Saturday, April 6, 2013

Let's explore and discover poetry instead of dissecting it

My library card got a major workout today.
It must be poetry month.

After reading a blog post from Cindy Minnich this morning, I was reminded again why poetry month is my favorite time of the year to be an English teacher. I take it upon myself as a personal challenge to make all my students lovers (or at least appreciaters) of poetry before the first of May.

How do I do that?
By giving them time.

Time to read.
Time to savor.
Time to wiggle around inside the lines and stanzas of a poem.

I think the knee-jerk reaction of English teachers everywhere is when a poem is thrust in front of us, we must dissect every word, line, and stanza until all the "hidden" meanings have been exhausted.

But just like with books, we also need to give kids the opportunity to explore poetry for its own sake, not just to find meaning. There is merit in just savoring a beautiful turn of phrase without having to interpret some sage wisdom or enlightenment. Sometimes the enlightenment is just listening to the words fall off your lips.

And while I certainly do my fair share of poetry interpreting during this month, I also make sure that I give my students time to live inside the pages of that big pile of books and let them just enjoy a poem for its own sake. Instead of tying poems to a chair and beating them with a hose, I choose to celebrate the magic and impact poetry can have on students' lives if I give them time to do their own discovering.

I encourage you to do the same.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you!!! I look forward to hearing how it goes. I saw your post this week...don't get discouraged about the negativity that the kids have to start with - they come around eventually.