Welcome to National Poetry Month! Okay, I guess it did start on April 1st, but if I'd mentioned it then, you would have thought I was kidding. Some may think I'm kidding now. National Poetry Month!? Who wants to spend a whole month on something as boring/painful as that? I can almost hear them clamoring about it now. However, lots of us (no, not just English teachers) enjoy poetry, and a whole month of celebration sounds just about right.
As part of the celebration here at school, we are having our version of a poetry slam at the end of the month. Our rules for "Slamming" are a little more relaxed than the official ones; the main difference being that the kids can use poems written by others if they so choose. Therefore, this is really a poetry delivery contest rather than a true slam. However, the kids really get into it, and they read and hear a lot of poems, and that is all that I really care about.
In preparation for the competition (we have a bracket and everything!) we read lots of poems out loud to explore different styles, eras, and themes. I try quite hard to get the kids to focus on the more literary end of the poem spectrum since I figure the more everyday stuff (music lyrics, jingles, silly verse) is around them already. This year, to facilitate our lessons, I've created a master list of poems that are suitable for the sensitive ears (okay, maybe the parents are the ones with sensitive ears) of brand new teens. Allow me to abuse your patience with poems for the next few days.