While teaching students the nitty-gritty about metaphor and style is vital, you also want to spend time simply exposing them to poetry that captures their attention. This can be poetry that stops them in their tracks, makes them reassess what’s possible with language, or even just sounds cool. During National Poetry Month, you’ll surely want more of those!
With poems that have this flare, you can inspire a natural love of words that gets your students motivated in exploring the world of poetry, but also writing some of their own as well. To create those situations, try giving them one or two of these poems.
Old Angel Midnight by Jack Kerouac
This first one is a very long narrative poem by a Beat Generation legend. What makes it so interesting? Kerouac sought to capture the soul of the universe itself, and it’s a complete free-flowing of thoughts and even random sounds, nearly without end.
The Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll
This quintessential nonsense poem has been capturing the minds of students and scholars for generations. Because it also tests our understanding of language, it lets students dive into what makes language work.
Next to of course god america I by E.E. Cummings
For this one, you’ll want to keep in mind that the poem carries a dark undercurrent and asks some tough questions. In addition to dealing with death, it also explores the relationship between politics, patriotism, and war. Yet, through that exploration and some interesting language, it can be perfect for a more mature student.
She Got He Got by Jayne Cortez
Another one that briefly touches on some controversial subjects, nonetheless, this performance-based poem focuses on the power and passions that motivate our lives. With roots in jazz and other musical styles, it also tests the boundaries of poetry and music in a way that’s sure to get students listening.
Do you have a poem or two that’s sure to get students interested? Tell us about it in the comments!