By Herbert R. Kohl
Poetry has the ability to maneuver and problem the reader. it may well accentuate or maybe rejoice distress, be cynical or wry, or simply snicker outright in an outrageous approach. Poetry is as severe and antic as lifestyles, and but analyzing glossy poetry will be stunning to our experience of what language is or needs to be.In A Grain of Poetry, Herbert Kohl offers a chain of guideposts to assist everybody learn poetry and observe these poems that tell and encourage them. In transparent, direct language, he covers all the essential-but usually unchartedpaths to realizing poetry: shape and constitution, line breaks and pauses, rhythm and melody, imagery, and recitation. Written through one of many country's major educators, A Grain of Poetry is a finished and available consultant for all poets, scholars, and poetry fanatics.
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Extra info for A Grain of Poetry: How to Read Contemporary Poems and Make Them A Part of Your Life
This is a poem to be read as a whole, to be seen and understood as a whole. The melody is like the plaintive line of mourning that one finds in many funeral ceremonies. Ii " )1 ,;! It is not just the lines that shape this melody, but the sounds of the words. Although "slept," "sky," and "So" do not rhyme, the "s" sound frames the first four lines. In the next lines there are also sounds that repeat. The dogs "crooned their coming," the "c" carrying the melody along. The "beds hollow as boats" again creates a resonance that becomes Rhythm and Melody 75 memorable and sayable.
Read the poem out loud and visualize flowing water. And think of the last image. which i" not of a delta but of a human hand ~ 86 A Grain of Poetry ~ with its five fingers spread. The poet is growing and will not be tied to her past or captured by other people's assessment of work she has already done. She is flowing out in many directions. Here's a very different poem, but one that also uses flowing water as an image, by William Stafford. Read it and, in this case, pay attention not merely to the line breaks and sounds, but to the adjectives and adverbs and the way in which they intensify the poem's impression.
See Spot run. The line breaks (actually page breaks in the first grade reader I had in school) let you know when to pause. They indicate a larger unit and set up the rhythm of the primer. Children fall into the line-by-line reading and begin to get a sense of the sentence as a unit of thought. Alhough this is not the most creative way to teach reading, it is illustrative of the way in which even simple primers like this use some of the techniques of poetry. Dick and Jane can be transformed without changing the line breaks or breaking the rhythms.