Spoon River Revisited
Spoon River Anthology appeared in 1915, and 2010 marks it's 95th anniversary. This book, written by Edgar Lee Masters, is a collection of free verse poems that tell the story of a fictional small town in Illinois named Spoon River. Each of the 212 poems is an epitaph delivered by one the inhabitants. By piecing together the information in each short poem, the reader discovers a collective account of life in Spoon River.
Students throughout Illinois can imagine that they are Edgar Lee Masters, writing a unique Spoon River Anthology for their own communities. They can take on the challenge of discovering the incredible amount of research required to to create such representative character studies. Students use both fieldwork in local cemeteries as well as primary document research in local repositories to complete their own anthologies. The "Spoon River Anthology Revisited" project is intended to be interdisiplinary across English and History curriculum.
Teachers of late high school Illinois History or American Studies classes can follow this unit plan created by Past Tracker staff:
Following the research undertaken in the History unit plan, English or American Studies teachers can follow the lesson plan below, which builds off of the research undertaken by the history students. With some adjustment, this lesson plan is also usable as a standalone lesson.
Students are encouraged to publish their research and creative writing, as well as interact with each other, on the Wiki site at www.spoonriverrevisted.pbworks.com.
Supplemental Lesson plans
"Curriculum Materials" by Elizabeth H. Miller, Illinois History Teacher Volume 7:2- Activity 3 directly relates to the Spoon River Anthology, but there other great activities relating to Illinois poets as well.