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African Praise Poems

(Click on the arrow above to hear African drum music.)

You will create an African Praise Poem. The format and some examples of this type of poetry are described below. The purpose of this assignment is to get you playing around with words and also to let the rest of the class learn a little bit about you since you will be describing yourself through your African Praise Poem. Have fun with this!

Guidelines for Writing an African Praise Poem Characteristics of an African Praise Poem: Poet compares himself/herself to animals Poet may use repeated phrases and metaphors (an implied analogy in which one thing is imaginatively compared to or identified with another dissimilar thing) Poet may use interjections (Word conveying emotion such as alas!), alliteration (Repetition of consonant sounds at the beginning of words or within words as in Macbeth’s phrase “after life’s fitful fever.”), and/or assonance (The close repetition of middle vowel sounds between different consonant sounds: fade/pale. Assonance is usually used within a line of poetry for unity or rhythmic effect, as Edith Sitwell uses it in this line from “The Drum”: Whinnying, neighed the maned blue wind). Guidelines: 1st line—an introduction or a salute—begin with a phrase such as “Praise to,” “Here’s to,” or “I am” next 2 to 3 lines—refer to yourself by different descriptive names and phrases— compare or identify yourself with something without using “like” or “as;” for example, a wolf, a storm thundering across the plain; animals and natural occurrences most commonly used next to last line—refer to some action or deed last line—begin the same way as the 1st line; repeat the idea of the first line, but vary the words Sample African Praise Poems I am the young lion! The wild animal with pad-feet and black back! Whose father has given up hope from the beginning and whose mother has wept for a long time. I am the fine elephant of Mathubapulu, the finest elephant in the Matsaakgang. --Bantu praise poem I am the attention-demanding weasel. The peacock who worked tremendously hard. Whose parents were so proud of her accomplishments But would not mingle with all until a flying bird traveling throughout the world. I am a quiet and nourishing rainfall. --V. DiLorenzo

Images of African Culture

Map of Africa; Zaire in red
Tribal Dance Image
imgAfrican Mask

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