Young Poets' Week 2009 - April 6th to 12th 2009
This April, the League of Canadian Poets helped teachers increase creativity in their classrooms by exploring the theme for National Poetry Month 2009, PLANET POETRY during celebrations of Young Poets' Week (April 6-12).
We offered new poetry exercises that asked the following questions: 1. Where do you consider home? What does it mean to be Canadian? Do you feel like people misjudge you? How does that make you feel? What role does poetry play in your identity? What is pantoum, a Sestina, a Quatrain? The League encouraged teachers to explore these ideas by infusing their classroom activities with environmental and diversity themes for April 2009. Here are the exercises we provided:
Although modern poetry tends to favour what we call “free verse,” lately there seems to be a revival of “form poetry,” or poems that make use of traditional structures, such as the sonnet, pantoum, glossa and ghazal. For many, writing in form is a way to create a framework in which to work. For others it feels like a constraint. W.H. Auden went as far as to say that “The poet who works in free verse is like Robinson Crusoe on his desert island: he must do all his cooking, laundry, and darning himself.”
In this article, Yvonne Blomer is going to outline some of the basics of the sonnet; modern couplets and ghazals; forms that make use of repetition such as fugues, triolets and pantoums; and Japanese forms. For each article, we will look at a few sample poems to help your students better grasp the form and see how it is being used in contemporary terms. Our approach is that students benefit from first learning the basic rules and writing a formal poem before breaking free and exploring variations.
Ask students to read the poem Africa by Jason "Blackbird" Selman and determine what it means for them to live in Canada and be Canadian. How does diversity affect their creativity? Who are their heroes/role models? What makes someone a good role model? What makes someone a good artist? Are all artists good role models why is that important?
Ask students to read the poems One Woman and VIII by Jason "Blackbird" Selman and determine what it means for them to love and be loved. How does nature play a role or becomes a caracter in their poems. How does music inspire them to write, what songs or rythms do they write to or are inspired by?
Ask students to read the poem VIII and XIII by Jason "Blackbird" Selman and determine what it means for them to feel at home or be homesick. Where do you consider home? How do you define yourself? What does it mean TO YOU to be Canadian? Do you ever get homesick? What do you do about it?
All these exercises are made possible thanks to the generous support of Poets Yvonne Blomer and Jason "Blackbird" Selman. As well as the support of The League of Canadian Poets and the collaborators of YoungPoets.ca. Please encourage your students to visit and participate in our other ongoing activities such as our interactive forums and our ezine Re:verse.