Getting Started

 

Many students enter my class afraid of poetry. They feel that poetry is a “dead” language. Point out that few zombie movies have the walking dead reciting Shakespeare. Students will nevertheless still be resistant to the idea of poetry. They think that history class is “safe” and they don’t have to worry about writing. They enter with their pillows and teddy bears thinking the class will be a typical historical naptime. When I utter the word “poetry” in my class, I always have several students who faint and even a few who run out of the class and down the hall screaming.

The first thing the teacher needs to do is to assure the students that you are not using poetry because you want to punish them. Priority one is to show students that poetry does not have to be difficult. Be willing to allow students to work together. Give them enough time to think about their work, and to make revisions. Explain to the students that your priority is the information the student gives the reader through the poem.