The blues impacted the writing of many African American authors, perhaps most famously, Langston Hughes.Pass out copies of the poem "Weary Blues" without telling students that Hughes is the author.This lesson focuses on how the blues both operates as poetry and informs the poetry of many prominent African American poets.Students consider the poetic devices and recurring themes in blues lyrics and the significance of the poetry of the blues as part of the African American oral tradition.After introducing these elements, briefly discuss how "The Weary Blues" does all five of them.Finally, distribute copies of three additional poems by Hughes"To Midnight at Leroy's," "Blues Fantasy," and "Po' Boy Blues"which incorporate blues elements. prm ID=1472.] In addition to the Langston Hughes poems studied above, many of Hughes' other poems explore the same themes prevalent in blues lyrics.For students struggling to identify a prominent societal theme, assign them to write their piece about an event or daily occurrence in life.As the Introductory Exercise points out, the blues are an excellent vehicle for considering poetic devices.Bone Burnett's performance of "Man, Don't Dog Your Woman," and Eagle Eye Cherry's performance of "Down in Mississippi") As a way to reinforce student understanding of poetic devices, this exercise considers the use of these devices in song lyrics, from both popular music and the blues.Start by asking students to bring in the lyrics to one of their favorite songs (reminding them, of course, of the importance of selecting a song appropriate for classroom study).