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Middle School Poetry Analysis: Tolkien, the Romantics, & Poetry of the Sea

In this online course, young teens will read and analyze poems describing imaginative or maritime journeys to enchanted lands.
Rebecca Baumgarten, MA
21 total reviews for this teacher
New class
55 minutes
per class
Once per week
every week
year olds
learners per class
per learner - per class

How does an "Ongoing" course work?

Meets on a weekly schedule, join any week, no need to catch up on previous material
Live video chats, recorded and monitored for safety and quality
Discussions via classroom forum and private messages with the teacher
Automatic payment every Sunday, cancel any time
Great for clubs and for practicing skills

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Available Times


Next on Tue, Jan 10, 2023

Meets Once per week
7:00 – 7:55 AM

Next on Tue, Jan 10, 2023

Meets Once per week
11:00 – 11:55 AM
Don't see a time that works for you?


Class Experience

Students will learn to
•	Define the imram genre
•	Explain the key features of romanticism
•	Describe the key features of otherworld
•	Explain the role of the sea in the poetic imagination
•	Conduct close readings of poetry
•	Identify a poem’s rhyme scheme
•	Analyze poetic devices, images, and themes
I have a bachelors and masters in English and graduate certificate in Digital Humanities from Texas A&M University, where I worked for two years as a graduate assistant teacher and researcher. I have also worked as a freelance tutor for learners from elementary through college level, and I have many years of volunteer experience working with and teaching children in extracurricular activities.

My academic writing experience includes the book Cane and Able: Perspectives for Raising Successful Visually Impaired Children (a resource for parents and educators), the article “Charlotte’s Web: Words, Weaving, and Womanhood” in TAMU’s Explorations Volume 11, my masters thesis “Endurance and Hope: Christian Heroism in Tolkien’s Legendarium,” and an article currently under review, titled “Print’s Digital Analog: Amphibious Theories of Braille.”
Before class, students will:
•	Read the poem listed for that week
•	Write a response to that week's discussion question and post it as a reply to the question in the classroom
•	Write down their observations and questions on imagery, themes, characters, etc.
This should take about 1 hour per week.
Students must have a copy of the following books, all by J.R.R. Tolkien: The Adventures of Tom Bombadil and Other Verses from the Red Book, ISBN 978-0-00-755727-1 We will use this book throughout the class. The edition matters because we will be reading the commentaries, which are not in all editions. The Fellowship of the Ring We will use this book only for “The Song of Eärendil,” so I suggest borrowing it from the library or finding the poem online. Sauron Defeated: The History of Middle-earth Volume 9 We will use this book only for “The Death of St. Brendan” and “Imram,” so you may want to check it out from the library. Used copies range anywhere from $9 to $25.
55 minutes per week in class, and an estimated 1 - 2 hours per week outside of class.
The personal beliefs of the poets in this class colored their imaginations and therefore their writing, so it is necessary to discuss these beliefs at the broadest level. This is not proselytism, but a tool for understanding the myths (as defined above) behind the poetry. I am not discussing my own beliefs, but the beliefs of the poets.

Many of the poems in this class deal with themes of loss, mortality, guilt, or disillusionment. In particular, some learners may find the psychological imagery of “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” and “The Sea-Bell” disturbing, though not to the point of distress. I will be available at any time (within reason) to answer questions and give support, either emotional or intellectual.
The following provide source material for this course, though I will not mention most of them explicitly in class.

Coleridge, Samuel Taylor. “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (text of 1834).” Poetry Foundation, 2022.
Keats, John. “Ode to a Nightingale.” Poetry Foundation, 2022.
Tolkien, J.R.R. The Adventures of Tom Bombadil and Other Verses from the Red Book. HarperCollins, 2014.
---. The Fellowship of the Ring. Ballantine Books, 1983.
---. The Monsters and the Critics: And Other Essays, edited by Christopher Tolkien. HarperCollins, 2006.
---. Sauron Defeated: the End of the Third Age: the History of the Lord of the Rings, Part Four, edited by Christopher Tolkien. Houghton Mifflin, 1992.
---. The Silmarillion, edited by Christopher Tolkien, Houghton Mifflin, 2004.
“William Butler Yeats.” Poetry Foundation, 2022.
Yeats, William Butler. “The Man Who Dreamed of Faeryland.” Poetry Verse.


Rebecca Baumgarten, MA
Lives in the United States
The Wonder of Words
21 total reviews
28 completed classes

About Me

My name is Rebecca Baumgarten. I have a bachelor’s and master’s in English from Texas A&M University, focusing on the fiction and scholarship of J.R.R. Tolkien. The class year on my Aggie Ring (2020) is the average of my two graduation years: 2019... 
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