Simile Willow and Ginkgo - the Tuckahoe Common School District

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Page 584
Background Knowledge
Willow and Ginkgo Trees
Willow trees, with their graceful, drooping
branches, generally grow near water. These
deciduous trees have narrow, pointed leaves.
Ginkgo ginkgo [ging-koh, jing-] trees can be
traced to prehistoric times with stubby stems
and fan shaped leaves, the deciduous ginkgo
has a very different appearance from the
willow. Ginkgo trees may be male or female.
A nut with a foul-smelling seed coat grows
from the female ginkgo.
Simile: Willow and Ginkgo
The willow is like an etching.
Fine-lined against the sky.
The ginkgo is like a crude sketch,
Hardly worth to be signed.
(5) The willow’s music is like soprano.
Delicate and thin,
The ginkgo’s tune is like a chorus
With everyone joining in.
The willow is sleek as a velvet-nosed calf;
(10) The ginkgo is leather as an old bull.
The willow’s branches are like silken thread;
The ginkgo’s like stubby rough wool.
The willow is like a nymph with streaming hair;
Wherever it grows, there is green and gold and fair.
(15) The willow dips to the water,
Protected and precious, like the king’s favorite daughter.
The ginkgo forces its way through gray concrete;
Ike a city child it grows up in the street.
Thrust against eh metal sky,
(20) Somehow it survives and even thrives.
My eyes feast upon the willow,
But by heart goes to the ginkgo.
Metaphor and Simile
(10)
The willow is sleek as a velvet-nosed calf;
The ginkgo is leather as an old bull.
The willow’s branches are like silken thread;
The ginkgo’s like stubby rough wool.
 What similes are used to describe the willow?
 What similes describe the ginkgo?
Key Ideas: Words
The willow is like an etching.
Fine-lined against the sky.
The ginkgo is like a crude sketch,
Hardly worth to be signed.
(5) The willow’s music is like soprano.
Delicate and thin,
The ginkgo’s tune is like a chorus
With everyone joining in.
The willow is sleek as a velvet-nosed calf;
(10) The ginkgo is leather as an old bull.
The willow’s branches are like silken thread;
The ginkgo’s like stubby rough wool.
The willow is like a nymph with streaming hair;
Wherever it grows, there is green and gold and fair.
(15) The willow dips to the water,
Protected and precious, like the king’s favorite
daughter.
The ginkgo forces its way through gray concrete;
Ike a city child it grows up in the street.
Thrust against eh metal sky,
(20) Somehow it survives and even thrives.
My eyes feast upon the willow,
But by heart goes to the ginkgo.
Which words in this poem appeal to the
sense of sound?
Your Turn
 With a partner you will write your own simile poem
comparing and contrasting two animals, places, or
things.
Page 586
Background Knowledge
Billy Collins was born in 1941.
Some of his famous quotes include:
“Usually I try to create a hospitable tone at the beginning of a poem. Stepping from the title to the first lines is like stepping
into a canoe. A lot of things can go wrong.”
“One of the ridiculous aspects of being a poet is the huge gulf between how seriously we take ourselves and how generally
we are ignored by everyone else.”
For most of his career, Collins led a dual life as a professor and poet, teaching at the City University of New York and
composing verse in his spare time.
Collins published his first book of poetry, Pokerface, in 1977.
Some interesting facts:
In 1999, Collins received a six-figure advance from his publishing company for his next three books. This was the largest
advance a publisher had ever offered for poetry.
During his tenure as Poet Laureate from 2001–2003 (A poet laureate is a poet officially appointed by a government and is
often expected to compose poems for state occasions and other government events ), Collins launched a program
called “Poetry 180” to promote the enjoyment of poetry in America’s high schools. As part of this program, Collins
developed a web site that enables students to hear or read a poem on each day of the school year.
Collins also developed a poetry channel for an airline that combines poetry and jazz. He believes firmly that poetry should
be brought out of the classroom and into public spaces.
Introduction to Poetry
I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide
or press an ear against its hive.
I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,
or walk inside the poem's room
and feel the walls for a light switch.
I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author's name on the shore.
But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.
They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.
Let’s Discuss in order to understand the
poem’s message and speaker:
CONNECT: The speaker asks that people do
various things with a poem. What do you do
with a poem when you read it?
ANALYZE: What metaphor does the speaker
introduce in lines 5-6?
SYNTHESIZE: Think about the poems title.
What job might the speaker have? Whom
does the speaker want to approach poetry
differently?
CRITIQUE: Why do you think the poets
chose to dives the stanzas the way they did?
Comprehension
In order to show that you understand both poems write the
following answers on a sheet of paper to hand in:
1)
Recall: In “Simile: Willow and Ginkgo,: Which tree does the
speaker think is more beautiful?
2)
Recall: What does the speaker in “Introduction to Poetry”
want readers to do on the surface of a poem?
3)
Literary Analysis: Visualize: Select two examples (one from
each poem) that were especially effective in helping you make
visualizations. What specific words helped you “see”
(visualize) images in your mind?
Comprehension
1.
For each poem identify as many figurative
comparisons as you can. Use a chart like the one
shown, list what is being described and what it is
being compared to. Then identify whether the
comparison is a simile or a metaphor.
Line(s)
What is being
described
What it is
compared to
Simile or Metaphor
2-3
poem
color slide
simile
Literary Criticism
Billy Collins has described his poetry as “readerfriendly, hospitable, congenial, welcoming.” Do you
agree? Use details form the “Introduction to Poetry”
to support your opinion.
Your Turn
Write your own short poem describing what the
experience of reading poetry is like for you. Include at
least one metaphor and one simile.

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