Friday, January 20, 2006

I think that an awful lot of American writing since the 1950s was in some ways anti-modernist, and that one of the reasons that poetry is undergoing this small boom is that people are turning to it and finding it surprisingly accessible, despite many years of education by teachers trained by New Critics to think that poetry was the best way to teach children analytic and interpretative skills in school—which could certainly kill off anything, you know?

--Robert Hass


At 10:19 AM, Blogger Justin Evans said...

Yes, yes, yes.

I just finished introducing my sophomores to my poetry unit. My first rule was that we were going to abandon the "meaning thing" until we had decided first and foremost: "Do I like this poem."

I meant it, too. No I don't get rid of meaning, but I take it off the top of the list and put it last. Dead last.

We are going to listen to poets reading their own poetry. we are going to write our own poems, we are going to study figurative language and rhythm and meter, and we are going to talk about our immediate reactions to the poems---all before we discuss what the poem is supposed to mean or what the poet was trying to say.

I have been teaching poetry like that for five years now, and I know there is a difference in how the kids look at poetry.

At 12:15 PM, Blogger Gerald Huml said...

That sounds like the best way to teach poetry, particularly for non-English major type students.


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