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.
An excellent post on writing poetry. It was a true pleasure to read. And all through it, I kept thinking, how lucky, your students.
Thank you. I am glad you enjoyed.
Ha ha, smart kid in your class! 🙂 Great reasons for poetry.
Kids are so astute. They tell us what is real to them when we stop and listen carefully.
The crown of literature is poetry. It is its end and aim. It is the sublimest activity of the human mind. It is the achievement of beauty and delicacy. The writer of prose can only step aside when the poet passes.
~ W. Somerset Maugham
I love poetry. I love to it read it but don’t have the rhythm to write it. I am at awe at those who can capsulate their emotions and sometimes stories in such few but evocative words.
Jofelyn, thank you stopping and commenting. Poetry is hard work and I was surprised by the educator the other day who basically told us as a large group he did not understand writing haiku. I think most people who don’t like poetry do not see the reward it offers even when I am not a very good poet.
I totally agree. “I believe we need to tell students what they are learning and the reasons they are important. But, then it might just be me.”
It’s the same with other subjects students struggle to enjoy, such as maths. There are more relatable ways to teach it but using these methods is usually neglected.
Thoroughly enjoying your posts.
No, it is not just you. The challenge for teachers is two-fold. First, we tend to rely heavily on an autobiography we never elevate into critical awareness to question it. Second, and tied to one, is we teach largely how we were taught and how we are told to teach by universities and administrators long removed from the concrete realities of teaching K-12.
Thank you for stopping by. I am enjoying your posts.
Very true. And thank you 🙂