POETRY WORKSHOP IDEAS FOR TEACHERS

  • Teaching History with Poetry, Glen Sorestad
  • Identity and Autobiography, Aaron Tucker
  • Canadian Poets Across the Curriculum, Kathryn Bjornson
    Poetry for Performance, Hilary Peach
  • Contemporary Canadian Poetry-Tasting Hour, Catherine Grahm
  • The Art of the Chapbook, Ursula Vaira (PDF)
  • Using Contemporary Canadian Poetry in the Classroom, John Oughton
  • Book Arts Unit for Teen Authors, Cathalynn Labonté-Smith
  • Suggested Themes for Poetry Exercises, Terry Ann Carter
  • A Road Map to Teaching and Learning Poetry, Linda Rogers
  • Anthologies, Glen Sorestad
  • Dramatic Readings, Glen Sorestad
  • The Inside Story, Susan Ioannou
  • Copycat Rhythm, Susan Ioannou
  • Sound into Sense, Susan Ioannou
  • Instruct and Delight, Malca Litovitz
  • Rhythm, E.S.L., and Cloze, Steve Roney
  • Two Baskets, Carole Langille
  • Orchestra, Joyce-Anne Locking
  • Teaching by Example, Phil Thompson
  • The Mind is a Camera, Penn Kemp
  • Where Do You Get Your Ideas?, Penn Kemp
  • Introduction, Penn Kemp
  • Scars, Colin Morton
  • Logorallye, Colin Morton
  • Creative Detours, Colin Morton
  • The Philosophy of Teaching Poetry, sheri-D Wilson
  • Reading Poetry Aloud, sheri-D Wilson
  • Words from a Young Poet, Oneal Walters

Anthologies
Glen Sorestad When I taught high school English classes I found one of the most useful ways to get students into poetry was to have them become mini-anthologists and put together their own mini-anthology of, say, ten poems by any number of poets they chose. The anthology had to have a theme of the student’s choosing (with some direction or approving by the teacher) and the themes could range from love to war to animals to specific sports to fathers/mothers, historical events or figures, etc. The sky is the limit (and an acceptable theme). As long as the theme is approved by the teacher, any theme will do.

Apart from the students having to get into a good library of poetry books(a possible limiting factor for some schools) and read a fair amount to find poems to fit his/her chosen theme, it was an expectation of mine that the mini-anthologies would have either an oral component (a reading of the student’s favorite poem) or a written component (a rationale for the inclusion of each poem, or perhaps a critical mini-essay on one of the poems), or perhaps both components, depending on the amount of time the teacher wishes to spend on this whole project.

Letting students build their own mini-anthologies has much more appeal for students than the typical teacher-chosen or curriculum-determined poems presented and discussed in class. The students in this case are the active doers and choosers. It sounds very easy to them at first — until they realize that they have to read many poems to find one that they like that fits their theme.

While I usually approached this as individual mini-anthologies, there is no reason it couldn’t be modified into a project involving small groups instead — especially if time was a factor. Four or five students could probably put the poems together faster.

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Dramatic Readings
Glen SorestadI’ve also come to believe that every English class should open with a good dramatic reading (by the teacher or a student) of a poem — regardless of whether the main part of the class will be focused on something else: a novel, play, composition skills, creative writing, or whatever. Readings of poems every day, with no other expectation than that students listen — and comment if they feel inclined. If this happened in every English/Literature class every day at every grade level, poetry would become as much a part of their lives as pop music.

(If I were Minister of Education, I would make the reading of a poem daily to open the school day a mandatory provision!)

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The Inside Story
Susan IoannouImagine when you awake one morning, you have shrunk dramatically. Instead of in your own bed, you find yourself inside an ice cube, trumpet vine, eggshell, pepper shaker, pocket, sleigh bell, light bulb, or some other small common object of your choice. What do you see, hear, smell, taste, and touch? What are your feelings? Write a poem that reveals what James Dickey has called “the now of your own existence and the endless mystery of it” in this strange new environment. (From A Magical Clockwork: The Workshop Guide, Poetry Writing Exercises and Resources, Wordwrights Canada, 2000, by Susan Ioannou)

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Copycat Rhythm
Susan Ioannou Pick a lively children’s rhyme (such as “Little Tommy Tucker”, “I dreamed that my horse had wings and could fly”, or A.A. Milne’s “Disobedience”) and read it aloud many times, listening closely to the rhythm. Is it fast or slow?

