Poetry, Boys, and Misconceptions

The article “It’s something that I feel like writing, instead of writing because I’m being told to: elementary boys’ experiences writing and performing poetry” by Hawkins and Certo goes through a study of teaching boys poetry. More often than not, boys interact with poetry less and are less engaged with it. This goes beyond the way it is taught, but also the content it usually covers.

The study investigates teaching about twenty boys poetry using mentor text that interest them and writing on topics that are meaningful to them. The boys wrote about basketball, cheetahs, dragons, war, their mother, etc. The results and responses from the boys showed that they can and do enjoy poetry when it is meaningful to them. It is a way for them to write about their thoughts, feelings, interests, and a way to share their work for their voices to be heard. I love this poem below by DeMarcus who goes against all grammatical structure and creates one, long, run-on sentence. He demonstrates how there is structure in his poem through the lack of structure and carries you through a story of a basketball game.

Hoops by DeMarcus

Shouting yelling peanuts throwing

basketball flying nets swishing

Lakers Celtics all-star games people

talking having fun crowd going

crazy coach yelling shoot the

ball Pierce shoots Celtics win

This article has given me more insight on how to teach poetry to both boys and girls alike in the coming week as Leanne and I teach my class our unit. I am looking forward to seeing how the boys and girls respond to the unit!

I love the two resources below that address views on poetry and helping people discover or recreate their personal view on poetry. It also mentions how “sappy” poetry should not define the entire unit. There is more too it and it can connect with all people at any phase of life.

Creech, S. (2001). Love that dog. New York, NY: HarperCollins.

Damico, J. S., & Carpenter, M. (2005). Evoking hearts and heads: Exploring issues of social justice                 through poetry. Language Arts, 83(2), 137–146.


Hawkins, L. K., Certo, J. L. (2014). It’s something that I feel like writing, instead of writing because I’m          being told to: elementary boys’ experiences writing and performing poetry. Pedagogies: An                    International Journal 9(3), 196-215.


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