--by Betsy Norris, English teacher, Nashville, TN
Should you like poetry?
Think before you answer!
Poetry is art with words for colors. Entwined with music, poetry speaks to the heart of all who hear. Poetry is an emotional experience.
Poetry is powerful enough to persuade others to change their minds, attitudes, and even their lives. Words become a sensory experience - they make us taste, see, hear, touch and smell.
Poetry is a vehicle that articulates feelings. It can make us laugh, cry, or get angry.
Teach Me to Feel
Poetry surrounds us each day. It touches our souls in greeting cards, song lyrics, and television jingles. While articulating our feelings, thoughts and ideas, it motivates and inspires us. It not only gives us insight into ourselves and others, but it strengthens our communication skills: sentence structure, figurative language, prediction, vocabulary, and analysis skills.
The lyrical aspect of rhyming words or reading words that begin with the same sound (alliteration) is pleasant. Surely most students remember their first tongue twister. It was no doubt perfected by repetition. It isn't a fluke that "Mother Goose" is popular. Rhyming words gain respect and attention from children from an early age. If we take the time to remember our first rhyme books filled with precious, melodious sounds, we can remember our joy in simple but effective word manipulations.
It is said that if teachers have students in their classrooms for long enough they can produce a brain surgeon, but a teacher cannot teach a student to feel. Yet, poetry can. If you doubt that, just watch a student sing and sway to a favorite lyric!
Like Warm Water in a Bathtub
Naomi Long Madgett, poet and publisher,
summed it up: "There are some poems that I read that
roll over my
consciousness like warm water in a bathtub."
Poetry (written or read) opens an avenue of expression. Writing a poem can unveil a real talent or joy. Creating something of worth to others is very satisfying. Who hasn't attempted to write a beautiful love poem? Nurturing creativity by writing poetry may further artistic talents, inspire musical savvy, or encourage self expression. Sometimes the difference between appreciation and dislike of poetry is a matter of understanding. Upon examination of the complexity of poetry, the techniques involved, and the openness of an author, a person can truly love poetry.
Poetry talks to our hearts. It is intensely personal. There isn't a strict right or wrong answer with poetry. The meaning is what a person takes from the work of art. Everyone has a valued opinion even if it's a negative one. Poetry grants a "poetic license" allowing punctuation rules and standard English to loosen. A poet becomes a free spirit.
Do You Like Poetry?
Do you listen and enjoy the lyrics to your favorite song, the words in a great book, quotes from a person you admire, or the advertising jingle that plays in your head all day after hearing it once?
Then yes, you do love poetry!
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