Pied Beauty Topics for Further Study
by Gerard Manley Hopkins

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Topics for Further Study

(Poetry for Students)

• Write an essay in which you compare and contrast “Pied Beauty” with John Keats’s poem “Ode to a Nightingale” or Dylan Thomas’s poem “The Force That Through the Green Fuse Drives the Flower.” What does each poem reveal about the relationship between man, God, and nature?

• Write a poem on any topic using sprung rhythm and alliteration. You may use any number of syllables per line, but you must keep to a set number of strong stresses per line (as in Hopkins’s “Pied Beauty,” you may vary the number by one only). You may use rhyme or not, as you wish. Write a short separate paragraph on how the techniques of sprung rhythm and alliteration helped or hindered the meaning of the poem. Finally, perform your poem and read your paragraph to a group.

• Hopkins’s poems often move between a personal, sensual experience to a philosophical reflection. Write an essay discussing this movement with relation to at least three of his poems.

• Identify some images that recur in Hopkins’s poems, and write an essay on how they relate to the themes of the poems.

• Read about Hopkins’s religious life and views, and create a class presentation in which you relate your findings to his poetry.