ENGL 203 Song lyrics as Poetry Activity

  • Look at the song: AIN?T GOT NO / I GOT LIFE by Nina Simone.
  • I ain’t got no home, ain’t got no shoes
    Ain’t got no money, ain’t got no class
    Ain’t got no skirts, ain’t got no sweater
    Ain’t got no perfume, ain’t got no bed
    Ain’t got no mind

    Ain’t got no mother, ain’t got no culture
    Ain’t got no friends, ain’t got no schooling
    Ain’t got no love, ain’t got no name
    Ain’t got no ticket, ain’t got no token
    Ain’t got no God

    And what have I got?
    Why am I alive anyway?
    Yeah, what have I got
    Nobody can take away?

    Got my hair, got my head
    Got my brains, got my ears
    Got my eyes, got my nose
    Got my mouth, I got my smile
    I got my tongue, got my chin
    Got my neck, got my boobs
    Got my heart, got my soul
    Got my back, I got my sex

    I got my arms, got my hands
    Got my fingers, got my legs
    Got my feet, got my toes
    Got my liver, got my blood

    I’ve got life, I’ve got my freedom
    I’ve got the life

    I’ve got the life
    And I’m gonna keep it
    I’ve got the life
    And nobody’s gonna take it away
    I’ve got the life

  • Read the lyrics, then listen to the song again, and then re-read the lyrics, annotating the lyrics (either on a printed version or using the Comments feature in Microsoft Word or your computer’s PDF reader). Take notes on anything that stands out to you (unusual or vivid words, sounds, imagery, rhymes, symbolism, storytelling, etc.)
  • Re-read the “Really Useful Poetry Terms” handout from Wednesday
  • Read the lyrics, taking notes whether you see the songwriter using any of the poetic and literary devices listed on the “Really Useful Poetry Terms” handout
  • FYI, if you consult any outside sources other than the song lyrics themselves (such as the online song analyses at genius.com), just be sure to cite your sources for your insights.
  • Please note that to get full credit on this assignment, you must actually include detailed, line-by-line analysis of the specific poetic devices you see in the song.
  • Upload the annotated version of your favorite song to Blackboard (the assignment page is in the this weeks’ Folder)