What You Do:
- Read Edgar Allen Poe’s poem, To My Mother, and encourage your child to analyze his style and tone. Consider the following: What literary devices does Poe utilize in his poem? How does the use of literary devices enhance the meaning of the poem? How does Poe define the word “mother” in the poem? How many types of love appear in this poem (parent-child, husband-wife, etc.)? How many syllables does Poe use in each line? What is the rhyme scheme, if any?
Because I feel that, in the Heavens above,
The angels, whispering to one another,
Can find, among their burning terms of love,
None so devotional as that of "Mother,"
Therefore by that dear name I long have called you -
You who are more than mother unto me,
And fill my heart of hearts, where Death installed you
In setting my Virginia's spirit free.
My mother - my own mother, who died early,
Was but the mother of myself; but you
Are mother to the one I loved so dearly,
And thus are dearer than the mother I knew
By that infinity with which my wife
Was dearer to my soul than its soul-life.
- Invite him to pick three aspects of Poe’s poem that he wishes to emulate in his own work. For example, maybe he wants to use the same number of lines and syllables, but create his own unique definition of “mother.”
- Next, ask him to write a poem using these guidelines. Encourage him to refer back to Poe's work as he authors his poem. Remind him that he shouldn't copy it, but instead he should use it as inspiration for his own individual poem.
- After he's happy with the structure of the poem, have him make any last changes or final edits.
- Finally, he can write the finished poem on a piece of nice card stock or other sturdy paper. Have him give it to Mom on Mother's Day! He'll be astounded by the "oohs" and "ahhs" of his thoughtful, personalized gift.