Like a lot of people, I didn’t like poetry growing up. I did not understand how someone could write about a tree and hundreds of years later people say that the writer was actually talking about “insert a deep thought here; related or not” and long discussions, debates, and even books be written about that concept whether or not it was the writer’s intention. Interpretation – that is where I struggled with poetry.
My brother is a poet. He enjoys writing poetry and he is very good at portraying his thoughts through fewer words and complex imagery. My friend Habeeb, who I grew up in school with, is a poet. He is very knowledgeable on literature and it is reflected in his poetry styles. What I have realized is that I value poetry and can now enjoy reading it. I enjoy it most when I know who wrote it. I can discuss more complex thoughts within writing, but can definitely be more invested when I know the circumstances and person as the writer. I like the full picture of knowing the writer and their writing.
I can’t say I write poetry very much myself, I am more of a story writer. What I do like about writing is that I can put down all of my thoughts and feelings. Like I have just mentioned, I like writing because it gives me the full picture of where I am at through my writing. I have not delved into writing poetry to speak enough about it, just an occasional haiku.
I have not had to teach poetry. The closest I have been to teaching poetry is through Bible study and reading poems written throughout scripture like in Genesis, Exodus, Psalm, etc. My criteria for good poetry is very broad. I guess poetry is not any other type of writing like narratives or research, etc.
Knowing that I like being able to relate to poetry, I would do the same for my students in my classroom. I would have them read poetry from people they know, read poetry I wrote, and have them write their own poetry. Some would be funny and others serious. There is a lot of variety in poetry and I would let them dabble in a lot of different types and see which ones they like. We could have a poetry open mic night which the stool and the spotlight with everyone else laying on bean bags and such. I would incorporate poetry centers into my classroom to address different topics in poetry. This could include listening to poetry, word scrambles, a treasure hunt for poetry, illustrating poetry, performing poetry, etc. I would teach a poem that is easily accessible and a poem they can relate to. Then I would guide the students to interpret and analyse the poem in depth in order to apply those skills to other poetry the students read.
Poetry is, like I mentioned above, a topic that is more often than not seen as boring and hard to understand. I like the idea of seeing where poetry hides and sharing that with my students. Poetry does not hide in an assignment but in nature and in life. It is personalized and is another way of looking at the small moments in life and appreciating them.
Poetry is a much more moving and interesting topic than what is typically viewed and I am looking forward to growing with that mindset as well.