Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Teaching Students to Dislike Poetry: “What is the most boring subject/possible?” | radical eyes for equity

Teaching Students to Dislike Poetry: “What is the most boring subject/possible?” | radical eyes for equity:

Teaching Students to Dislike Poetry: “What is the most boring subject/possible?”


As an avid reader, teacher, and writer/poet, I read poetry nearly every day, especially now that I am prompted wonderfully through social media such as Twitter.
So Matthew Zapruder’s recent Understanding Poetry Is More Straightforward Than You Think spurred both my Teacher-Self and my Poet-Self with his lede:
Do you remember, as I do, how in the classroom poems were so often taught as if they were riddles? What is the poet really trying to say here? What is the theme or message of this poem? What does this word “purple” or “flower” or “grass” really mean? Like classical music, poetry has an unfortunate reputation for requiring special training and education to appreciate, which takes readers away from its true strangeness, and makes most of us feel as if we haven’t studied enough to read it.
Teaching and writing poetry for over three decades now, I have always swum against the “I dislike poetry” tide with equal parts evangelical zeal and soul-crushing disappointment. Poetry, I learned many years ago as a first-year college student, is beautiful; it is the orchestra of words best representing the human compulsion toward language and communicating with each other.
Recently, as I read Randall Mann’s “A Better Life,” I began to cry by the lines “Fear lives in the chest/like results.” That emotional response upon a first Teaching Students to Dislike Poetry: “What is the most boring subject/possible?” | radical eyes for equity:

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