Critiquing Poetry

How do you go about it?

There are lots of different ways to critique a written work, so when someone asks you to give them constructive feedback about a poem, how do you go about it? Many people would argue that you should buffer criticism between compliments to make the poet feel better about anything they might want to change.

The thing is, poetry, like any writing, is very subjective. While some grammatical criticism might be valid, feedback in general when it comes to artistic endeavors isn't always on point, even from an instructor. What was in fashion ten years ago may not even be relevant today, which many writers are learning.

So how do you give feedback when a writer asks for it? Share your tips and experiences in the chat.

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Poems of Your Childhood

Share What You Loved (And Didn't!)

Three words will often cause an enormous debate between poetry lovers: The Giving Tree. Yes, I said it! So many people love this book by Shel Silverstein about a tree that keeps on giving to a boy who grows up and keeps demanding more.

You can probably tell I'm not a fan of the poem! It's one of my least favorites, in fact, and I think it's a terrible example of friendship, especially given the genders invovled and lessons learned there. Women are often taught to give until we have nothing left, after all. That said, I enjoyed many of the writer's other poems.

What poems did you love as a kid? Which did you hate?

Nothing Gold Can Stay

What is your favorite fall poem?

My teen and I just finished reading The Outsiders together, which is why I have Robert Frost on my mind. "Nothing Gold Can Stay" is a gorgeous poem that always makes me think about fall, even though it's my favorite season. Jim Gaffigan has a great bit where he talks about how we love fall leaves when they are all dying!

I'd love to hear more fall poems that you enjoy, especially if they're the kind that praise fall! They absolutely don't have to; I know many people are sad to see the summer go and I send hugs to you if that's the case.

What fall poems are you enjoying right now? Share them in the chat.

Free Virtual Poetry Workshops

Share what you find!

Many of us are looking for some cool opportunities for both ourselves and our learners during Covid, and luckily the virtual offerings of various programs never seem to cease. The real trick is simply weeding out the things you don't need and finding the ones that will benefit you most.

I've always had good experiences with Coursera, so I think this poetry class might be worth checking out, but I wanted to see if you had others to suggest here for members to take advantage of.

What poetry classes are you taking right now? Share them in the chat!

The Value of Memorization

Why memorize poetry?

Many people find it silly, or useless at best, to memorize poems. After all, what will they ever come in handy for? But it turns out that memorizing poetry can really help you out in other areas.

For starters, if you're a debator, you can draw from your "quote bank" to really move people in your speeches. You can use quotes quickly in in-class essays, which is super helpful, and you can use them in anything from toasts to somber moments in your life. But it can also help you develop confidence, rhythm and even express your feelings in a better way.

What do you think the benefits of memorizing poetry might be? Share them in the chat. 

Poetry Classes Online

Share what you find

Many parents are choosing to homeschool their kids right now who never thought they'd be in this situation. That's perfectly fine! Homeschooling is legal in every state and many people find it rewarding and a great fit. But that doesn't mean you have to go it alone.

There are lots of ways to find help online, even for poetry class. You can try services from Outschool, Varsity Tutors and other educational websites. You can search for tutors online who will help over Zoom or co-op classes that are doing the same. There are lots of ways to go about it.

Have you found any great poetry programs? Share them in the chat.

Zoom Poetry Talks

Share your ideas!

With everyone meeting virtually during these weird times, our co-op is in the middle of planning a semester of Zoom events for the kids. I'd like to do some cool zoom poetry discussions but I wanted to know what my fellow poetry lovers thought about the idea!

If you were having a virtual poetry discussion, what would you want to include? Coffee recipes, music (which can be distracting via Zoom!), author videos, printable poems? What do you think would be most engaging for kids and teens?

Let me know of your ideas in the chat! 

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One Winter Night in August

What nonsense poems do you love?

In the fourth grade, we had to read "One Winter Night in August," which is delightfully silly. Unfortunately my teacher was ancient and serious, and I felt more confusion than delight for the poem. As an adult, I find it hilarious, and it's perfect to read this time of year.

Humorous poetry is totally underrated. People love a good love poem or an epic dramatic poem, but humorous poetry relieves tension, at least for me, and brings that lovely surprised feeling that you get from a good comedian.

What absurd poems do you love? Share them in the chat!

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Writing Poetry with Teens

It's a great way to spend quarantine time together!

My teenager loves poetry right now, and I'm super grateful for it. There was a while when poetry drew a lot of eye-rolling, especially if it meant Shakespeare. The kid loathes Shakespeare, even though we've been to several plays and my teen was in one of them. Now that we're moving into more modern stuff (Whitman, so 1800s), suddenly appreciation knows no bounds!

Tonight we wrote poems together, and it was lovely, discussing our words and our methods. Yes, there's teaching involved but it's mostly connection, an exchange of ideas. As a parent and teacher, I approach most of what we do this way--frank discussion, critical thinking, mastery. But I did find these tips helpful, too.

Are you writing poetry during quarantine? Share your poems with us in the chat!

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Summer Poems

Which are your favorites?

Summer poems are not my favorites, I must confess. Fall poems make my heart happy, and winter poems do after that. I even love spring poems! But summer, alas, is not my season. My SAD occurs this season, which isn't as common as it is for winter sufferers, but it sure has a lot to do with me not enjoying it.

Even so, there are plenty of things to love about summer, from the s'mores and other seasonal treats, the beautiful flowers and swimming to my personal favorite, the lightning bugs. There are summer poems that also pay homage to all of this and more.

What summer poems do you love best? Share them in the chat.

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