Light or heavy? What mood does it convey? Write a poem on a different subject that imitates its rhythm. (From A Magical Clockwork: The Workshop Guide, Poetry Writing Exercises and Resources, Wordwrights Canada, 2000, by Susan Ioannou)

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Sound into Sense
Susan Ioannou Pick one of the nonsense words “perchicketook”, “minnen”, “priggle”, or “screez”. Say it over and over, listening to its natural shape, speed, loudness, or softness until pictures form in your mind. Based on the sound, imagine what this word might mean if “translated” into English. What would it be, or do? How would it look, smell, taste, and feel (write five vivid words for each.) What might it remind you of? What unusual uses could it be put to? How would it make you feel: happy, sad, content, annoyed, afraid, excited, or_____? Write a poem explaining this wonderful phenomenon to someone else. (From A Magical Clockwork: The Workshop Guide, Poetry Writing Exercises and Resources, Wordwrights Canada, 2000, by Susan Ioannou)

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Instruct and Delight
Malca LitovitzMy best teaching suggestion is to ask students to instruct and delight. I have my creative writing students share something they’ve written, something they’ve read and loved, and tell them to use an audiovisual aid. One student read all of Anais Nin, and then read her own beautiful poetry to us, and told us all about Nin….. Several students brought in Poe last week… and one played the Bart Simpson version of “The Raven” before reading us his own Poe-like poem! and gave out candies (that’s the delight….)

A student who could sing teamed up with another student who could play the guitar. They researched Edith Piaf, wrote a sort of creative nonfiction piece about her which they shared with the class, and then performed some of her music, some of their own. Very lovely.

A student brought in a guest speaker as part of his presentation, and it was a Juno-award winning singer named Choclair who performed his rap poetry and music for my students… they loved this. Then, my student shared his own rap poetry with us.

A girl who was interested in dreams came in dressed in sweet pj’s and slippers. She brought in tons of books on dreams. She showed us her poetry, written from dreams on an overhead. Then she lit candles and gave each of us little pieces of blue cloud paper, and had us write dreams on them, dreams we’d like to have come true, in the form of little poems. She suggested we tuck these little bits of cloud paper under our pillows that night, and that we watch to see the dreams come true….lovely.

I actually adapt some version of this to all of my courses, not just creative writing. You can adapt it to literature courses or even business communications

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Rhythm, E.S.L., and Cloze
Steve RoneyPoetry is fantastically valuable for ESL. It teaches the proper rhythm of the language, and, being easily memorizable, is a great way for students to develop vocabulary and learn grammar by example. It can also be used in Cloze exercises (i.e. listen to it recited, and fill in the missing word in an incomplete transcript). This can easily be targeted to a specific grammar point.

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Two Baskets
Carole Langille

When I work with third, fourth and fifth graders, I usually have two baskets, each filled with paper. Students pick a piece of paper from one basket and then the other. Then I ask each student to write a sentence comparing one word with the other. For example, a student may pick “night” from one basket and “tangerine” from another. How can he compare “night” and “tangerine?”

“The fog was thick and the night was bitter, so much so that if we could taste it, it would be sour as a rancid tangerine.”

Having to compare two very distinct words stretches one’s abilities and encourages one to form metaphors that would not ordinarily occur.

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Orchestra

Joyce-Anne Locking

It can be quite a lot of fun to get people involved and actually act out a poem. Divide a group into various sections (much like a “word” orchestra)in a manner as simple or as complex as you wish. Take a poem, such as the following one, and bring it to life. In the case of this poem, there could be a section of tossers, squirmers, twiddlers, twitchers, fidgeters, fiddlers, turners, artists and musicians, all of which will decide on a certain action and/or sound to perform whenever their cue word appears. Add to this a narrator and you are in business. Actions for the remaining words could also be interpreted. It would be great to add real musicians to provide background music to the production. Even a lone fiddle player brings endless interesting possibilities. Dancers added and we have a ballet!

A Composer’s Diary

by Joyce-Anne Locking

Toss, squirm,twiddle, twitch,
Fidget, fiddle. Fight or switch?
Clearing grassland as I yearn…
Fiddlesticks! Oh, fiddlefern!

Clear a space. Paint or trace?
Toss and turn at my own pace.
Fidget, fiddle… let me learn!
Passion’s fervent blazes burn.

Twitch and twiddle, turn and toss
Sleepless nights but who’s the boss?
Art and music,hand in hand,
Reclaim, now, a coloured land.

