Thursday, April 14, 2011

Poem in Your Pocket Day

Taking a break from the lake reflections for National Poem in Your Pocket Day.  I love poetry, but I always hated to teach it. And kids hated to "learn" it.  Then I changed how I "taught" it.  Anyway, here's my favorite poem to use to introduce the unit:

by Billy Collins

I ask then to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside a poem's room 
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving the author's name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.


  1. It's a wonderful poem. Don't you like all the ways he says to 'find' poetry? I'm glad you changed the way you taught, since you seemed to say you needed to, but would like to know more about what you did.

  2. "They begin beating it with a hose to find out what it really means." I remember being told to do that. I didn't want to. You took the beauty away, and you gave it your meaning.
    Soooo, lake time!

  3. Someday you will have to write about how you teach it now. I've never been a fan of poetry and am always looking for new ways to "discover" the love.

  4. I will at some point, talk about teaching poetry--maybe it's not so much what I did as my attitude towards it....I don't know. I just know it was much more fun for the kids and myself