Poetry: Overview

I’m supposed to like teaching literature and that should include poetry.  It should include poetry.  I should like teaching poetry.  P-0-E-T-R-Y.

But I don’t.


National Poetry Month should fill me with a certain type of English teacher glee.  Like Shakespeare’s birthday or the National Book Festival.  It should be sacred.  Instead, I try to pretend it isn’t happening.

Poetry is difficult to teach well.  If it doesn’t rhyme they don’t think it’s poetry.  If it rhymes they think it’s easy to emulate.    If it’s about love it’s too “gooey,” and if it’s about fruit, chickens or Emily Dickinson it’s “inconsequential.”  While the joy of poetry seems like something easily captured in Disney’s multiple ads for What a Poem Is, I’ve rarely seen students enter my classroom feeling so enormously captured and captivated.  It’s easy to see why sometimes it seems like a good idea to employ the gimmicks of Dangerous Minds.

The focus of this week is to examine poetry through a variety of lenses, specifically with the goal of teaching media literacy via poetry.  For students who frequently question the role of literature, especially poetry, this week’s focus will serve as a supplement to pre-existing poetry units.

One comment

  1. [...] Last week Aubrey provided great new resources to bring poetry instruction into the 21st century.  This week, I’m going to examine several widely used lessons on teaching poetry and provide suggestions on how to revamp and revitalize them.  While a lot of turn to several key lessons for poetry instruction (like drawing the poem and analyzing song lyrics as poems) these old standbys often don’t fully challenge our students or prepare them to fully analyze a challenging poem on their own.  However, these lessons do have a lot of potential.  This week I will be exploring three popular lessons for poetry instruction and will provide extensions or further activities to deepen student knowledge of the art that is poetry. Category: Poetry | [...]

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