Posted by: M. Walgenbach | March 22, 2010

Poetry in the high school?

Poetry Unit for high school freshmen.  I’d open with poetic categories–lyrical, narrative, etc.  Once the students can identify the different forms and types of poetry, then they can understand their purpose.  For lyrical poems, I would offer the following poems by their respective artists.  Because I tend toward liberty-minded philosophies, I choose carefully the artists and their poems.  I don’t want to choose artists who have been used by progressives and their movements to justify redistribution and social welfare.  At the same time, I believe that it is important to acknowledge a culture heritage, which means that authors who make up an American heritage, like Frost, Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Elizabeth Bishop, Ginsberg, among others, must be included into even the shortest survey of American poetry.  As a reminder, despite the mandates by many states to use recommended textbooks, I strongly encourage each teacher to find poems and poets that best reflects what is important to them politically, the most beautiful, the most penetrating verbal constructions they can find.  Remember, too, that textbooks were produced to substitute for good teaching.  That should give you some insight as to what the State wants.  So, let’s begin.

American Poets

Robet Frost:  “The Road Not Taken,” “Birches,” “Mending Wall.”  I like these three poems; he has others.  Choose the ones you enjoy the most and the ones that you understand the best.  “The Road Not Taken” is a great introduction to Frost’s equivocal verbal skills.  Ultimately, because each of the two roads were “. . . really about the same / And both that morning equally lay . . . ,” Frost tries to persuade the reader that there was a real difference, a real choice.  The narrtor never chooses, which is hinted at in the title “The Road Not Taken” [my emphasis].  See Yvor Winters’ excellent critical essay on Frost’s poem “Robert Frost: or, the Spiritual Drifter as Poet.”  

A poetic genre is generally a tradition or classification of poetry based on the subject matter, style, or other broader literary characteristicsLyrical poetry

Poetic Genres:







Verse Fable

Poetic Forms:



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