Twitch and twiddle, toss and squirm.
All my solitudes confirm
Life is just a fiddle stick.
Take the bow to music. Quick!

Cash the fiddle to the tune.
Write the music of the moon.
Toss the trial; lullaby.
Lovely music fills the sky!
This poem won Honourable Mention in Scarborough Arts Council’s 1997 Poetry Contest.

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Teaching by Example
Phil Thompson For four years I have been doing poetry workshops for grades 3-12, as part of the NS WITS program.

More than 30 times I have been able to lead a group to: 1/ democratically select a theme 2/ produce lists of related words & phrases 3/ interconnect their words into a poem 4/ applaud their own work at the end in somewhere between 30 to 45 minutes !

Apparently most writers just come in and read their own work, which means they leave nothing behind but their egos.

It requires a natural facilitator to do this process… because you are helping other people produce their best work… rather than imposing your own…

I recommend it to everyone who really wants to teach kids to write… rather than seeking a captive audience.

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The Mind is a Camera

Penn Kemp
This is a chapter from the book, WHAT SPRINGS TO MIND, copyright Penn Kemp 2000.

Imagine that you are holding a camcorder in the palm of your writing hand. Imagine that you can take this machine with you on an adventure into the world of your Imagination. How will it be useful to you?

The principal feature of the video camera is its ability to record experience. What is the benefit of recording what you experience? By recording, you will be able to remember everything in sequence. By recording the action, you can also retain more detail and expression. You will not lose any of the immediacy that so often fades with time.

The mind also records experience. I believe that the memory of everything experienced can be recollected in vivid detail. It might help to think of memories as recordings kept in a packsack which you carry with you into adventures.

This pack contains as many blank video cassettes as you will ever need. It also contains all of your previously recorded experiences: everything that you have ever thought, seen, heard or felt. Remember, this backpack is your survival kit which you take with you as you go into imaginary adventures.

If the mind is a camera, that means certain additional techniques are at your disposal which correspond to special features of the camera. The video camera shares with the mind the ability to focus. What is the advantage of focusing? Focusing will allow you to see what is happening clearly. If your mind’s eye is blurred, then adjust the focus.

What else can your camcorder do? Close-ups! Zoom in on a detail that you want to concentrate on and see it close up.

What happens when the camera pauses? It stops the action – freeze that frame! The rolling film can be stopped at a particular frame to make a photograph. You will be able to study, further explore and note down all of the events in that photograph.

If you were to feel like skipping a few details or a boring scene, then you could fast forward. When you want to return to a scene, you can rewind.

Yet another special effect capability of the camcorder is the fade-out. This is another technique you could use. The fade-out clears the screen, letting the picture fade into nothingness.

Develop a list of further special capabilities shared by the video camera and your mind. Other features might include time-lapse photography. Or, you might also want to digitize the image. Feed the images into a mental computer and rearrange them any way you like. You can morph – transform – certain aspects and highlight or eliminate others.

All these techniques and many more can be yours when you enter the Imagination, as you submit the adventure that awaits you there to the scrutiny of a recording instrument. Be inventive.

You will be the director; you will be in charge of recording this adventure. But the point is to allow yourself to be surprised by these movies you are about to witness. With this kind of writing, you are never bored because your Imagination can provide you with a glorious adventure. Let yourself be amazed by that adventure; confine your control only to the manner in which you record it.

Lights, camera, action! Allow whatever comes up to roll by your Imagination as if on video. Your work is to let it happen without interference, without trying to control the action. What you control is how you record the scene: what you zoom in on, where you pause and linger and where you fast forward.

You are the director and the producer of the film. You are also all the actors in the film. And all the props. And all the action. Everything in the film can communicate with you. Everything has the ability to speak and has been waiting for the opportunity to be asked to do so. Ask probing questions; go into details. And, all the while, record the answers along with the questioning.

Once you have collected enough material on your tape, the next step will be to write out the script of all that you have recorded, of what you have in your mind.

Once you have written it out, look at your piece of writing as if it too were a movie. Zoom in on what you have written. Whatever you see, hear or feel first may be your opening line.

If your adventure fizzles out, you might want to choose an alternate ending. Press the rewind button and go back to where the characters had another choice they might make in the action.

If you are stuck, press the fast forward button and replay the action. Or go straight to the end and find out what happened. Then, since you know the ending, you can figure out ways to let the characters reach that end.

