April 25, 2012

Poetry

Whilst at school, I remember not really liking poetry. At secondary school I developed an irrational hatred of Carol Ann Duffy's poems, which I think mainly stemmed from being forced to study them to death! At primary level, I remember adoring the sillier poems, and collections such as 'Please Mrs. Butler'. Many of the lines from this poetry book have become family jokes, particularly those which resonated with our own school experiences! I only really fell in love with poetry at university, where I had an inspiring lecturer who gave me a sense of the purposes of poetry within society.

I have several favourite poems, from different genres. I will always love 'My Last Duchess', because it was the first poem that I really understood and enjoyed picking out all the different elements. In a similar vein, 'La Belle Dame sans Merci' will always be important to me as it was part of a play I performed in with a friend, and it took on a greater meaning through being linked somehow with the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima. (The play is called 'Cuba', by the way, and is a fascinating piece of drama). I also love Byron's 'Don Juan' because it is an incredibly funny poem. A children's poem I've always loved is 'The Jabberwocky'. Despite being a bit cliche to love it, I just find the words fascnating, and they've always stuck with me.

Having said this, I know no poems completely off by heart. I can remember several large sections of different poems, but none in their entirety. I think it is important for children to learn some off by heart, just because of the memory skills and use of brain that it encourages. Although it may be unnecessary to know whole poems from memory because of the internet, I do think it is a good skill to be able to remember large amounts of texts. It stands children in good stead for later life moments, such as exams, and helps to keep the brain agile well into retirement age!


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