Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Poem of the Week: Sometimes

Inspired by the Poems on the Underground program (nearly a quarter of a century old, I don't take too long to get inspired, ahem) I've begun a Poem of the Week program at school. Copy of the poem in the library, copies to all the English teachers, to any other teachers who would like them and also on the daily bulletin one day during the week.

As with Poems on the Underground, it's about making poetry part of the landscape. In the library, when you get the kids in search of a poem, very often they don't know many poems, or modern poets, and so you show them anthologies and see them grasping at straws. Or else they claim that Tupac Shakur is a poet, and my English lit. self winces. And then you show them some specific poems that do catch their attention, and change their mind about what might be good.

So I don't know how exactly each teacher will use this, but it's worth trying; and as the poems build up week by week, papering classrooms and building up critical mass, some students will read them. Some won't. But it's like a lot of things in education, you try it to see how it goes and never truly know the impact of what you do. Did Mrs Bloor know that thirty years later I'd still remember studying Ted Hughes' The Thought Fox, and Romeo and Juliet in 3 unit English (advanced level English) and that they'd still be such strong parts of the furniture of my mind? Probably not. (Thank you).

I'm preparing each poem as a .pdf and providing each teacher with a copy on differently coloured paper and a different, not too fancy font for each poem, so they look like cousins rather than twins. In the fine print, the source/weblink if available. We'll see how it goes.

This week's poem is Sometimes, by Sheenagh Pugh. It's in the anthology, 100 Poems on the Underground, which is where I found it.

Poetry on the Underground links:

(I don't plan to reproduce copyright poems here unless it seems to be OK from what I've found online, eg. a poet gives permission. Sheenagh Pugh used to have this poem on her site on this page, but on checking today, it's gone).

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