Friday, December 19, 2008

Poetry is All Around Us

I'm starting a New Year's Resolution early...I'm vowing to write shorter posts! Gosh, I'm wordy; so wordy in fact that I feel bad asking people to read my posts because they're so lengthy. I focus on making effective word choices and letting my voice come through, but I'm trying to figure out why I feel the need to explain every last detail when fewer will do. I do this when composing a poem, so why can't I in a blogpost? I've asked for tips from some other blogger friends whose posts are suscinct and provocative, so I'm going to give it whirl. After all, Shakespeare, one of my favorite poets, said that brevity is the soul of wit and I am fairly witty, if I do say so myself!

This past week, the recurring topic of conversation in my social network seems to be about poetry. I LOVE this genre; I love reading it, watching it being performed, creating it from magnets, and writing it. I love classic poets like Hardy and Housman, modern poets like Tupac Shakur and Taylor Mali, and def poets like Twin Poets and Shihan. In fact, I really love performance poetry. If you have never seen a poem being performed, it is a powerful experience. Poetry is built from emotions so the true meaning behind the words really leaps off the page when watching a passionate poet perform. And this is how I used to get kids to shed their hatred of reading poetry...I'd show them poetry instead.

Using this approach, I inspired students to write their own poetry and to analyze poetry for deeper meaning. I even got boys to stop complaining and moaning in disgust whenever I mentioned poetry. Performance poetry helped my students to see poetry in the world around them and helped them to connect poetry to other things they have experienced or read. They were inspired by simple things and my seniors loved the dramatic performance piece I assigned in my Speech and Communications class after watching selected def poets. Below are some of my favorites that I used to inspire my students. I hope you find them inspirational as well.

Where do you see poetry? Right now I see it in the snow that won't stop falling. And I hear it the wind whistling through my fireplace. And I feel it every time I walk into a classroom full of kids. Excuse me, but I feel a poem coming on!


Linda704 said...

Kate, I like your reflections about beinging more deliberate in your word choice. May I add-no need to apologize to your readers! :-) Your writing is very thoughtful and worthwhile reading. I do hope that in addition to your thoughtful posts, you will post your poetry from time to time! Happy snow day!

Fisher said...


Have you read _Bronx Masquerade_? After this post, it really is a MUST read! All about kids, poetry, performance--all the things you talked about--set in a school that would not seem to be conducive to any poetry...