No-Prep Monday Poetry Of The Week: Using fragmenta Pīsōnis

For this year’s students, learning about the Romans—in Latin—began late in October with a CALP-inspired topic exploration on Roman housing (more on this, later) after months of focusing on the self, class, and community. Exploring Roman housing took place just after students read their first novella, Quīntus et nox horrifica. Upon returning from the December holiday break, students read their second novella, Drūsilla in Subūrā, which featured city-living apartments more familiar to them after the topic exploration during the fall. Learning about the Romans will now continue throughout the year as a new weekly routine begins…

Semester 2 introduces weekly poetry from fragmenta Pīsōnis. This novella is a collection of 50 lines of poetry written in dactylic hexameter, hendecasyllables, and scazon (i.e. limping iambics). The content draws from the Pisoverse novellas Rūfus lutulentus, Rūfus et arma ātra, and Agrippīna: māter fortis.

Using fragmenta Pīsōnis
The Pisoverse novellas need not be read prior to using fragmenta Pīsōnis. There’s a prose description of what inspired Piso’s poetry prior to each verse itself, providing any narrative context and exposure to the words found in each verse. The structure for “Poetry of the Week” includes a few steps:

  • play audio file (see end of this post)
  • get books (or look at projected section), read the prose description (e.g. bell ringer, “do now”), perhaps using various reading activities. This could last 5-15 minutes, either independent Sustained Silent Reading (SSR), or any partner reading activity.
  • recite the poetry together as a class
  • add drums (I have several hand drums, but stomping and clapping provided by some of the musicians in the room should do just fine)

The first section entitled “fragmenta mea” is somewhat of a think aloud as Piso explains his composition process, and establishes what dactylic hexameter should sound like. This is an excellent introduction to the rhythm of Latin poetry, all in Latin! No more explicitly teaching scansion out of context of meaning! This section does feel rather didactic, so don’t expect students to jump out of their seats just yet! Playing the audio file first at least provides a hook, but this routine will take weeks to build. In fact, I don’t ask students to recite along at all. However, once they catch on to the beat, many voluntarily join in with me. At that point, I bring out a new drum each week to add to the rhythmic fun!

Poetry Of The Week
If you don’t have the book, access the text to accompany the first 12 lines. Also, I’ll be sharing weekly audio files to be used along with the poetry, so keep a look out and add this to no-prep Monday options! Upon reviewing the novella, each section could serve as an entire Monday’s agenda aside from a quick Weekend Talk, or other favorite activity!

Here’s the first audio file:
0 – fragmenta Pīsōnis

3 thoughts on “No-Prep Monday Poetry Of The Week: Using fragmenta Pīsōnis

  1. Pingback: Poetry Of The Week | Magister P.

  2. Pingback: Poetry Of The Week (POW) 3 | Magister P.

  3. Pingback: Using Novellas: 5 No-Prep Ways To Read | Magister P.

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