You never have to worry about being stuck for long. If you find yourself in a difficult situation, you can always change it. Just press the replay button. For example, you can turn a scene of falling into one of flight. It is just a matter of remembering your ability to change: do not get caught up in the drama.

If the movie is not playing in the theatre of your mind, then invent an adventure you would like to have. If your battery needs recharging, put in a new one. Take a deep breath. Go back inside and retrieve one last idea.

An Escape Clause
What if you experience something really scary? The cam-corder is a distancing device that allows you to witness action at a remove, without being completely immersed in it. By recording the action in this way, you are protected from identifying completely with whatever might arise, with whatever is happening. You can experience everything without feeling it as your own. You view it all at a distance and you can eject the cassette any time. This is your protection: an escape clause.

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Where Do You Get Your Ideas?
Penn Kemp Often when we concentrate on a task like writing, we forget to breathe fully. Without enough oxygen to feed our brain, we tire easily. If we ride each breath into the next thought, our energy will be sustained.

Have pen and paper ready for when you start to write. Relax completely, maintaining a good posture to let the energy enter your brain. Feel a gentle breeze all around you. Feel that breeze as if it were the colour blue. Imagine yourself surrounded in blue. Breathe in blue and breathe out blue. You are completely private now, about to enter the world of your own Imagination, the source of your creativity.

Imagine yourself in a blue balloon. With every breath you breathe out, blow out blue as if you were blowing up a balloon. With each breath, fill the balloon around you. You find yourself inside the balloon ascending through space, floating free. You are completely relaxed and yet more alert than usual. Notice how sharp your senses are. You feel the breeze on your face and the sun on your face. You can hear the wind rippling the balloon. Inside this balloon, you can travel through time and space.

You might visit a lost city, the zoo, the Amazon, the jungle, Venus or the moon. You might land in another time, another dimension entirely, a world of anti-matter perhaps. This time we are going to land at the place of… You fill in the blank, either by consciously choosing where you want to visit or by allowing your Imagination to come up with a place to surprise you. As I say these words, the place… suddenly emerges from under a cloud far below. What does it look like from this perspective? Imagine it from above. What do you experience that is new? You find… looming larger and larger as you come closer. How would you write down your experience? How do you see differently? Then let your perspective shift. What drama enacts itself? Notice how easily and instantaneously you can shift perspectives. Try several different perspectives, close-up, sideways, partial views. See if you can experience them all at once. Write down your new story. Let yourself experience as many different parts of your story as you wish to. Experience your story from many different points of view.

Now step back a few feet. Suddenly you realize you can experience it from all our different perspectives at once, in a new harmony. From so many different stories, a new story appears that contains them all. What do you feel as you experience the new story? Let it tell itself in a form that is original, express every nuance exactly.

Let your consciousness merge into… Become it. What does it feel like? Speak from its point of view. What age are you? You have your present vocabulary and language ability. You are receiving a message you have not been aware of before. Maybe… wants to tell you a part of its history — something wonderful that happened there or something unusual or dreadful. Allow whatever comes up to roll by your Imagination as if on film. Your work is to let it happen without interference, without trying to direct the action.

Once aloft, off on an adventure and on your own, the blue balloon transports you anywhere you want and imagine in time and space. That includes all of geography and all of history.

Once arrived at and immersed in your destination, you let the story of that place tell itself. Write and write that story down without pausing. Here it is crucial to focus on making the effort just to write it out. Do not stop to fuss over spelling, grammar, syntax or any other editorial considerations. Leave these for the editor in the next stage. Copyright Penn Kemp 2000.

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Introduction
Penn Kemp The dragon is mythologically the beast that guards the doorway to the imagination. The dragon defends the treasure of that realm. Once the students were familiar with this mythical creature, I invited them to enter into the realm of poetry with the dragon as guide:

So we meet the dragon at the doorway to the Imagination. What kind of creature is it? What does it look like? What colour? What sound is it making? Notice that you can understand whatever the dragon tells you. Pay close attention; this creature represents the voice of your own creativity. Do you hear its words in your head? Or do you get a felt sense of what it is trying to say?

Let this mythical being be your guide to the world of poetry. It guards the word-hoard, the treasure of the kingdom of the imagination, and it is willing to lead you to that treasure. How do you get there? Will it allow you to fly on its back?

