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 LE TEMPS A LAISSIÉ SON MANTEAU (THE SEASON HAS SHED ITS SHAWL) Charles d’Orléans (1394-1465) 

How do 21st century teens make a 15th century French poem their own? 

Any way they want to. 

This mixed media work is an example of an Idea Institute Weekend Mini-Project in French. It’s a tribute to what high school students can creatively achieve when they’re encouraged to channel their unique talents and interests at home, utilizing study time deliberately marked by low pressure, freedom of choice, and the absence of must-turn-it-in-on-Monday-or-else busywork. 

A little thoughtful planning, no boundaries to experimentation, loads of imagination, and a hint of serendipity recently delivered this beautiful weekend wonder, a personal, handcrafted response by one student who created it soon after studying a medieval French poem welcoming the coming of spring. The poem itself is featured, along with its English translation, prominently and inspirationally in the center of the artwork. 

The delivered mini-project uses the French text as its springboard. It answers poetry with poetry – surrounding the medieval lyric with the student’s own original haikus that sometimes echo, sometimes challenge, always play off the theme and setting of the French verse. It answers poetry with art, collaborating with the medieval by gracefully writing out the lyric by hand in pen, while at the same time asserting the hyper-linked modern by encircling it with a collage of digital imagery tweaked with a splash of manual artistic license. Finally, it answers an objective understanding of the text with self-reflection. 

How do 21st century teens make a 15th century French poem their own? 

By “creative collisions,” discovering in their own ways the most personally satisfying intellectual and emotional meanings in the poet’s words.