Written by Joseph Womack, Working it Out is a method of approaching poetry, George Herbert's poems specifically, but the methods could easily be applied to other poets.
- The poem
- The Big Picture-gives an overall discussion of what the poem is about
- The Parts of the Picture-explains the poem stanza-by-stanza
- The Parts of the Picture Come Together-covers the strain of thought throughout the poem
- Reflections-questions for personal meditation are provided
- Scriptures for Further Reflection
In her forward, Janice Campbell recommends copying all parts of the poem, reading it silently, reading it aloud, and transforming the poem to prose to deepen understanding.
Also included is biographical information for George Herbert, an introduction and words of thanksgiving by Womack, and bibliography.
The poems are broken up into subjects and include the poems:
- Looking Back, Moving Forward
- The Glance
- The Flower
- The Cross
- Letting Go
- Sin's Round
- The Search
- Church Lock and Key
- Easter Wings
- The Elixir
- Praise II
- The Call
- Depending on God
- The Priesthood
- The Windows
- Joseph's Coat
- The Storm
- The Method
- Special Blessings of the Church
- The Banquet
- The Invitation
- The Bunch of Grapes
- Church Music
- More Insights
- Dust to Dust: Church monuments
- Rebellion: The Collar
- Brevity: Life
- Not Understanding the Ways of God or Self: Justice
- Restlessness: The Pulley
- Anxiety and Living in the Present Moment: The Discharge
- God Within Us: Sion
- God the Architect: The Church Floor
- Poetry: The Quiddity
- The Bible: The Holy Scriptures
There are several resources available on Excellence-in-Literature.com . Some of the resources that we especially enjoyed were:
" Love bade me welcome; yet my soul drew back,
Guilty of dust and sin,"
Herbert has a way of capturing the grit of the subject. How about this one from The Holdfast...
"Then will I trust, said I, in him alone.
Nay, even to trust in him, was also his;
We must confess that nothing is our own."
To use the guide, we would recommend considering reading the poem silently, then aloud. Then have your child narrate the poem either orally or by a written narration and then delve into the parts of the study. While I like for Ceesa to interpret poetry for herself without being told the meaning, Working it Out provides a good basis and understanding of how to look at poetry. Looking at the whole and then breaking it down into parts and then back to the whole gives a poem a new dimension and there are a lot of good habits to pick up with such a study.
We are looking forward to delving in further throughout this year. My hope is upon completion, Ceesa will be able to have a new love of Herbert's poetry, but also a method for reflecting and digesting all poetry.
Wishing you homeschool blessings,
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