Poetry can be intimidating. This is my perspective. Although an avid reader, I still dreaded poetry units in school. Since I have become a teacher, I have watched with interest how students respond to poetry. Some students respond with great reluctance. Others who have little or no inclination to read or write suddenly come alive when given a poetry assignment. One student who historically has avoided all written assignments came into my classroom the other day to proudly show off a poem he had written. I was amazed. He used a poem given in class as a model and wrote his own. The poem now hangs on my bulletin board, a reminder that all students have imagination and creativity, but have not necessarily learned the manner in which they can display their talents. My view has been forced to change since becoming a teacher. I hope to present a curriculum that will capture students’ attention and allow them a venue, with which they may not have much experience, to express themselves.
Typically one of the roadblocks students face in writing is using the correct mechanics. If their spelling and grammar are weak, then instead of spending time on the content, the students become overwhelmed with the editing process. Allowing students to reduce the focus on proper grammar and syntax allows them in turn to focus on the emotion they wish to express. However, the mechanics of writing are important to know. The juggling act is allowing students to enjoy the experience of writing, while they learn the mechanics. Writing poetry in free verse gives the feeling of freedom from rules even while it encourages an appreciation for language.