While presenting poems during this introductory phase we will begin to examine some of the elements of poetry that make it distinctive from prose. Again, I feel the choice of specific poems should be left to the individual teacher. The poems should be fun, with topics students can relate to easily. After appropriate explanation and examples, students should be able to identify ending rhyme, some internal rhyme, alliteration, metaphors, similes, repetition, rhythm, and descriptive language in these and other poems they might read in the future. The texts of Kenneth Koch listed in my bibliography, especially
Making Your Own Days
, clearly present the basic elements of poetry, which the teacher will need to convey to students. I will stress only those listed above. Though I want them to look for more than rhyming lines in a poem, I don't want an overemphasis on poetic elements to discourage natural interest and spontaneity.
Students will also begin to write poems based upon the suggestions made by Koch in his books, especially in
Wishes, Lies, and Dreams
. Approaches will include developing the following structures presented by Koch: "I wish _____," "I used to _____," "A _____is like _____, and it was _____." Gradually they will be encouraged to expand these initial creations through the inclusion of more poetic elements or further development of those that they have already used. As their skills develop, they will be encouraged to write poems similar to those pieces by Silverstein that they have read and discussed in class.