I know I’m setting myself up here, but I honestly need some help with poetry. I do faithfully read our poems each week to my kids, with proper diction, feeling and animation as the poem requires. However, I absolutely CAN’T STAND POETRY! I know, I know…you’re all shocked and dismayed. I have tried and tried to find the point in it, but it’s just the worst part of the morning for me. My DD’s however, LOVE poetry. They write little poems and beg to recite their favorites for the grandparents. So what’s wrong with me? Does this mean I’m intellectually a mutant? I keep thinking it’s eventually going to grow on me or I’ll find a poet I like, but after 3 years of Poem Study, I think it’s actually getting worse.
Does anyone have any suggestions to help me learn to like poetry? (Please tell me I’m not the only one out there that doesn’t like poetry!) Are there any articles, sites, encouragement that I can look in to to give myself a better appreciation for this art form? I’m a very black and white, get to the bottom line personality. Is that why? Can I be excused from liking it without guilt?
Sorry for the lame posting, but it’s been bothering me a lot of late. My DD’s are wanting more in that arena, 1 in particular, and in order for me to really teach a subject well, I have to like it myself, or at least believe in the importance of it. I’m failing them badly in this area.
I’m guessing that you really can stand some poetry. Do you like hymns, songs, Psalms? All of those are poetry. Most hymns and songs are just poems put to music. Do you have a favorite hymn/song writer? Maybe you could find some poetry by him/her and read those. Isaac Watts, Fannie Crosby, Charles Wesley, and Martin Luther are just examples of hymn writers who have written more poems than what we find in our hymn books.
I agree that there are some poets that I wonder what the point of the poem is, or I wish they would get to the point. But there are many poets to choose from and each has his/her own style. Keep trying new ones until you find some you like.
Give us an idea of the poets you’ve studied, gr8tfulCMmom. If we know what style you don’t like, that will help us suggest some you might like (maybe . . . possibly . . . or not)
Song lyrics are poetry. Are there some songs that really hit home for you?
Maybe you could write a poem about not liking poetry. :)
It’s okay not to like poetry. I admire you greatly for reading the poems and seeing that your children like them, even if you don’t. Pehaps some day you’ll read one and say, “Aha! This one is good!”
For what it’s worth, I like short poems.
You know, that’s true. I forget about that…songs are poems. That helps. As for hymns, though, I think they’re fun to sing “the good ol’ songs”, but they aren’t my preference to listen to. I am using them right now to teach my DD’s how to harmonize, they’re perfect for that.
We are using a couple collections I have, one is Favorite Poems Old & New. We’ve done studies on Stevenson, Milne, Dickinson and a couple others I don’t remember the names of. The Milne & Dickinson we didn’t finish, they were hard to for us to get in to. Stevenson was a little better and I wish I could remember who we did last year, cause it was fairly tolerable. I’m drawing a complete blank. Oh oh oh…it was Eugene Field.
I’ll investigate the songwriter thing…excellent idea!
Ironically, my older DD just asked this morning if we could do a really long poem today. Arghhh!
Ah, I once felt like this . . . but it was when my children insisted on bringing bugs into the house and letting them reproduce! LOL It can help to tell yourself you are changing your mind . . . “I DO like praying mantises . . . I DO!” LOL
I love poetry and have my entire life, except for a few years in high school and college when I was briefly frustrated by teachers insisting I massacre the poems to bits instead of enjoy them. So I am very, very biased. :-) You’ll live, and we’ll all still let you hang out with us if you never love poetry. It’s hardly the make-or-break issue of life. :-) However, your children enjoy it, and it’d be easier on you if you at least could manage to call a truce!
One thing I think can be helpful is having someone around to discuss poems with. I have a good friend who is, um, less enamored of poetry than I am. Specifically she once really didn’t like Emily Dickinson, who is probably my favorite. We were on a list that discussed what we moms were reading, and I got to share some poems and why I liked them. I don’t know if Dickinson is yet my friend’s passion, but I do think she ended up liking her better than she had before anyway. Sometimes having someone to discuss a poem with can be a big help.
So can just simply asking yourself and your dc some simple questions. Why did the author say that, use that image, use that word, flip those words into a weird order? Can one really see the world in a grain of sand? Is this possible? Does it make sense? Can you think of a better image? What image would YOU use if you could?
A whole book might be a bit much for you to start with, but I want to recommend a beloved book of mine, by a Christian author, who does indeed make a case for why poetry matters. It is The Roar on the Other Side, by Suzanne Clark. It is actually for students, and there are exercises in poetry writing, and sections on things like meter, but you wouldn’t need all that stuff right away. For starters, the discussions on seeing like a poet should be a help to you I think.
Here are a few quotes from the book as something to think about:
“In every poem there is some of the substance of God.” St. Augustine. OK, I might have to differ with this a bit. I think this is true of MOST poems. St. Augustine fortunately never read Allan Ginsburg (NOT a recommended poet, IMO!) But think of this when you read. What facet of God is reflected in the poem in front of you?
“God made our minds to love him . . . We love God with our mind when we admire smoothness, strangeness, motion, structure, intricacy, fragrance, complexion.” “So, then, noticing what God has made is important. In noticing, we name. Thus Adam became the first poet. He named every striped, spotted, winged, webbed, slow, swift creature. He was creative.”
There are some real delights in this book. I think it might be a help to you, and I’m almost certain your children would like it, if they are too young now, then at some point. Might be worth tracking down!
And anytime you want to IM me about a poem I’d be delighted to enthuse about it long enough for you to catch a little. :-)
To change things up, could your oldest do the actual reading aloud of the poems instead of you always having to? Sometimes I get weary of doing all the readings (literature, history, poetry, science) and I ask my older to take a turn. The only thing is this usually reveals how poor my listening skills are…
Bookworm, I love the quote: “God made our minds to love him . . . We love God with our mind when we admire smoothness, strangeness, motion, structure, intricacy, fragrance, complexion.” “So, then, noticing what God has made is important. In noticing, we name. Thus Adam became the first poet. He named every striped, spotted, winged, webbed, slow, swift creature. He was creative.” Thanks for sharing that.
Your post title certainly intriqued me LOL I’ve had a love/hate relationship with poetry myself. It wasn’t very interesting to me in school – maybe the way it was taught??? but I enjoy it now. I do know what you mean about some poetry leaving you with “huh?”
As already has been mentioned, my first thoughts were what about songs, Psalms and other Bible passages. I can also relate this to my DD’s love for science, snakes, “creatures”, etc. We were at the nature center and looking at the bug collection I said with them nicely encased in glass and no longer living I can almost find them interesting LOL
Bookworm, I appreciated all you shared Thanks!
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