Paradise or panic in the province of poetry?

I feel like I should get major brownie points for that alliteration up there in my title. Either that or negative brownie points for trying so hard to be creative. Anyways… moving on.

Is it strange that, in all my years of English classes, I’m only covering poetry now, as a senior? And that too, only because I’m in AP English, since the regular classes aren’t mandated to cover poetry? I think so. I honestly think that poetry should be taught to everyone, not just English nerds like myself.

As you can tell, I’m pretty excited.Ā I can’t WAIT to widen my “poetry horizons” and read tons of work from poets I have never heard of yet. I’m also excited to learn about new styles, because until now, I’ve mostly been doing free-form and a bit of villanelles interspersed here and there.

I am a little apprehensive though. Up until now, I haven’t really had to critique a poem and figure out if it’s good or not, and I’m a little worried that I’ll come back home after one particularly good lesson and realize that all of my poems are complete sh*t.

Oh well, I hope it’ll only make my poems that much better šŸ™‚

What about you? Were you ever taught poetry in school, and if so, did you like it or did it actually make you feel worse about your own poems?


6 thoughts on “Paradise or panic in the province of poetry?

  1. I agree, I think poetry should be taught properly to everyone. When I was in school we only learnt about poems, and only ever free verse poems – we never learned how to write them. Then in university I learned the different structures, like villanelles, sestinas, pantoums, and so on and so forth, but as an undergraduate I had some mean tutors who ripped my poetry to shreds, and I stopped for a couple of years. It was only as a postgrad that I had a really nice tutor who encouraged me back into poetry again, and helped me improve massively (and not to mention he was the only one who ever taught me who had been a published poet, so I am much more inclined to believe his opinions over the others).
    So, I had mixed experiences with learning poetry on the whole, but yeah, I definitely came out better for it!
    Good luck with your poetry classes, I am sure you will do great! What I’ve seen of yours so far is pretty good šŸ™‚

    • Oh that’s awful, especially since poetry is so personal! I’m glad you got that nice tutor, and honestly, anyone who rips someone else’s work to shreds instead of giving advice or ways to improve is not worth anyone’s time. That’s just mean and vindictive.

      • Well that’s exactly right, now in hindsight I don’t let the opinions of those couple of tutors bother me, because they just weren’t very nice people, had very narrow minded views of what does and doesn’t work in writing and poetry, and probably thought the sun shines out of their backsides. šŸ˜› It should always be constructive criticism, something I make sure to stick to as a teacher.

  2. I believe that poetry is more about how you speak of yourself. Someone can teach you a style, but the words are yours. More than teaching how to write poems I believe that children should be taught how to express their feelings and connect with poems. It’s better to explore the world rather than just walk it through. In my opinion, a student should be taught to be perceptive and not straightway judgmental.

    • You mean, students should be taught the mechanics of poetry rather than judging poetry and determining what’s good and what’s bad? I agree with you on that, and I also think that it’s important that students read all sorts of poetry so they can determine themselves what’s good or bad, instead of the teacher doing it for them.
      And yes, being able to express your feelings is essential! Whenever one of my close friends are feeling down for a long amount of time, I tell them that they should get a journal and write whatever they’re feeling if they don’t want to talk to me, because, as you say, writing poetry or just writing in general is the best way to express yourself.

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