Making Literature Exciting:
Beating the Poetry Resistance
Session 7.3. January 10, 2014
Rachel Heinhorst. College of Southern
Krista Keyes. College of Southern
AFACCT ’14 Conference
Prince George’s Community College
Session 7.3. January 10, 2014
To bring this idea into the classroom, I like to turn to the
music I know my students are listening to. Eminem, a very
influential rapper in today’s pop culture, is certainly a
commonly listened to artist. I imagine that many of his
songs exist on playlists formed on iPods and smartphones.
Knowing this, I will begin a lesson by playing one of his
Example Assignments for Connecting to Poetry
In his song, “Monster,” students will be introduced to many
literary elements. In this one song we find figurative
language, tone, allusion, irony, and satire. Because the song
is popular to my students, the discovery of these elements
leaves a lasting impression. Once establishing the
connection through the music, introducing a poem
becomes less intimidating to students. They notice that
these elements exist within the world they are connected
to, and can begin to analyze the way in which the
elements assist the meaning of the poems we read in class.
To help the understanding of this I show a YouTube video by
another famous rapper, Jay-Z, entitled “Rap is Poetry.”
Twitter is another way to show students that poetry has
a very active life beyond the classroom. An assignment
using Twitter for research can be effective as many
students maintain social circles through its use.
Even Sharon Olds has a Twitter page:
I’m just a raw use of direct language and honest
approach to topics such as sexuality, relationships, and
violence, both political and personal.
The Paris Review @parisreview Nov 19
“Poems [are] instructions for how to put the world back together if it were
destroyed.” —Amy Hempel, on Sharon Olds: http://tpr.ly/1jjKe9Z .
Here is an example:
Twitter Author Research Assignment
Twitter will be your only search engine. Every source must be found by searching
Check to see if your chosen poet has a twitter page (most do, even if maintained
by an organization).
1. Read through postings to find informational links about your chosen poet.
2. Read through posted tweets about the poems and poet to get a sense of how
others feel about your chosen poet and their poems.
3. Read through postings (tweets) to find links to poems by your chosen poet.
4. Search for poetry journals, find website links, and search for information about
your chosen poet.
5. Gather all found information and begin writing.
Sharon Olds @Old_Sharon 9 Dec 2012
I call this "Douche Bag Ode" #enjoy
Introduce the poet. Use the poet’s Twitter page and poetry journal
information to offer a brief biography of your chosen poet.
Introduce three poems by the poet and a theme, if noticeable.
Include two or more Twitter comments about poems or
poet, connecting the responses to the poems and poet.
Respond to each comment using your own interpretations and
Examine what is being said about your chosen poet and respond.