Practical Theory - The Origin
The Scholars in CyberEnglish
ToDaY's MeNu - Ted

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

.. is pure poetry

Whenever we want to express the ultimate beauty of anything, oftentimes we exclaim, "it is pure poetry." It doesn't matter what "it" is. "It" could be a car, a chocolate bar, a sweet voice, an adventure, a good read, an experience. When we have that experience that causes us to say "That was pure poetry," we are talking about a beautiful, ethereal, cosmic thing whose essence has touched our soul as a beautiful poem might and often does. Poetry gets to the bottom line of something, the core of things, the essence of it. Poetry affects us all in one form or another from the beginnings of our life. The poetry begins with those cards our parents receive on the occasion of our birth to those cards we receive on mother's/father's day. Poems surround our lives from beginning to end, like no other form of literature. We all dabble with poetry, especially on Valentine's Day. As students we can be guaranteed that we will write a poem before we write an essay, a novel, or a play. As a teacher poetry is crucial to me. I love teaching poetry because we can read a poem several times in a class period. We can deconstruct a poem very quickly and then reconstruct it. And then my scholars write a poem, "pure poetry."

Recently I read an article in the Chicago Tribune "Happy News" section about how poetry serves to help students have a better life. In the Spoken Word Club at a couple of Chicago high schools, students get to express themselves through poetry. Similar to Poetry Slams students oftentimes write their own verse and then present it. Nothing new here. Shakespeare may have been the father of this concept, maybe not. He is certainly a practitioner. I have called him the original rapper as his sonnets attest. Limericks are another fun way to use poetry as a means to communicate with an audience. Today with the new style of music being listened to and then employed as a way for our students to communicate, these kinds of clubs are essential. Poetry was the bridge for this teacher to bring former and current students together to share experiences and to communicate with each other about the facts of life after high school. This is certainly a "happy news" story because it is "pure poetry."

Another recent example of poetry bringing the best out in our students comes from Global Poetry Project in Buffalo, NY. The teacher has organized an online publishing forum for poets to publish their poems and to discuss them. Again I am reminded about Shakespeare and his sonnets and how they were presented on stage. I imagine those evening gatherings of Byron, Keats, and the Shelleys must have been heaven. The dark and dingy cellars of the beat poets, the cafes filled with smoke and caffeine and the sound of verse continue the process of reading and sharing poetry. Now with webpages and blogs and wikis, and all those social networks, poetry abounds and traverses the airwaves and bandwidth to massage our ears and eyes. "Pure poetry."

I enjoyed these articles about poetry as we conclude a month that has the most poetic day (Roses are red, Violets are blue..) in it and is separated by the lion and lamb before we enter the cruellest month. That's "pure poetry."

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