ERIC Number: ED339042
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991
Integrating the Arts into the Study of Poetry: Why and How.
When poetry is approached as merely a type of literary expression--as words arranged in an unusual way, designed to confuse and baffle both teachers and students--the results are inevitable: confusion, feelings of ignorance, resentment. Poetry is not just a kind of literary expression but is and has always been a celebration, an actively shared human experience; a creative link between language and life. Yet in today's high school classroom, poetry is just convoluted written language that seems incomprehensible. For students to understand poetry, they must first learn to appreciate it. One way to help students appreciate poetry is to perform a poem such as Lewis Carroll's "Jabberwocky" in class with sound effects and expression. In this way, by the end of the period the students will have memorized the poem before even having seen it in print. A good follow-up exercise is to give them a copy of "Jabberwocky," have them (in small groups) substitute real words for the nonsense words in the poem, and let each group perform (not read) its own version. Once the students have grasped the fun of poetry, the teacher can turn to more serious poems that can still be acted out. Finally, students can be turned loose in small groups to decide which poems they want to learn, memorize, and perform for the class. Another small group activity that works well incorporates music with poetry by allowing the students to make up music for the poem. A good individual activity combines pictorial art and poetry by having students write poems for specific paintings. (PRA)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Guides - Classroom - Teacher
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A