academics / homeschooling / write

poetry month

This September we have been studying poetry:

reading it,

analyzing it,

writing it.

Oh no, you say, my kids don’t enjoy poetry. Ditto for mine. (Or so they thought.)

Build some new neural networks.

Learn a new language.

Become cultured.

These were my original reasons for perusing snippets of William Wordsworth as part of my own coffee/morning reading routine. I want to become fluent in poetry. (Or at least exposed).

Poetry is like reading a different language. (Oh, I’m reading it in English.) But poetry has a condensed approach that is unlike the fiction or non fiction offerings I normally consume.

There’s often specific literary devices used in poetry. You can learn more about them here: https://blog.udemy.com/literary-devices-in-poetry/

This month, my 13 and 15 year old daughters are studying poetry independently with their poetry analyses books. My 15 year old told me she enjoyed poetry by Alfred Lord Tennyson.

My 13 and 10 year old have been consuming poetry in all styles, traditional poetry like Middle Ages minstrel ballads, classical poetry like Walt Whitman, children’s storybooks from the library like The West is Calling by Sarah N. Harvey & Leslie Buffa (a poetry book on British Columbia history), Knock on Wood: Poems about Superstitions by Janet S. Wong & Julie Pasckhis, or song lyrics from YouTube, like one from a recent film we watched, Into the Woods: https://youtu.be/kVoH2FyY55I.

We’ve chosen a few poetry writing activities too…

*Have a funeral. Or have a wedding. 

Okay, I know, funeral planning in a poetry post?? But your kids are always requiring your presence for some dead thing found outside. Or has that just been my children?

Yesterday it was a dead frog that was de-legged with a slam of the door. Oops. Tears.

As with funerals, weddings are doused in love poetry, I Corinthians 13, Song of Solomon, or nothing like a little Khalil Gibran. Check out this poem:

Love

When love beckons to you, follow him,

Though his ways are hard and steep.

And when his wings enfold you, yield to him,

Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.

And when he speaks to you believe in him,

Though his voice may shatter your dreams

as the north wind lays waste the garden.

For even as love crowns you, so shall he crucify you.

Even as he is for your growth,

so is he for you pruning.

Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches

that quiver in the sun,

So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.

Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.

He threshes you to make you naked.

He sifts you to free you from your husks.

He grinds you to whiteness.

He kneads you until you are pliant;

And then he assigns you to his sacred fire,

that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast.”

This poem continues, speaks deep thoughts on love relationships and is well worth the read.

But we didn’t have a Barbie wedding yesterday, we had a frog funeral. My ten year old son researched eulogies, prepared the burial site, brought a few teddy bear guests and his sister and I.

This is the short poem he shared:

“Love Never Dies…the song is ended, but the melody lingers for Frog Matix.”

Please be seated as we mourn for Frog Matix.

And we sang a poem and prayer that is known by all…Amazing Grace, and we finished with It is Well. Poetry is everywhere. (No photos. We were mourning.)

*Visit a ‘setting’

Analyze your favourite book and you will easily identify main characters and supporting characters, but have you ever considered that the setting, the place the story takes place, reflects the characters in a story? Sometimes it is a character all on its own?

We travelled to one of my favourite settings in our neighbourhood. A hundred feet away from our riverside home is an island. We canoed over to do TeaTime Poetry for the BraveWriter TeaTime contest. Brought some good old-fashioned Canadian poetry to read, some tea in a carafe with not-homemade cookies, and a picnic blanket.

 

After we read, we wrote what we saw, heard, felt, smelled, tasted and smelled. Words of our five senses. For example:

The Island

hear

chainsaws sawing through trees

taste

saskatoony tastes, neutral flavour

feel

hard chunky grass

soapberry

hard rocks

shoes

see

trees, yellow, water, green grass, purple

sap

smell

smoke from the firepit

saskatoons

After my ten year old shared his list, I encouraged, “Choose your favourite sense words and build a short sentence from each. Try not to include extra words like ‘and or but that which and the’. Make the words tight.” (He did not want help for this activity).

Here’s what he came up with (& I include his ten year old spelling mistakes for your enjoyment):

The Island

 

cracks of wood

fall close by

when I here

the swashing ducks in the water having a race

seeing soapberries 

sprout, and then shrivle

up

watching boats and trains pass

watching the heat of summer

turn to snow

watching the water

turn to ice 

and then the

soap berrys sprout

again

and watching

the boats, passing bye

with the trains coming again

then the ducks starting a race again

when the ice melts up again

and feeling the heat of summer makes

me Joyfull

Um, seriously? So proud!

*Find examples of poetry in story books, movies, or song lyrics that you or your child love.

There is no end to clever YouTube snips where song lyrics are written over music videos.

Listen to them. Read the lyrics. Identify the poetic devices. Some YouTube videos do this work for you:

*explore the 5 senses: taste, smell, hear, touch, taste:

Poetry is a sensory, imagery experience.

Choose a location at your home, have the kids split their page in five and randomly write whatever sensory words come to their awareness.

Our ten year old chose one of my favourite places:

The Garden

see

wood, greenarie, yellow, posts, rocks, red, pink, white, mom weeding for life, her hobby

taste

strawberries, onions, beans, tomatoes, and lettuce, every plant grown you could think of

pumpkins

smell

plants, dirt, deer

touch

soft prickly leafs, everywhere

hear

chickens bocking, dogs barking, heavy machines, birds

I asked him to tell me to describe the taste of something in the garden, to describe a sound in the garden, and continue with each of his senses. Just choose a phrase or two for each sense.

After he did that I asked him if he could place them in an interesting order.

This is what he came up with…

The Winner is Dinner

Sweet n’ sour strawberries!

Crunchin’ carroty carrots!

Rumours of strawberry

runners racing

across the garden.

But potpourri of pungent parsley

wins the race

Chic-a-dee-dee-dee

dees chirping for

the Winner!

Elephant ears, Velvety cozy, is for the winner!

This mama is proud! (& I only wished I weeded as often as he thought I was)

*Random Acts of Poetry

Now that we’re poetry wise, we see it everywhere. On the bulletin board inside a public bus stop near us, someone posted a Random Act of Poetry. What a treat to find. Christina Rossetti’s ‘Echo’ spoke into my morning.

What a fun way to inject poetry into our community, and new thoughts into our world.

Why study poetry?

If I haven’t convinced you to study poetry yet, maybe this guy will:

 

2 thoughts on “poetry month

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