"Poetry is the human soul entire,
squeezed like a lemon or a lime,
drop by drop,
into atomic words."
--Langston Hughes
 

 TEACHING POETRY

The goal of these activities is to bring poetry out of the textbook and closer to the lives of students.  This section of the Newsroom deals with poetry on a variety of levels.  The activities and the major emphasis is listed below.

* POETIC NEWS - This introductory activity deals with seven important poetic devices.  Students look for them in news items and then try to re-write a story in the news with some of these devices.  This is a different way of introducing these literary forms.  (Adapted from CNN Media Literacy Project, November 18, 1994)

** NATURE AND THE POET - Frost is widely taught throughout the world.  This higher level worksheet focuses on his use of nature.  This activity guides the student into a basic understanding of this aspect of poetry.
 
**THE BEAT OF LOVE - This activity deals with love and  poetic descriptions of women.  The poems included are some verses from the Song of Songs,  2 sonnets by Shakespeare, a  poem by William Carlos Williams and one by Langston Hughes.  The students are asked to find a song lyric and relate it to the poems included.

**ART AND POETRY - Poets often respond to art in their poems.  This activity deals with the connection between art and literature.  The students deal with the connection to a painting by Bruegel,  the myth of Icarus and the poem by W.H. Auden. And then choose other art to help them understand the importance of this myth and its place in art.  It is also possible to add the poem Landscape of the Fall of Icarus by William Carlos Williams.

*EVERYDAY LIFE AND LANGUAGE AS POETRY - Poetry is often written about very mundane experiences.  This activity has the student look at poetry as an express of the common place.  The students try to create a poem of this type and this will bring them closer to poetry in general.

 

NOTE TO TEACHERS OF ISRAELI BAGRUT: 
Since the students will be asked to look at different poems for the activities, the selections might not always be identical to those chosen by their classroom teacher.  In general, any poems covered should be acceptable for the Literature Section of the Israeli Oral Bargut Exam.  However some of the activities have been geared to frequently taught poets in the Israeli School System.
Link to the AMALNET page of poems.

Sincerely, Gail Shuster-Bouskila

 
ACADEMIC ADVISOR FOR POETRY ACTIVITIES:
Dr. Chanita Goodblatt, Dept. of Foreign Literatures and Linguistics,
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel


LITERARY LINKS AND OTHER RESOURCES:  
English at Emory
Using Poems by Langston Hughes
English Teachers Web
Literary Resources
REDFROG - Poems from the Planet Earth
Allusion, Artistry, and the Fall of Icarus


  THE MORE LINKS THE MERRIER!! More excellent links from an Israeli colleague:
"Here are some wonderful, soul squeezed words for you & your students:"
Best Wishes,  Arieh Sherris
www.poets.org
www.favoritepoem.org
www.poems.com
wings.buffalo.edu/epc
www.poetrysociety.org