Feeding poetry to the kids

“Windham Poetry Group Overcomes Adversity,” by Heather Murdock from The Daily Campus, reports on a high school poetry group that’s been performing locally and competing in poetry slams since early 2004.

As someone who founded and published a little lit zine in the mid-90s, I think high school is a perfect time for getting young adults interested in poetry. With all the fear, self-doubt and optimism that comes with being a teenager, this is the perfect age to record thoughts and emotions on paper (or computer screen).

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But just because high school is an opportune time, it doesn’t mean that you need to wait for kids to grow complex emotions and apply for college. For instance, junior high works just as well.

“Poetry comes alive for some 7th-graders,” from the Post and Courier, reports: “For the seventh-grade students of River Oaks Middle School, poetry will never be just a few boring rhymes they had to memorize in school.”

And poetry never should be just some lines to read or learn. It should be something to experience and enjoy–whether the poems are funny, sad, difficult, or scary.

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I don’t think you can ever start too early on building an appreciation of poetry in children. As the father of two boys aged four and six, I’ve been reading them poems since before they could talk themselves. Their favorite is probably “The Raven,” by Edgar Allan Poe (they love everything spooky).

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