In this lesson students will:
- Compare two poems by different authors
- Analyze what the poet creates in "Creation Myth"
- Write a poem that is a new creation myth
A creation myth explains the origin and ordering of some kind of world—the physical universe, for example, or even an idea or institution. Creation myths are particularly common as elements of accepted truth within religious or cultural traditions (think creationism, the Big Bang, Romulus and Remus). Creation myths can hold a lot of power, so writing new ones is also a powerful act.
Encountering the Poem
- Start by reading W. H. Auden's poem "The More Loving One."
- Have a student read "Creation Myth" aloud.
- Identify the parts of "Creation Myth" that draw from "The More Loving One."
- How is "Creation Myth" responding to Auden's text?
- Identify the parts of "Creation Myth" that draw from the Judeo-Christian creation story.
- How is "Creation Myth" responding to this religious text?
- Discuss what the world created in "Creation Myth" is like and how it differs from the one in "The More Loving One" or the Judeo-Christian worldview.
Have students write their own creation myth. Ask them to consider creation myths they're already familiar with. Have them make a list of the key elements of these myths and circle elements that are of most interest to them. Ask them to use these elements in their poems. Encourage them to consider using their poem to reject part of an established creation myth they disagree with or that doesn't feel right to them.
Related Reading in The Collagist
- Lisa Russ Spaar's Spring in the Middle Ages
- Geffrey Davis's What My Father Might Say, If I Let Him Speak
- Andrew Koch's What I Needed to Say to Texas