Monday, July 30, 2007


1. We concentrated on reading handouts from A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN by Betty Smith that led to active thinking and discussions on why one writes and what one should write about.

2. We then engaged with the fact that two terms - poetic and poetry (poem/s) - need to be distinguished. As an example, the lyrics of the Genesis song "The Cinema Show" from the album "Selling England by the Pound" was examined and compared to the section it was inspired by - a part of the "Fire Sermon" by T.S. Eliot from "The Wasteland." The students could easily grasp that while the latter was effective as music, it was only poetic whereas Eliot's lines were poetry.

The concept of inspiration/influence was also looked at.

The students understood that the development of art, design and poetry follows a purist-classicist-romanticist- modernist-post-modernist curve. The linkages between art, design and poetry were as they watched Genesis perform The Slippermen (from "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway"), as proof of their abilty to be ahead of their time in connecting costuming, theatricality, performative art, classical music, literature (poetry/lyrics), rock music, rock opera etc. to be very much a part of the avant garde.

Then we dealt with the terms lyric and lyrical by examining the love song, the rock lyric, the bardic or troubadourish /folk singer-ish quality of Bob Dylan's songs in the film "Don't Look Back" by D. Pennebaker.

6. The students found the terms poetic, lyrical, poem and lyric inter-changeable many a time and this was confusing for them. However, the lyrics of "Ramona" by Dylan touched a chord in all of them as they listened to the song and read the words. It was set forth as an example of poem, poetic, lyric and lyrical in the old, original Grecian sense of the word. As in : song/s in simple but often beautiful words set to music/a tune with melody/harmony and played/written for an instrument.

7. We screend a Norwegian award winning short film called "Anolit", watched with the intention of spotting the lyrical moments and the poetic moments in it. The students more or less correctly pointed the expected moments out.

8. The students had then to make one liners as definitions of the poetic and the lyrical and found it slightly tough.

9. Reading exercises given to them included reading the handouts which had in it a poem by Berryman left untouched in the course of the day's teaching and reading Marianne Faithfull's " As Tears Go By" , Bob Dylan's "It's all right Ma, I'm only bleeding." They are expected to read love songs, poems and lyrics by writers like Leonard Cohen.

10. Writing assignment: 12-16 lines of poetry with rhyme. Also, each student is to bring into the next class an old piece of writing they consider a poem, lyric, lyrical or poetic.


It feels good to be doing a course on Poetry or, to use a wider term, the Lyrical. This is what Koshy and I intend to do this time around.

Enduring Understandings

· The poetic and the lyrical are modes of expression and communication needed not only by writers but also by designers and artists
The ability to read, listen to, appreciate and create one’s own poems and lyrics abets this process.

Misconceptions and Assumptions

· The lyric and what is lyrical are the same.

· The poetic and poetry are the same.

· Poetry and its influence has ceased to be of much relevance in today’s world.

· Reading, understanding, enjoying, appreciating and writing poetry is only for the few and not for everyone.


· Are the definitions of lyric, lyrical, poetic, poetry and influence clear to you?

· Are the bridges already there or the ones you can make between these terms and art and design clear to you?

· Which is more powerful the verbal lyric or the lyric aided by audio- visuals etc?

· What are the different types of lyrics?

· Are you aware of the history of the lyric’s growth and evolution?

· Where do you think the lyrical mode will go/take you from now and here?