Poetry, poems and poets!

Thank you so much to everyone who has responded to our poetry plea! You have been such a help- thanks for your support, suggestions and wonderfully positive comments about what we are trying to do!

In response, I thought a poetry post was long overdue...

Since I have been a teacher, the 'official' stance on poetry has changed many times, causing confusion and a reluctance to tackle it by many colleagues. Fortunately for me, it is something that I have always loved and I am so grateful to my mum for spending so much time sharing nursery rhymes, singing games and stories with me and my brothers when we were little as I'm sure this started my love of language from an early age. 

It was the work of Sandy Brownjohn that first excited me about sharing and teaching poetry while I was training to teach. To anyone who is not familiar with her work, I really recommend it as easy and enjoyable to read and very effective to use! These are my go-to texts when thinking about building a poetry sequence- or simply to remind myself of how much I love poetry!

Other books that I have found really useful to help my understanding of different poetic forms and techniques are 'A Child's Introduction to Poetry' by Meredith Hamilton and Michael Driscoll (Black Dog & Leventhal ISBN: 978-1579122829)  and 'A Kick in the Head: the everyday guide to poetic forms' by Paul Janeczko, illustrated by Chris Raschka (Candlewick ISBN: 978-0763641320)

Both books are excellent for children to explore as well and the Child's Introduction also has a CD for listening to! Also very useful is 'What Rhymes with Sneeze?' by Roger Stevens (A and C Black ISBN:978-1408155769 ). Great resources for teachers, they also excite and interest children and make a great addition to a class book corner, poetry display or school library. 

As with choosing the perfect book to work with or read aloud, it is so important to consider the children who will be on the receiving end! Children must be encouraged to explore a range of poets and poetic styles from as many cultures and periods as possible. This is why we believe so passionately about including poetry in our award and promoting it in school and why we try to read as much poetry as we can ourselves.

Pictured below is a small selection of the poetry books from my shelves. I have many favourites- Benjamin Zephaniah (Whosland; Good Hope), John Foster (Four O'Clock Friday; Word Spinning)... I could go on and on! And so many 'classics'- 'The Highwayman', 'The Lady of Shallot', 'Ozymandias', 'The Listeners'...

Poems are so easy to add into the curriculum for pleasure. So many can be used in a cross curricular way as well as in their own right that it is easy to enjoy a poem as part of any lesson. I really like using the occasional maths poem as a starter to get children thinking!

Classic poems, seasonal poems...

Funny poems, cautionary poems...

Emotional poems, ridiculous poems...

Cultural poems, environmental poems...

Poems for sharing, poems for performing...

Poems for thinking, poems for discussing...

So many wonderful poems!

There are so many exciting poems, so many beautiful poetry books, so many inspiring poets that poetry- whatever the curriculum might specify- is something that cannot...should not be ignored. 

And so the hunt for this year's winner continues...