Assigned: "London's Summer Morning" (92-93), "January, 1795" (93-94), "The Poor Singing Dame" (94-96), "To the Poet Coleridge" (98-99) and "The Haunted Beach" (96-97).
"London's Summer Morning"
1. What impression of London do you get from this blank verse poem? What is the poet's role in the goings-on?
2. What is the operative principle of criticism in this poem's observations? How does the poem's rhyme scheme help drive them home?
"The Poor Singing Dame"
3. How does Robinson give us a sense of the kind of lives led, respectively, by the Old Dame and the Lord of the Castle? Why is the Lord so resentful of the old woman, and what is the cause of his eventual suffering and death?
4. In the end — judging from the poem's last two lines — who "wins" the unequal contest between the Lord and the Old Dame?
"The Haunted Beach"
5. What is the story or plot of this short poem, in simple terms — what happened, and to whom?
6. How does the speaker's description of the seascape reinforce the dreadfulness of the crime that has been committed?
"To the Poet Coleridge"
7. Please read this poem right after you read Coleridge's "Kubla Khan." What does the speaker feel emboldened to do because of "Kubla Khan," and how does she turn the subject of Coleridge's poem into an exploration of his genius?
Edition: Abrams, M. H. et al. The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vols. 2A-C. 7th ed. New York: Norton, 2000. ISBN 2A = 0393975681, 2B = 039397569X, 2C = 0393975703.