18 April 2012

P is for Poetry

is for Poetry - you knew that was coming, didn't you?

At school I'm in the middle of teaching a unit on poetry, and let me tell you my students jumped up and down when I first told them we were going to spend at least two weeks on it!

No really, they threw their books on the floor and jumped on them repeatedly.

And so I had to begin with this statement: everyone likes poetry. The cries of agreement were never stronger. Then I asked them, "How many of you like music?" Only the students who like to disagree with everything said they didn't. Then I said, "You just proved me right - everyone likes poetry because the majority of the world likes music."

That goes for you too - you know you like music, at least some kind of it, therefore you like poetry because music is poetry!

We went on to read the lyrics and listen to "Paint it Black," by the Rolling Stones, and "Around the Bend," by Creedence Clearwater Revival. It was a great way to introduce the idea that music is actually poetry, and those songs have great images to work with, too.

Satan's fall*
Now that you like poetry, you need to give the book form another chance. My tastes go for the narrative forms like John Milton's Paradise Lost, and Dante's Divine Comedy. There's just something about the telling of a story in poetic form that catches and keeps my attention. Robert Frost is a must too; his poems are about such simple things, and he entwines rich themes with that crisp language most of you are probably familiar with anyway.  ...Oh, and there's always Shakespeare, his sonnets are incredible...

Yes, you have to read it a few times to understand it; yes, you might spend twice as much time with a book of poetry as you would with The Hunger Games; yes, when you're finished, everything else you pick up will feel like child's play. And if you think, "this is bad" - it probably is; don't feel like you're missing something you should be getting, the best poems are clear and straightforward.

Beautiful, challenging, rewarding - isn't that what you look for in a book?


Read more about my theme this April in my intro to the A-Z Blogging Challenge. Or visit the home page here.

*Gustave Dore via Wikipedia


Alex said...

I like my head to hurt when I finish reading, so yes. Poetry (especially Homer, Virgil, and Milton) all the way!

DeniseCovey_L_Aussie said...

Music lyrics as poetry gets 'em every time.


Tara Tyler said...


gotta have sarcasm as a teacher. why are there always a few who argue everything?! i have 2 in my house! ah!

i teach hs math =)

Anonymous said...

I'm with you Alex :). I'm sure its similar to knowing how good I'll feel AFTER I stop exercising!

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