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The Colonel

The Colonel


by Carolyn Forché

The Colonel Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. Why do you think Forché went to the colonel's house in the first place? What did she expect?
  2. Are poems about a specific event limited by their timeliness? Is this poem as important to readers today as it was during El Salvador's Civil War? Why might this poem continue to be relevant?
  3. Why write this poem in a block of prose, rather than with line breaks, as most poems have? What effect does the form have on the impact?
  4. If this were pure invention, not true at all, would that decrease the poem's value? 
  5. What is the best way to commemorate those killed in political purges like this one? 
  6. Why is this poem taught in so many high schools? What does it teach students about the possibilities of poetry?

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