Concise and accessible, this guide to teaching the art of poetry from Shakespeare to contemporary poets enables anyone to learn about how poets approach their art. Teachers can use this book to explore any facet or era of poetry. Any reader can use it as an entryway into the art of poetry. Teaching the Art of Poetry shows poetry as a multi-faceted artistic process rather than a mystery on a pedestal. It demystifies the art of poetry by providing specific historical, social, and aesthetic contexts for each element of the art. It is a nuts-and-bolts approach that encourages teachers and students to work with poetry as a studio art--something to be explored, challenged, assembled and reassembled, imagined, and studied--all the things that an artist does to present poetry as a search for meaning. This book advocates poetry as an essential tool for aesthetic, cultural, and linguistic literacy. It portrays poetry as an art rather than a knowledge base, and methods for integrating the art of poetry into the school curriculum. The authors' intention is not to fill gaps; it is to change how poetry is presented in the classroom, to change how it is taught and how students think about it.
Teaching the Art of Poetry:
* Emphasizes hands-on experiences. Over 160 exercises focus attention on the dynamics of the art of poetry. Activities include group work, peer editing, critical thinking skills, revising drafts, focused reading, oral communication, listening skills, and vocabulary, as well as mechanics and usage.
* Features a week-long lesson plan in each chapter to aid the teacher. These relate the main aspects of each chapter to classroom activities and, in addition, include a "Beyond the Week" section to promote further investigation of the topic.
* Promotes an integrated approach to poetry. The examples used in each chapter show poetry as a living tradition.
* Makes extensive use of complete poems along with extracts from many others.
* Does not talk down to teachers--is teacher oriented and jargon free.
Table of Contents
Contents: Preface. How to Use This Book. Introduction. Rhythm. Sound. Line. Syntax. Grammar, Punctuation, and Capitalization. Word Choice. Details. Metaphor. Image. Architecture (Stanzas). Form (Sonnets, Sestinas, etc.). Tone and Lyric. Repetition. Endings. Narrative. The Didactic Poem (How Poems Instruct). Place and Politics. Occasions (The Social Contexts of Poems). Variations (Found Poem, Prose Poem, Shaped Poem). Coaching the "Moves": On Teaching Poetry in the Classroom. Epilogue: Getting Started.
"Each of the chapters is richly illustrated with complete poems....Wormser, a strong poet himself...comes at his subject from both sides, with classroom experience at all levels and as facilitator of workshops for teachers....I recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about the art of poetry from an insider."
—Beloit Poetry Journal
"In endorsing books in the past, I have resolutely avoided the word 'invaluable'; but in the case of Teaching the Art of Poetry such resistance is impossible, for there exists no more valuable guide to poetry for the classroom teacher (nor, arguably, anyone else). The authors--with a refreshing emphasis on this art as a physical one--acutely analyze the multiple components that constitute an achieved poem. Never condescending or arcane, this book may transform the historically awkward process of teaching and learning poetry into the joyful experience that both these fine writers have obviously experienced themselves."
Founding Editor, The New England Review
"Unique....The first comprehensive presentation of how to use poetic practices and the language of poetry in teaching students about poetry. This process will not only help students understand poetry, but also to enjoy it. The authors' writing has a lyrical quality that makes it a pleasant read. The quality and clarity are very appropriate for an audience of high school English or prospective English teachers....A wonderful resource."
Washington State University