Yesterday, I read a haiku written by someone who appeared to not enjoy writing haiku. Despite this, the person wrote an interesting, amusing, and thought-provoking poem.
I am not sure this is verbatim but it goes somewhat like this:
Here are five syllables
And here I write seven more!
Are you happy now?
The person who presented this poem indicated that despite having written haiku they were unsure why teachers wanted them written. I think there are good reasons, but I could be wrong.
1. Poetry calls for the best possible word choices. Most poetry is simultaneously spare and spacious. The spareness is in the number of words; the fewer the better. The space allows the reader room for interpretation. What did the poet mean? What senses are invoked through the word choice.
Describe my moment.
No two experiences identical
A jungle of meaning revealed.
Each sense sameness different
2. Students learn about figures of speech and their importance in expressing what we want to say. We can compare unlike things and make sense of a complex world.
3. I tell students who struggle with reading and writing poetry is an alternative way of expressing themselves. I use ee cummings as a model so they overcome their worries about grammar, spelling, and capitalization.
i dig ee cummings
won’t worry about spellin either
aint no problem
i write poetry
4. I enjoy poetry. I always have. I remember a poem, The Elevator, I memorized in Grade 4. I think it Walter de la Mare wrote it. My friend memorized a poem called Douglas Fir, because his name was Douglas. What my enjoyment means, is I bring enthusiasm to the process.
I believe we need to tell students what they are learning and the reasons they are important. But, then it might just be me.