Imagine yourself at the treasure the dragon has been guarding. You notice the treasure is words. Not just ordinary words. These words sound exactly like what they mean. They are the basic tools of your poem. You might hear these special words as a rumbling, a buzz in your ear. You might get a sense of what the words mean. Or you might see the words themselves. Allow the dragon to present a book to you. Open the book and read the name of the author: yourself! Read the poem that is written in your book and write it down.

The secret to this kind of writing is in allowing yourself to be surprised by the adventure that unfolds in your mind. You may always return for inspiration to this realm of the imagination. Copyright Penn Kemp 2000.

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Scars

Colin Morton(Most suitable for secondary students.)

1. List (or remember) all the scars on your body.

2. Choose the most interesting one and write about how you got it; how you felt about it.

3. How do you feel about the scar now? Have your feelings changed?

4. If you like, write about emotional scars.

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Logorallye

Colin Morton

(A warm-up for all ages.)

1. Select four words that appeal to you from an existing poem (or use these words: wave, shell, boiling, bear).

2. Write a poem on any subject in any style. The only requirement is to use those four words (or variants of them) as part of the poem.

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Creative Detours
Colin Morton This approach to teaching poetry lets young writers feel they are in the driver’s seat. The class chooses, by consensus, which topic they want to find out about first, second, and so on. The travel imagery is an extended metaphor that explores poetry through something most students have experienced. Writing poetry is a journey that, as often as not, leaves the main road and takes fascinating detours that lead to unexpected destinations. For this journey, though, we need never leave our desks.

The format is that of a computer simulation or an all-text adventure game. First, choose a topic from the Main Menu (or the teacher may choose the menu for the day). In the Tool Kit Menu, for example, you have five options to choose from. Each of these mini-lessons can lead to ideas for writing a poem.

Each session of Creative Detours will take a slightly different route, but since we’re setting out to explore the many places language can take us, getting there is more than half the fun. Remember, the teacher can suggest the next turn too.

——MAIN MENU——

1. Tool Kit (What we need to get started.)

2. Road Maps (Has anyone gone this way before?)

3. Logo Rally (Speed trials and obstacle courses.)

——TOOL KIT MENU——
(Bring these along every time you write.)

1. All Five Senses: Poetry can make us see, hear, feel, taste and smell. The teacher, or a volunteer, may write key words on the blackboard as students suggest them. Create five headings — “Sight”; “Hearing”; “Touch”; “Taste”; “Smell” — and have students think of words they especially like that appeal to each sense. These become part of the “tool kit” students may use to add horsepower to their poems. Now, or after more discussion, ask them to write something that uses at least one word from each list.

2. “I Got Rhythm”: The first poems we learned were nursery rhymes, and we still remember them! E.g., “Diddle-diddle dumpling, my son John.” (Poetry doesn’t always have to “make sense.”) “Rub-a-dub, dub, three men in a tub.” “Jack Sprat could eat no fat.” How many we can remember? They rhyme, of course, but we won’t worry about rhyme right now, because it can often force us to say the expected thing, not the right or the exciting thing. Let’s notice how powerful and joyful the rhythm is. The same rhythms can be heard in songs. To play with rhythm, divide the class into three choruses making the different rhythmic sounds of an engine: 1) pucka-chucka, 2) no grease! no grease! 3) cogs-and-wheels-and-cogs-and…

3. Memories: Things we remember from early childhood have strong feelings attached to them. Nursery rhymes are one example, Describe your first pet, your grandma’s kitchen, or the first house you lived in are good subjects for poems.

4. Daydreams and Nightmares: Poems can defy the laws of nature; encourage students to fantasize and give examples of things that can happen only in the imagination. E.g., the bicycles that fly in E.T., growing big and small like Alice in Wonderland, being invisible, being strong as Superman.

5. “Life is a Highway”: Similes and metaphors are basic tools that make poems say more. Life is like a highway, in what ways? When we say life is a highway, we say the same thing IN CAPITAL LETTERS.

Finish these sentences with a simile or metaphor, the more imaginative or elaborate the better. When you have finished, choose the image you like best and use it to begin a poem; if you can, change the simile into a metaphor.

1. The sun peeked from behind a cloud like _________________.

2. The spider web in the window is like ____________________.

3. _________________ is like the stale crust on the end of a loaf of bread.

