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“The Bull Moose,” by Alden Nowlan

March 1, 2011

This poem straightened and lifted its horns so that even the wardens backed away as they raised their rifles.

Back in the days when I typically taught Intro to Lit among the bricks and mortar, I often made an assignment something like this: Choose a poem or story we’ve read, cross it with an activity or interest from some other part of your life, and use the “offspring” of that genetic mismatch to show us something about the poem and about yourself.

Students served up a skilletful of spicy eggs along with Green Chile, taught us a few basic steps to accompany Fox Trot Fridays, interviewed a WW2 vet great-uncle about his time in the Europe of The Trains, and one young guy with an interest in welding and a shed full of machinery parts crafted the moose pictured here.  Man, I miss that class in the classroom sometimes.

Nowlan’s poem is among the poems in the “Symbol, Allegory, & Irony” chapter of The Compact Bedford Introduction to Literature, (8th ed.) edited by Michael Meyer. It’s also in Nowlan’s own Selected Poems (House of Anansi Press, 1996).

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