I could never have dreamt that there were such goings-on
in the world between the covers of books,
such sandstorms and ice blasts of words,
such staggering peace, such enormous laughter,
such and so many blinding bright lights,
splashing all over the pages
in a million bits and pieces
all of which were words, words, words,
and each of which were alive forever
in its own delight and glory and oddity and light.
Notes on the Art of Poetry ~ Dylan Thomas
I sat at my stark, angular, veneer-wooden desk and stared at the blank paper in front of me. Working as a research assistant, I often spent my lunch hours contemplating my life. My mind and heart filled with a maelstrom of emotions.
During those complicated, concerning and confusing days of my early twenties, I frequently found myself pouring thoughts and emotions on paper in the form of poetry. Some were pages and pages long. Others were quite short.
Each poem healed a part of me that was broken.
The writings weren’t about dating relationships. I found myself trying to make sense of my identity in light of my childhood. At times the process was painful. Other times it was pure joy. Many times my poetic experiences were a combination of joy and sorrow, loss and longing.
My poetry always allowed me a channel of catharsis.
I don’t remember experiencing much poetry education during my early school years.
When I went off to college, I fell in love with the writings of William Wordsworth, e.e. cummings, Robert Browning and others. Reading and memorizing my favorite passages of poetry fed my soul. At times, I would sit on the grass at my university and let the words flow through my mind. The experience was blissful.
Today’s students will spend less time reading, memorizing and penning poetry. The newly implemented Common Core English Standards deemphasize poetry by devoting significantly less time on classic literature.
This causes me great distress. Poetry has been found to:
- “increase students’ literacy and linguistic awareness,” according to the research of Dr. Janette Hughes. Dr. Hughes also discovered that studying poetry can increased student cognizance of the rhythm and meaning of language, as well as afford students an opportunity to grow their oral and written word usage.
- California researchers found that including poetry in language arts curriculum can foster analytical and critical skills.
My son’s spent a few years in an arts conservatory poetry course. I was both surprised and delighted to receive a window into the souls of my offspring. The titles were varied and fascinating: I Live in Violin, Lullaby to a Video Game, and The Poem with No Name, among others.
That poetry will forever remain in my treasure trove of special works of my sons.
Will today’s students experience the joy of reading, analyzing and falling in love with the poetry of the greats?
Will they be inspired to write their own poems?
Or is the language of poetry a dying form of verse and rhyme?
Let’s hope that our educational system rethinks the value of poetry!
Comments are most welcome.
Wishing you and your children a day filled with words of “delight and glory and oddity and light,”
Catie (Cate Pane)