Alice Twombly

Alice Twombly has a B.A. in English from Brandeis and an M.A.T. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She taught Shakespeare and AP English at Teaneck H.S. for over 35 years. An educational consultant, photographer, and poet, Alice frequently lectures on literary topics at regional libraries, is the Curator of Thursdays Are For Poetry, a monthly poetry reading in Teaneck, and a member of Brevitas, an online poetry collective of over 70 poets in the NY Metro Area.

Related Courses

Wislawa Szymborska: A Polish Nobelist Poet – Five More Poems

Out of 117 Nobel Prize Laureates in Literature, only 16 have been women, and only 3 were poets, one of whom was Wislawa Szymborska, a Polish Poet who won the Prize in 1996. Her poems in translation speak powerfully to us today. There will be two classes of her poetry. (See class 1.1.2.) In each class, we will read five different poems.


Wislawa Szymborska: A Polish Nobelist Poet – Five Poems

Out of 117 Nobel Prize Laureates in Literature, only 16 have been women, and only 3 were poets – one of whom was Wislawa Szymborska, a Polish poet who won the prize in 1996. Her poems in translation speak powerfully to us today. There will be two classes of her poetry. (See class 2.2.3.) In each class, we will read five different poems.


2.2.5 Beowulf and Grendel

Beowulf is considered to be the first great work of “English” literature although it was written in the Anglo-Saxon period (between the 7th – 10th centuries, C.E.) and in Old English. It concerns characters who did not live in Britain, but in Scandanavia. Mythic Beowulf, a Scandinavian prince, has killed Grendel, who threatened the lives of Beowulf’s people, the Geats. Later, Grendel’s Mother, one of the great monsters of history, seeks to avenge her son. We will be reading Beowulf for the first four weeks, and the great philosophical novel, Grendel, by John Gardner (1971), to examine Grendel’s side of the story. Please buy Seamus Heaney’s Beowulf, A Verse Translation, Norton Critical Edition (2002) and before the first class, read Denis Donoghue’s Preface and Old English Language and Poetics. NEW!


1.2.5 Deconstructing Macbeth

In reading Macbeth, we will try to get below the rich language of the play to understand not only the complexities of the theme of ambition and its consequences in the lives of Macbeth (a real Scottish Thane) and Lady Macbeth (a real Scottish Princess called Gruoch) but also to examine how the structure of the play contributes to its greatness. Traditionally, this play has been called “The Scottish Play” because many disasters have been associated with productions of the play. I don’t intend to tempt fate but…. Please purchase a copy of the Folger Edition of the play so we can all stay on the same page. DO NOT download the play to Kindle. It will make a mess of things. (You may want to see the new movie Macbeth with Denzel Washington, but you might want to wait until we finish the course.) NEW!


More “Modernism”

This will be a short story that we didn’t get to read in the fall, namely F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Diamond as Big as the Ritz”. Look for the pdf link and download.


Still More “Modernism”

This will be another short story that we didn’t get to read in the fall, namely Ernest Hemingway’s “Now I Lay Me”. Look for pdf link or look for Hemingway short story collections on line or in the library.


Deconstructing Two Shakespearean Plays: Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth

A look at the poetry of the plays and the structure it provides as it reveals character and the contrast between an early and a late play. Familiarity with both plays would be helpful.” NEW!


Modernism In The Short Stories Of Ernest Hemingway And F. Scott Fitzgerald

Modernism was a worldwide artistic movement of the late 19th and early 20th century in the pre-WWI and post-WWI worlds. It sought to break with traditional and classical forms of art be they music, painting, dance, or literature. Two American writers of the 1920s and 1930s, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway, changed forever the focus and form of the short story. We will read stories by each writer written from 1920-1933. Fitzgerald: “Bernice Bobs Her Hair” (1920), “May Day” (1920), “Winter Dreams” (1922), and “Babylon, Revisited” (1931), and Hemingway: “Cat in the Rain” (1925), “The Killers” (1925), “Hills Like White Elephants” (1927), and “A Way You’ll Never Be” (1933).   All of these stories should be downloadable in pdf files. NEW!


War’s Consequences: Two Short Stories by Ernest Hemingway

We will study “In Another Country” and “Soldier’s Home.” Here are the links: https://www.somanybooks.org/eng208/SoldiersHome.pdf and       https://mt15000219.schoolwires.net/cms/lib/MT15000219/Centricity/Domain/97/In%20Another%20Country.pdf. Please read the stories before class.


Black Lives Matter  

African American poets examine race through the lens of powerful poems. These poems are listed in order of publication. Each of these is downloadable using Google, but here are suggested links for each poem.
1. “I, Too” by Langston Hughes 1926 www.poetryfoundation.org
2. “Southern Cop” by Sterling A. Brown 1936 www.poemhunter.com
3. “we real cool” by Gwendolyn Brooks 1960 www.poetryfoundation.org
4. “Those Winter Sundays” by Robert Hayden 1962 www.poetryfoundation.org
5. “Facing It” by Yusef Komunyakaa 1988 www.poetryfoundation.org
6. “Incident” by Natasha Tretheway 2006 www.poetryfoundation.org
If we have time for it:
7. “Praise Song for the Day”, Elizabeth Alexander 2009 www.poetryfoundation.org (Written for President Barack Obama’s Inauguration, Jan 20, 2009.)