Learning Activity 1

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1-1: What is Poetry?

Ask learners what they think poetry is. Write their responses on the board. Read the statement below by T.S. Elliot and discuss.

A poem may appear to mean very different things to different readers, and all of these meanings may be different from what the author thought he meant. For instance, the author may have been writing some peculiar personal experience, which he saw quite unrelated to anything outside; yet for the reader the poem may become the expression of a general situation, as well as of some private experience of his own. The reader's interpretation may differ from the author's and be equally valid — it may even be better. There may be much more in a poem than the author was aware of. The different interpretations may all be partial formulations of one thing; the ambiguities may be due to the fact that the poem means more, not less, than ordinary speech can communicate.

T.S. Eliot

1-2: What is a Poet?

Ask learners what they think a poet is. Write their responses on the board. Read the statement below by E. E. Cummings and discuss.

A poet is somebody who feels, and who expresses his feelings through words. This may sound easy. It isn't. A lot of people think or believe or know they feel – but that's thinking or believing or knowing; not feeling. And poetry is feeling – not knowing or believing or thinking. Almost anybody can learn to think or believe or know, but not a single human being can be taught to feel. Why? Because whenever you think or you believe or you know, you're a lot of other people; but the moment you feel, you're NOBODY-BUTYOURSELF.


1-3: Introduction to Poetry Footnote 1

Try and find one poetry anthology for each learner or copy a number of poems that learners can choose from. Ask them to flip through the anthology and select one poem they like for any reason. Ask them to copy down their poems on chart paper and put them up on the wall. The instructor should also choose one they like and do the same. Tell the learners that the class will discuss one of these poems each day. Each learner will present their poem and tell the class why they chose it. The instructor can make a mini-lesson discussing the elements of the poem they wish to highlight.

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