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Gauchos + stanzas = the recipe for an epic poem

RECENTLY, OUR WORLD LITERATURE TEACHER GARRETT AUSTEN introduced his tenth grade students to the literary genre known as the epic poem. Originating in Ancient Greece, (think The Illiad), the epic poem centers around a single hero and proceeds to tell a lengthy story detailing his adventures. While the volume of epic poems being produced has died down over the last one hundred years, the genre flourished in Argentina during the 1800’s through such works as José Hernández’s 2,316 line Martín Fierro.

In Martín Fierro, José Hernández writes about the gaucho Martín Fierro, a recently conscripted cowboy who lives on the South American plains known as the pampas. Using an eight syllable style that is commonly paired with a guitar in the region, Hernández tells the story of of Fierro’s numerous exploits living in the Argentinean version of the “Wild West”.

Using the same 1-2 stanzas and eight syllable lines as José Hernández, our tenth grade students created their own interpretations of Martín Fierro. You can find a sample of these writings below:

 

Hannah C.
He’s lost in a rare still moment,

Singing of his vast grassy plains,

Unruly beasts he used to tame.

His blanket was the midnight sky,

A meaty woman on his thigh.

Martin Fierro was his name.

 

While feasting on the morning’s kill,

the gaucho thinks to hone his knife to prepare for his gaucho strife.

Spitting grit and smacking his lips,

a pile of peels and heap of pips,

the gaucho sings his gaucho life.

 

Gawa S.
Beside me he stood then and there,

And struck them, the troops of police

I made my way hoping for peace

Between us, it was robbery

Fighting against all poverty

Defending his home at the least.

 

Ferociously one was murdered

The one that stepped up to attack

The rest backed with courage that lacked

Unstoppable, we were the cause

And then they left, without a pause

Together they left in a pack.

 

Yuan Yuan K.
I left them, as they pursued me

without any chance to look back at my angels;

expressions black.

Without a mouse hole to reside

I was chased, with nowhere to hide

for protection, without a sack.
let my resilience be acknowledged

to mortals who dare challenge me;

rips away what lets me be free

and locks it behind iron bars.

Under endless blanket of stars,

Martin Fierro sings his plea.

Joseph H.

A story of misfortunes told,

Family man whose life would unravel

Forced to fight, so he did travel

But once he returned to his home

To discover that he was now alone

In nothing could he now revel
Now alone and a wanted man

Into the wilds our hero fled

With nothing but the ground for a bed

Our gaucho’s misfortunes were played.

His legacy forever stayed.

His name Martin Fierro it’s said.

 

Melissa M.
Let me just inform you my friend

In a gaucho story, we should say

Not only what they convey

But what we see and they can feel,

How they are from head to their heel

And how to God they always pray
Riding their horses they will be

And Martin Fierro with his song

Will make you assume that they’re strong

These fellows had lonely souls

Yet they do have important roles

In Argentina they belong

 

Alejandro R.
To the rhythm of my guitar

Here I come to sing to a man

Whose sentiments we plainly can,

Tame with the whistle of a bird

Or feel the extremely sad, weird

Relief as Martin Fierro ran.

 

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Ready to embark on the educational journey of a lifetime?

A passion for travel. A strong academic record. And the desire to improve the world as you experience it. If this sounds like you, you just might be our ideal candidate! Start your application with a five-minute inquiry form - you never know where you might end up.

It all starts here.

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