Poetry Study for High School Boys

8 5 10 zinnias

As we start up our poetry study this year, I want to keep a record of the different ways we study and enjoy our poetry. I titled this entry “Poetry Study for High School Boys” because I have found I approach poetry differently with my boys than I did with my daughter.

My daughter is very linguistic and could easily listen to and repeat poetry by heart. She was good at understanding the imagery and in writing in the style of each poet we studied.

My boys like mechanics. They like to dissect a poem, cut it up and turn it inside out. They like concrete words and images. We are taking a very different approach to appreciating poetry.

Each of the first three weeks of school have had a different flavor and focus. The poet we are reading for the first six weeks of school is Edna St. Vincent Millay and here is how each week has played out.

Week 1: This was our immersion week. I had my son read and devour as many of the poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay as he could handle in the allotted time. The only assignment was to pick one to read aloud at our Friday meeting and tell me if he noticed any metaphors or similes. We ended up talking at length about why he thinks poetry should rhyme. He equates rhyming with “good” poetry for some reason and this was a great insight into his thinking. We will explore rhyming some more during the year, culminating in more free form poets like E.E. Cummings. (I know he is not going to like it.)

Week 2: Using a list of questions we had for analyzing poetry, he picked one question and answered it about a Millay poem. Here is a link to a list that is similar to the one we used:

teach.beavton.k12.or.us/~jonathan…/analysis/21genpoetryquest.doc
I had him write his answer in a paragraph and share it on Friday at our meeting. He chose to answer the question, “Who is the speaker?”

Week 3: After looking at last week’s writing assignment, I realized we needed to cover how to quote poetry in a paragraph using slash marks and quotation marks. So, this week I gave him some information about how to quote poetry and he is quoting several lines from his chosen poem this week in paragraph form using the proper format.

Here is the information we covered:
http://www.shepherd.edu/scwcweb/hndpoetry.htm

As you can see, our poetry study is very loose and light….perfect for boys who although they enjoy poetry, don’t want to dwell on it too much. We are going to tackle quite a few literary terms this year using this sort of method and I will try to remember to share as we go along. I will tag the blog entries with “poetry for high schoolers” so you can easily find the entries if you want to refer to them in the future.

You can find all my poetry links in this entry: Poetry for High Schoolers.

Our Poetry Schedule:
Weeks 1-6 Edna St. Vincent Millay
Weeks 7-12 Robert Browning
Weeks 13-18 Robert Frost
Weeks 19-24 Carl Sandburg
Weeks 25-27 T.S. Eliot
Weeks 28-30 E.E. Cummings
Weeks 31-36 Langston Hughes

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