Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Poetry 101: First, untie it.

While in Kentucky earlier this summer, Brett was able to attend a poetry reading by Billy Collins. Good man that he is, Brett brought back for me a signed copy of The Trouble with Poetry: And Other Poems which begins, "The birds are in their trees, the toast is in the toaster, and the poets are at their windows."

Now, as I prepare to share with my students (future teachers) how to teach poetry and incorporate it into their English/ Language Arts classroom, I return to Collins and the idea behind his Poetry 180 project which, simply put, exposes students to a poem a day for the entire school year. Here is the poem he starts with, one of his own:

Introduction to Poetry

I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem's room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author's name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.


amy said...

one of the things i really appreciate about abby's curriculum (sonlight) is that she read at least one poem a day. they exposed her to the classics for kindergarteners (humpy dumpty) and some fun stuff too. check out http://www.amazon.com/Llama-Who-Had-No-Pajama/dp/0152055711/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1279067152&sr=8-5
this was a favorite book for all of us. olivia would LOVE it...as would you. :)

Elizabeth Dark Wiley said...

Amy. Thanks. I've now put it on reserve at my library.

Humpy Dumpty? Brett can attest to my tears of laughter over that typo.

katie said...

i would like very much for you to be my teacher.
(keep sharing lovely words.)

Elizabeth Dark Wiley said...

thanks Katie. You're still a major source of encouragement in my life.