Living Poetry

Lesson Introduction

 There are many advantages to be found in studying and reciting poetry:

  • Poetry offers examples of mastery of language and stocks the mind with images and ideas expressed in unforgettable words and phrases.
  • Poetry trains and develops our emotional intelligence.
  • Poetry reminds us that language is holistic and that how something is said is part of what is being said: the literal meaning of words is only part of their whole meaning, which is also expressed through tone of voice, inflection, rhythm.
  • Poetry lets us see the world through other eyes, equips us imaginatively and spiritually to face the joys and challenges of our lives, and widens our scope of sympathy for the vastness of human experience.

This lesson will help students understand the power of poetry to hold rich meaning when memorized and recited. By imagining situations in which a fragment of recited or remembered poetry can be put to use, students will learn the value of memorization and recitation. Using fiction, letters, or political speech, students will write about poems being put to use and, in the process, imagine the practical advantages of memorizing poems.

Learning Objectives

In this lesson, students will have opportunities to:

  • Listen to poem recitations and the commentaries of the performers.
  • Find passages in poems which they find striking or memorable.
  • Imagine situations in which those passages might be put to use, whether to console, encourage, taunt, flatter, or otherwise make an impact on a listener.
  • Write short stories, letters, or speeches in which at least three passages could be quoted effectively to move another character or the listener/recipient.

Materials and Resources

To teach this lesson you will need:

  • computer and Internet access (speakers or headphones needed)
  • the Poetry In Voice online anthology or printed selections

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