John Donne
Lesson plans for poetry and essays

| Biography and Background | | Lessons for Specific Works |

Biography and Background

John Donne
Links to criticism, biography, and e-texts from the Internet Public Library.

John Donne
A brief biography and links to e-texts of the Meditations, poetry, and quotations.

John Donne Online
Links to a variety of poems and prose.

The Metaphysical Poets
This study guide includes poetry by Donne, George Herbert, Andrew Marvell, and Henry Vaughan.

Lesson for Specific Works

Death Personified
In his poem, "Death Be Not Proud," John Donne sits cold, arrogant Death down for a good ol’ fashioned talkin’ to, but Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief gives death a much more compassionate and warm persona. After comparing and contrasting the message and tone of these two mentor texts, students will choose their own object or idea that needs something important said to it and write a poem full of voice and strong ideas. Using poetic devices such as personification, tone and metaphorical language, students will look at their topic (and themselves) in a different and deeper way and clearly convey that message to the reader of their poem. This lesson focuses on voice.

Is No Man an Island?
Designed for 8th graders, this standards-based lesson encourages students to memorize and analyze the "no man is an island" passage. Students also work with art and music.

John Donne Study Questions
This page has study questions for the following: "The Good Morrow," "Go and Catch a Falling Star," "The Sun Rising," "The Canonization," "The Flea," "A Nocturnal," "The Bait," "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning," "The Ecstasy," "A Lecture upon the Shadow," "Holy Sonnets," "Good Friday, 1613. Riding Westward," "Devotions: Meditation 4," "Devotions: Meditation 17," "Devotions: Expostulation 19," and an excerpt from Sermon 76.

John Donne: "A Valediction: Of Weeping"
Critical commentary. Follow the link to the text of the poem.

Listen to Poetry
Scroll down to listen to David Mason read "The Good Morrow."

Nearer, My God, to Thee: When poets get intimate with a higher power
Text of a sonnet by Donne ("If poisonous minerals, and if that tree …") and a sonnet by Gerard Manley Hopkins ("Thou art indeed just, Lord, if I contend…"). The page includes commentary and audio files of poet Robert Pinsky reading both.

"Song: Go and Catch a Falling Star" vocabulary
13 words presented in context and with definitions. Click on a word for pronunciation, synonyms, examples of other use, more.

"The Sun Rising"
Teaching tips, discussion questions, and writing ideas. Click on the "Poem Guide" tab for critical commentary.

"The Sun Rising"
Downloadable audio file (2:06); click on the title for the text of the poem.

"A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning"
Access to this audio file requires an MP3 player such as QuickTime.

"A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning" vocabulary
20 words presented in context and with definitions. Click on each word for additional information, including pronunciation and recent usage.

"A Valediction: of Weeping"
Text of the poem, discussion questions, writing prompts, and analysis.