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"I want to talk to you about how poetry might just change your life." - Dana Gioia, Poetry Out Loud
Poetry changes lives. It changed my life when I used it to write my way through hard times as a teenager. It changed my life the first time I witnessed a living poet perform and breathe magic into verse. Poetry inspires. It supports. It pokes and prods. Poetry cajoles. There is not much poetry cannot do.
Today I watched poetry transform my students. We began a few weeks ago analyzing word choice and discussing poetry during our weekly Socratic discussion. We listened to poems from Poetry Out Loud. We chose poems to spend some time with and students took on Expressionist roles to illustrate them and analyze them in their Altered Analysis books (click here to see the project description).
|Paul chose to capture Hamlet's soliloquy in his Altered Analysis book. |
We are learning about art movements and applying what we learn to a poem every few weeks.
Last week student experienced a bit of poetry heaven when Sara Holbrook visited. Consummate poet, she created poetry fire (the students' words) with her stories, performances and poetry lessons. Students have studied, worked through, analyzed and memorized a piece of poetry. Today we plugged into poetry's power through performance.
"Poetry helps to enlarge our humanity and give us the power to express it." - Dana Gioia
Today, Paul tapped into that expressive power. Incredible, he took several pieces of poetry and put them together as if he were crafting an oral interpretation for debate. He put the text marking tips Sara gave us last week to immediate use. You can see his P.I.P.E.S. marginalia as well as Sara's advice to mark emphasis and vocal sounds as well as her tip to not "hit the rhymes too hard" and to "tell a story."
You can see his effort on the page. His preparation paid off. He absolutely wowed us. He stepped off those pages and became the words. I only captured a short clip, but here he is at the beginning of his piece: amazing, inspired, empowered.