By Mousumi Sinha
“A poem begins in delight and ends in wisdom”
This immortal quote penned by Robert Frost, an eminent American poet has become an axiom in our life. It is an undeniable fact that when our life gets overburdened with irrepressible monotony, invincible despondency and insurmountable challenges, poetry is an inevitable escape to a world of perennial joy and delight that can only emancipate us from the shackles of daily, drab and dreary life and can help us to emerge wiser, calmer and steadier.
Poetry is equally important to the young learners who love to be enthralled by the poetic rhythm and transcend into the realm of fantasy with the wings of imagination created by the poets. Therefore while teaching poetry , a teacher needs to be equally passionate and imaginative along with the readers to give them a better understanding of the poem.
A poem can be taught following three basic steps:
- Pre -reading stage
- While- reading stage
- Post- reading stage.
This stage is basically called a warm- up stage when the children can be motivated to share their prior knowledge and insightful ideas about those poems that they have already learnt. At this stage the teacher can mainly focus on the following points:
- What kind of poem is the present poem.( narrative, lyrical, sonnet, blank
verse, epic etc)
- Purpose of writing the poem.
- some relevant information about the poet.
This pre- reading stage actually acts as a prelude to the poem. The teacher should heighten the interest of the students towards the poem and widen their inquisitiveness to go deeper into the poem.
While reading stage:
This is the stage of unfolding the poem step by step. As poetry is an oral art form, so the first step of this stage is to read the poem aloud to the students with
proper rhythm, stress , intonation and punctuation
Next step is called Elaborate Explanation or Detailed Dissection of the poem when the each and every stanza of the poem will be explained thoroughly. For the active participation of the students, the teacher can ask them to explain the lines from their own perspective. The poets believe from the core of their hearts that they write poetry for their own pleasure, but it is the readers’ liability to decipher the meaning. Moreover the meaning of any poem can never be made limited, bounded, it is always manifold and diverse.
Apart from the students’ explanations, the teacher can also add some necessary, relevant points related to the poem to make it even more interesting as well as
So in this stage the teacher will mainly focus on the following points:
- Stanza wise detailed discussion of the poem.
- Vocabulary enrichment of the students by making them acquainted with
new words they come across while reading the poem.
- Discussion about poetic method/ rhythmic pattern of the poem.
Discussion about figures of speech( metaphor, imagery, simile, synecdoche, metonymy, litotes, hyperbole etc) used in the poem.
Post -reading stage:
This is the final stage of teaching a poem. Here the teacher will summarise the entire poem and ask the students to jot down the main points they have understood. The teacher will also give them a worksheet to get an idea about how far they have been able to grasp the main theme of the poem.
To conclude, teaching of poetry is quite different from other genres of literature as it entails a strange amalgamation of imagination, emotion, rhythm, sound and
life. It not only arouses an aesthetic sense but also creates an enduring, imperishable appeal by leaving an indelible impression upon the young minds. The main objective of poetry is not to be confined within the four walls of class room, rather it should be borne in our hearts forever even if it is not heard any more. In the words of Wordsworth we can say;
“The music in my heart I bore,
Long after it was heard no more.”