Friday, February 26, 2010

It's Poetry Friday!

When I first heard about Poetry Friday several years ago, I literally bounced with excitement.  The idea of devoting one day a week to a little bit of poetry was such an intriguing possibility that I found myself immediately wanting to find a way to incorporate it into my classroom.  Three years ago, my initial attempt—a poetry-related mini-lesson every Friday—took me through a wonderful year, a wonderful year that actually inspired me to go further.

Nowadays, the idea of devoting just one day per week to poetry actually seems so little, as we now do it 
practically every day.  Inspired greatly by Nancie Atwell, two years ago, I started beginning every language arts class with a poem.  Gathering in a circle near the front of the room, we sit together as a class, and begin our workshop time by reading and then talking about a piece of poetry.  I love that time, and as months go on, I love the kinds of poets my students become.  For two years running, poetry has actually become the most common genre they select to write when they work on free-choice pieces!

With the move of this blog, I'm hoping I can more regularly participate in what inspired my venture into poetry in the first place — Poetry Friday here online.  The roundup this week is hosted over at Check It Out and this week I'm jumping back in with one of my favorites to share at the beginning of each year, when we start up readers workshop.

It's The House Was Quiet and the World Was Calm by Wallace Stevens:

The house was quiet and the world was calm.
The reader became the book; and summer night

Was like the conscious being of the book.
The house was quiet and the world was calm.

The words were spoken as if there was no book,
Except that the reader leaned above the page,

Wanted to lean, wanted much to be
The scholar to whom his book is true, to whom

The summer night is like a perfection of thought.
The house was quiet because it had to be.

The quiet was part of the meaning, part of the mind:
The access of perfection to the page.

And the world was calm. The truth in a calm world,
In which there is no other meaning, itself

Is calm, itself is summer and night, itself
Is the reader leaning late and reading there.

1 comment:

  1. Hi AnneShirley,

    Thanks for sharing Stevens' poem.

    I think it is really wonderful that you offer poetry to your students. Why is it that students who don't do as well on traditional English composition seem to do better at writing poetry? As a teacher, do you have some insight to this phenomena?

    Are you familiar with Poetry 180 with Billy Collins? He offers poems for the entire school year.

    Laura Evans