Poetry sucks! …but you learn history

12 May

So since my last published poem received minimal views (yes, I did cry inside a little but I got over it) I decided I needed a new approach to lure you to my blog.

Really, I am so excited when I get views, it makes my day.

Now, as you know I am a high school teacher in England (which encompasses teaching 11-19 year olds or 6th graders to seniors). At the moment I am teaching poetry to 12-13 year olds who I polled this week on opinions about poetry and I found some interesting things I’ll be exploring in a series on why poetry sucks and/or doesn’t suck.

So, does poetry suck? One student wrote that it is about history. When I pulled this out the box of anonymous comment I smiled.

I actually loved reading this one. We are learning about conflict poetry this term, and in particular, WWI. We tried on soldier’s gear, we are learning about the soldiers who wrote poetry, and we are spending time imagining peeking over the ramparts into No Man’s Land. There is tons of history here worth exploring, to step into someone else’s shoes and imagine. Next week we are learning about the three main types of gasses used during the Great War. In conflict poetry’s defence, this is an important part of our heritage that we cannot bear to forget.

To put it simply, I think it’s useful; that’s why I am teaching it. Whether or not my students see the light, they can now name the main types of mortars used, know how heavy a soldier’s bag was and can describe the beauty of England that was worth missing to so many poets. I have tried my darndest (I think that’s a word) to send them back in time in my own Magical School Bus way to understand what life was like back then in times of war.

But not all of them see that we are learning history as well – many of them said (in my best Lou and Andy voice): “It’s borrrrring.” I’ll be exploring some of these comments in the upcoming weeks. Be sure to click follow!

So the score this week is one in favour of poetry! What’s your opinion? What value do you see in learning poetry?

 The score

 Poetry sucks: 0

 Poetry doesn’t suck: 1

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