Poetry Part Deux: Week in Review

           Friday Dialogue from                

                                      Your Two Favorite Educators 

As Emily and Aubrey look back over the week they use their razor sharp wit to discuss if “Party Rock” is a form of poetry.

1.)  How can we get kids amped for poetry with sacrificing the integrity and intent of the poem itself?
Aubrey: I like to do an exercise.  I show them some poems that they “deem” easy to write.  “This is to Say” works well.  Annotate, discuss, annotate some more.  They still aren’t convinced.  So then I ask them to make a list. Is Aubrey right?Ten everyday things they know well.  Toothbrushes, steering wheels, spiral notebooks, anything.  They do it.  Then I say write me a poem in the same style as William Carlos Williams about one thing on your list.  10 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes.  I’m lucky if I get one good “knock-off.”  But that’s all it is and most of them can articulate that it’s only a poor copy.  This isn’t innovative or life changing but it proves my point.  Poetry is hard, and when it’s good you can’t replicate it.  Forget amped.  Make poetry a challenge, a dare. 
I agree, but I guess I’m just afraid a lot of times we give in and let students off easy by analyzing something else to prepare them for a poem instead of having them fully analyze the poem itself.

2.)  Last week you asked me to name a celebrity that I feel is a modern poet.  Along those lines, this week I’d like you to tell me one modern song that you feel qualifies as a poem.
Aubrey:  Party Rock.  If a line like, “Hating is bad” doesn’t qualify as poetry I don’t know what does. It makes me think while rocking.  Two things I frequently do at the same time.
What does Emily say?Emily:  
“Party Rock” is such a lame song.  C’mon.  Really?  I refuse to think that a band who has an acronym for a name can be truly poetic.  Plus, I hate their clothes.  They look ridiculous.  All poets look serious.

3.)  On Wednesday I referenced how “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” overwhelms me.  What poem makes you a self conscious reader?
Anything in blank verse.  Anything by John Milton.  Paradise Lost.  That’s it.  Paradise Lost.  I’m defining “overwhelms” as beyond my capacity and that is MIlton in every way.  
Good one.  That is tough.  Really tough.  However, there is something mythical about it that I think works.  Speaking of epic poems, I’d also like to throw “The Odyssey” and “The Iliad” into the list of poems I’m not smart enough to understand.  Man, they’re hard.

4.)  Some argue that “everything is a poem.”  Do you agree?
Aubrey: Absolutely not.  Many things are not poems.  Christina Aguilera’s face, Cee-Lo’s cat, Demi Moore, traffic, bowties, those lace up oxford/jazz/saddle shoes–all not poems. And even though I think  “Call Me, Maybe”is super catchy, it isn’t poetry either.
Emily:   I want to hate that “Call Me, Maybe” song so much and I can’t.  It is so catchy that I can’t even think about the poetic value of it.  I’m blinded by the pop of it.  Back to the question, in preparation for this week I found a source about writing haikus about traffic signs.  I found them funny, engaging, and truly poetic.  While I don’t think everything is a poem, I do think it is possible to find poetry in all things.

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