Summer Books: Paradise Lost, Book 9, and Automatic Villain Poems

Summer Books Paradise Lost Book 9 and Automatic Villain Poems

Today, I read the kids a large section of Book 9, Paradise Lost [from about l. 415 to the end].  In their Yesterday Books, I asked them to write down any particular words or ideas they liked and to sketch as I read.  Mostly, though, they just luxuriated on the couch and listened. Tobes loved the descriptions of the serpent’s dalliance in the garden, Satan’s attempts to get Eve’s attention. Both kids were in awe of Eve’s desire to become a “god” and her seemingly insatiable appetite once she’s tasted just a little fruit. Bea was horrified when Adam dropped the garland of flowers he had woven for Eve’s hair as she told him about the speaking serpent and the fruit she had enjoyed. Both kids were stunned by how quickly Adam seemed to be resign himself to a similar fate and to propose, as Eve and the serpent before her, that they might become gods or god-like if they ate the fruit.  Much giggling ensued when Adam and Eve, drunk with desire, fell upon their flowery bed. And the kids delighted in the sewing of fig leaves and the little “domestic” game of “It’s your fault. No, it’s your fault” which followed.  It was a fun reading.  Here are pics of their notebooks:

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Automatic Villian Poems the kids improvise poems in the voices of their favourite fictional villains

Automatic Villain Poems
Afterwards, we did a little “automatic” poetry composition – or, we had a  “villain-poetry slam.”  Inspired, at least in a very basic way, by Natalie Zina Walschots’ Doom: Love Poems for Supervillains [which is, at the title suggests, a series of well-worded enticements and invitations addressed to comic book villains], I asked the kids to very quickly pick a villain they liked from comic books, novels, or even their fave video games and to think about exactly why they liked this villain. Since they heard “Satan’s voice” today, rather than having them compose a love poem addressed to that villain, as Walschots does so well, I had them try to invent a boastful poem in the voice of the villain.   As with our automatic or improvised re-telling of Beowulf, I had them improvise their boast-poems out loud as I typed. Then, they looked over the formatting of the lines with me on the computer to make them poems “look and read” just so, or, in this case, as Bea put it, “more mysteriously.”  This only took about 5 minutes, max. But the kids enjoyed it and insisted that their poems be published asap.

Kronos [the one from Percy Jackson], by Bea

I can slow down time
I cut up my father with my scythe
and threw him into the ocean
all his little parts never to re-form

mother earth favoured me
as her favourite son – really
buff – took down Zeus
almost – ate two
of my sons.

Chaos [from the Sonic Adventure Videogame], by Toby

I am Chaos, powered
by the chaos emerald
I evolve I have evolved

into Perfect Chaos
I will terrorize the city

by flooding it and I will
burn everything I broke
the tallest skyscraper
I will break you!

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