10-second review: Why don’t students like poetry?
Title: “Writing Communal Poetry.” AV Manzo and DC Martin. Journal of Reading (May 1974), 638-643.
Summary: Students don’t like poetry because the language of poetry is “foreign.” Students lack knowledge of allusions. They have little knowledge of poems or the process of writing poetry. The students write a group poem to help them understand the process.
Comment: Of course, reading interesting poems aloud with the students following at their seats will help. But the process of writing poems is also interesting. I used a cinquain as a model for how to write a poem.
Model of a cinquain. Five lines. The first line is one word, the topic. The second line is two words, adjectives. The third line is three lines consisting of verbs. The fourth line is four words, a phrase. The fifth line is one word, a summary. Snake/ Slithery, Slinky/ Squeezes, Strangles, Stabs/ Slides on ground slowly/ “S.”
Students study the model. They vote on a topic. Students as a group brainstorm the topic, each student offering something they are thinking about concerning the topic. They then fill out the cinquain. They revise and edit and produce the group poem.
Then they write their own cinquains, beginning with a topic, brainstorm, and completing their individual cinquains. The results are often exceptionally good. Create a class book of cinquains. RayS.