4. Smoke rose from the chimneys all down the street like _______________.

5. An empty pop can rolled in the gutter like _____________________.

6. When she left the beauty parlour she looked as if ________________.

7. The teacher searched for the right word as if _____________________.

8. The old dog was as blind as ___________________________.

9. The android disarmed the charging alien as easily as _______________.

10. The baby was as cute as _____________________________________.

11. I found a loonie in a mud puddle, looking as if ________________.

12. Like a __________________, the blue Volkswagon sat in the driveway.

——ROAD MAPS MENU——
Challenges generally for more advanced students.

1. Historical Points of Interest: Ballads, sonnets, or other well-known forms. Sometimes the conscious effort to fit your writing into a fixed rhyme scheme, or to meet other technical requirements, can free your unconscious or force it to come up with material you wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.

Pantoum – Composed of quatrains rhyming abab. The second and fourth lines of each stanza become the first and third lines of the next. In the last quatrain the first line of the poem reappears as the last, and the third line as the second. Villanelle – Consists of five three-lined stanzas, or tercets, and a final quatrain. The fist and third lines of the first tercet recur alternately in the following stanzas as a refrain and form a final couplet. Sestina – consists of six stanzas of six lines each with an envoi of three lines. The same six words provide the line-ends in each stanza in a different order, according to a fixed pattern. Sonnet – a 14-line poem which may rhyme abab cdcd efef gg or abba abba cdcdcd. Fundamentally, it states an idea in the octave, develops it in a new direction in the sextet, and sometimes sums it up in a couplet.

2. Japanese Tour: A chance to write haiku, but include a car or other vehicle.

3. Follow the Leader: Find a poem about a place you would like to go and write a poem as much like it as you can, but change the details so it is about a place where you have been.

4. The Road Less Travelled: Here I demonstrate concrete poetry, sound poetry, chance poems and other experimental forms.

LOGO RALLY MENU
(Obstacle courses and other games with words.)

1. Logo Rally Classic: Like a car rally. Have students write for five, 10 or 15 minutes without stopping — any subject, any form. The only rule is to use four words the teacher has chosen from some already-existing poem. Encourage them to try for unexpected uses of these words.

2. Alphabets: This can be a group exercise. Write a 26-line poem about a journey, each line using key words starting with A, then B, then C, etc. Begin by listing things you would see, smell, taste, hear on the journey.

3. Inventories: Write a poem that is a list. Include everything you can think of relating to a single topic, such as work, vacation, travel.

4. Plus Seven: Take a poem you like and play with it by replacing every common noun with the seventh common noun that follows it in the dictionary. This sound like sacrilege but, while playing the game, students work closely with the sounds and rhythms of good poetry and create unexpected, often humorous images.

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The Philosophy of Teaching Poetry
sheri-D Wilson What is important in a classroom?
Putting the body back into poetry. Writing Jazz. Listening to Poetry — seeing its voice.

What can one teacher do?
Hire a poet to speak about poetry. Pay them. Buy tapes and/or CDs of poems being read. Watch poetry videos.

What do we need to teach our students?
Students must feel a sense of play. Poetry can be intimidating when it’s taught by amateurs, who teach it as a form you can “know”. Poetry is a life that the writer follows. The student is therefore taught to listen — to themselves.

What can we say to our students?
Perspective. Study art. Question how you enter art. Find ways. Write. Read. Write. Read.

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Reading Poetry Aloud
sheri-D Wilson It is important that poetry is read aloud by students. One thing that always helps students to get over their initial shyness is to have each student read one line (or up to punctuation), always adhering to line breaks. Discussion of the poem opens. The poem is whatever the individual thinks it is.

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Words from a Young Poet
Oneal Walters The participation of young poets is very important. I agree with the youth contest. It will give more awareness to poetry and become a ‘safe place’ where young poets can be compared to other young poets. I talked to a friend who is much younger than I am. He also writes, but does not send his poems to poetry contests because he feels he is not good enough to succeed, and more importantly he thought that poetry was not recognized by our society. For the youth, this statement might be true. Young people don’t have young poets to look up to.

I think young influential poets would attract younger poets to believe in themselves and poetry. Youth need young adults to look up to.

I think the best way to teach poetry is to experience poetry. All people experience it in a different way. All appreciate different elements of the craft. Let young people be influenced by different styles, techniques and quality. Then, they will respect the art and duplicate the craft using their own means of expression.

What should be encouraged is the need to write. Only when the need is there, then the younger poets can be taught how to improve what they enjoy doing.

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All material copyright the author and the League of Canadian Poets, 1999-2002. Print for personal use only.