Seeing You Topics for Further Study
by Jean Valentine

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Topics for Further Study

(Poetry for Students)

  • Valentine considers her fellow poets Fanny Howe, Jane Cooper, Sharon Olds, C. D. Wright, and Adrienne Rich to be her friends and models. Write a brief biography for each of these American women, including a capsule description of her work. Summarize your research with a comparison of these poets.
  • Valentine's Door in the Mountain is a collection of all of her previous publications as well as several new poems. Investigate this practice of reprinting previously published works that is so common among poets. Why are previous collections "recycled"? Write a report on the answer, which should be an insight into the publishing industry and the reading public. Information relating to this topic may be found in the introductions to the collections of various poets.
  • Valentine has spent most of her life as a college professor. Check on the professions of a number of other famous modern writers in the fields of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction and list them. Are most or many involved in teaching? If so, conduct a discussion with a group of your classmates about why you think that is or is not the case.
  • "Seeing You" is a poem that describes the poet's mother as being afraid. Why do you think she is afraid? What are the fears that all mothers (and fathers) share? Write a composition on this subject, perhaps interviewing various parents about their challenges and feelings.
  • Valentine has spent most of her life in the New York City area, which is the publishing center of the United States. Investigate the publishing industry, including publishing houses, agents, and authors. List some of the major publishing houses located in New York City and comment in a group discussion on why you think so many are in New York City or close to each other.
  • Valentine is often compared to Emily Dickinson and Louise Bogan. Choose one of these two poets and then write a paragraph identifying her followed by a paragraph comparing her work to that of Valentine.