Here’s a way to introduce English Literature in the classroom:
(adapted from an assignment by the great Jeffrey Leathem, a colleague in my department!!)
We’re going to do a little old-fashioned chest-thumping Anglo-Saxon style.
Your boast should include the following elements:
A. Self-identification (I am . . .)
B. Your immediate ancestry and something about your lineage
C. Boasts of at least three past achievements and/or hobbies
D. Boast of an achievement to come
E. Include at least three identifiable kennings (Identify in margin)
F. Include at least three identifiable alliterative phrases (monster-mashing, Grendel grater) (Identify in margin)
Should be 20-25 lines – approximate verse form (no need to rhyme)
***Extra Credit will be given to those souls who dress up like Anglo-Saxon Warriors and deliver the boast aloud in class
Anglo-Saxon Boast Example
Hail young thanes who gather about me –
For I am GG, dweller of the creek.
From the land of Lincoln, here in Chicago.
Daughter of the late RC, chief motivator of the crowds,
And N, seller of homes. Sister of D,
Online gamer consult & seller of homes.
From the high plains I come! I roar!
Reader of books, dancer of songs,
Scribe of stories, and essay-assigner.
Commander of the hardwood battlefield,
I approach my foes and float on them with the
Fine fin, wading through water,
Snapping waves, watching for whacks from my foes.
I speak of and boast of the victories of the
Blue and White Small Bear Warriors!
And how ‘bout those Blue and Silver Boys?!
I stretch with force forming a fine angle –
Blasting my limb-movers and walking-propellers with
Momentous endurance. Defeating my enemies.
Flying on the human-kite at 1300 ft. above ground.
Pale-hosed, I prepare the fire feast – The great celebrations.
Under sweltering sun in the flame’s face.
I barbecue the grub –Party Host Champion I am hailed:
Planner of Surprises! Host of many!
A challenge is decreed by my heir –
I am healer of wounds, listener of qualms,
Helper of homework, preparing the way for
My heir to this mighty mead-hall.
I’ll make good on my boast and talk all the louder –
Poets will celebrate my actions with rousing cries,
Shaping my deeds into timeless songs.