Poetry is, first and foremost, something to be enjoyed. It is a special way of using words in order to create the desired effect upon the reader and to light up the world for them.
Poetry universalizes experience. It has the power to make an event seem to be happening to us although it may have occurred many years ago to people we don’t know. In this way, it opens up to every one an experience originally enjoyed by only a few.
The poet sees and feels a situation in away that enables him to express it for our better understanding and enjoyment.
After introducing students to poetry, the students will then proceed to studying selected Afro-American poetry in depth utilizing a format such as learning biographical and historical information about the poet (exploring the lives of each of these writers), listening to selected poems read by the teacher, using choral speaking, learning new vocabulary words, discussion of poetry terminology, answering questions relating to the understanding of poetry, and writing creatively in response to the poetry selections. I will use selected poems from exceptional writers. These include:
PAUL LAURENCE DUNBAR
These writers and their works were chosen for diversities in their theme, styles, and the historical perspectives.
The poems I will use are influenced by art as by life. These authors write for an audience as well as out of experience. Students will have the opportunity to analyze the following poems for their reflection of Afro-American problems. These include: “Mother To Son”, “I, Too”, and “Salvation” by Langston Hughes. “Incident”, “Yet Do I Marvel” and “Tableau” by Countee Cullen. “Nikki Rosa”, “Mothers”, and “My House”, by Nikki Giovanni. “The Tropics in New York”, by Claude McKay. “Golden Slippers”, and “A Black Man Talks of Reaping”, by Arna Bontemps. “Sympathy” and “We Wear The Mask”, by Paul Laurence Dunbar. “We Real Cool”, by Gwendolyn Brooks.
Students will look closely at the works of the Afro-American poets and how they perceive the world around them. Such topics as the following will be analyzed and discussed: oppression, feelings of grief, sadness, motherhood, relationships, families, and injustices.
Students will get to know these gifted individuals. Each of them proved that one person can make a difference.
These individuals make a difference by the part each played in awakening America to the many contributions they made.
The biographical sketches given only provide students with a small amount of information on the author. I plan to emphasize through discussion and group oral reports, the many contributions each poet made to America.
Students will learn in many ways these authors are individuals are just like they are. They had childhoods, families, goals, and dreams. Sometimes, they had to overcome disappointments.
These poets, help us to understand ourselves and the world around us. They make us laugh, or cry and sometimes think. Often, their works inspire social change.
Detailed treatment will be given to several poems. For this purpose, I plan to use choral speaking with students.
Choral Speaking has many advantages:
1. It will help to develop good clear speech.
2. It develops a love for poetry.
3. It is a form of artistic expression in which all students can join.
4. It offers for greater variety than possible through solo speaking.
Each poem in this section is an experience—it was for the poet who wrote it and it can be for the reader who participates in it. It has a meaning for the poet; the author combines story and idea or mood and impressions.
A poem always “means” something, but not all poems have the same kinds of “meaning”.