Teach This Poem: "Pursuit" by Elizabeth Bradfield
Produced for K-12 educators, Teach This Poem features one poem a week from our online poetry collection, accompanied by interdisciplinary resources and activities designed to help teachers quickly and easily bring poetry into the classroom. The series is written by our Educator in Residence, Dr. Madeleine Fuchs Holzer, and is available for free via email.
- Ask your students to imagine something they did over the summer and have them “paint a picture” in their imaginations of what happened. Have them write a short paragraph describing the event, the people who were there, and the setting, in as much detail as possible, so someone else can see the scene in their “mind’s eye.”
- Ask your students to share what they wrote with a partner. If the partner has trouble envisioning the scene, she should ask the writer to add more detail to help her “see” it better. Make sure both partners have time to share their work and provide feedback to each other.
- Project the poem “Pursuit” in front of the class. Ask them to read the poem twice silently. The first time, they should simply read the poem all the way through. The second time, they should write down all the words and phrases that help them envision the scene.
- Ask one student to read the poem aloud to the class. Have the listening students write down additional words and phrases that jump out at them to describe the scene.
- Play the audio of Elizabeth Bradfield reading her poem. Ask your students to write down additional things they hear from her reading.
- Have your students gather in small groups and discuss what they think Bradfield did in her poem to have them envision the scene on the Provincetown pier.
- Hold a whole-class discussion: What happens in the last three lines of the poem? (You can introduce the idea of a turn, if you’d like.) What do your students think the speaker in the poem is trying to tell us about herself, her relationship to MacMillan, and the teenagers who are jumping from the pier?