Please help me find great poems! - Page 2
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  1. #11
    Your restriction to TWELVE lines--which i see a lot of people have ignored--closes out a lot of modern poetry, even some non-traditional sonnets.



    ________________________________________________

    "I believe in nothing but the holiness of the heart's affections and the Truth of the imagination". Keats, ​Letters

    "Coleridge would let go by a fine isolated verisimilitude caught from the penetralium of mystery, because of an irritable reaching after fact and reason." Keats, Letters

    "No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main . . . any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls -- it tolls for thee. " John Donne, Meditation XVII

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  3. #13
    WF Veteran Bloggsworth's Avatar
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    I think you need really simple poems, not ones loaded with inference, metaphor or symbolism, as if they are not native English speakers the subtlety may pass them by. I would look at some of the more advanced children's poems or the work of poets like Pam Ayres whose ideas relate to life as lived by ordinary people and have an element of humour, always useful when teaching, as laughter lifts the soul and makes things memorable.
    A man in possession of a wooden spoon must be in want of a pot to stir.

  4. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by clark View Post
    Your restriction to TWELVE lines--which i see a lot of people have ignored--closes out a lot of modern poetry, even some non-traditional sonnets.
    Clark, 10-12 poems, 32 lines

  5. #15
    Rob -- I'm going to do this in fits and starts throughout the day. Here's the first instalment:

    Marlowe, The Passionate Shepherd. . . (depending on your teaching objectives, you can have a lot of fun with the THREE parodies (all cynical!) of poets from subsequent eras, all using Marlowe's structure and all slamming the pastoral tradition: see Ralegh, The Nymph's Reply; Donne, The Bait; Marvel, To His Coy Mistress

    Ben Jonson, Epitaph on Elizabeth, L.H.
    You'll want at least one example of the couplet, wielded by a Master.
    I would suggest that you use only lines 3 - 6 of this short Epitaph. The four lines stand on their own and are simply magnificent.

    John Donne, Holy Sonnet 7. Donne's soaring, complex, 'metaphysical' imagery at its finest. The imagery is elaborate, but actually linear and quite clear. About as OPPOSITE a use of imagery from Jonson's stark simplicity as you're likely to find. Great opportunity for a teaching moment--bellow this poem aloud like an Evangelist from the pulprit!

    .......more later



    ________________________________________________

    "I believe in nothing but the holiness of the heart's affections and the Truth of the imagination". Keats, ​Letters

    "Coleridge would let go by a fine isolated verisimilitude caught from the penetralium of mystery, because of an irritable reaching after fact and reason." Keats, Letters

    "No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main . . . any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls -- it tolls for thee. " John Donne, Meditation XVII

  6. #16
    As much as I admire Clark’s taste in poetry, I think his choices are more for a poetry class than English has a Second Language. The goal is to teach contemporary conversational English and to introduce a bunch of poetry from a time when the spoken English sounded quite different is just going to confuse students. On the other hand, I don’t think children’s poetry is suitable either. It doesn’t offer the subtleties of developed language.

  7. #17
    I've heard audio versions work well with English learners.
    Perhaps some Marshall Mathers. He enunciates well. And is still alive/ somewhat contemporary.

  8. #18
    Tim -- Rob gave no information about the first languages of the students at this camp, I did assume that Chinese would dominate , since they comprise a huge segment of immigrants to English-speaking countries. My last teaching gig before retiring was 17 years at the BC Institute of Technology. In the last 8 of those years, BCIT was inundated--by the thousands-- with new students from mainland China and Taiwan. One of the main problems these students had in comprehending meaning in written English was--just that--ALL of their work and exposure to English was on the page or screen. They rarely heard it, so their typical pattern was to look up English words, "get" their meaning, then try to apply. All of this in their heads. Which of course are filled with the sounds and nuances of their own language. In Chinese, as I know you know, Meaning is determined TONALLY: whether a vowel is rising or falling dictates meaning, and the length of time a vowel is held, profoundly affects meaning (a friend in Taiwan fell in love with a Chinese girl. At his first meeting with her parents, he used the word "ma" [mother] to praise the woman. "Ma" also means something to do with horses. He ended up calling her a horse's ass. The romance did not go too well). English is a STRESS-meaning language. Every word in English has a stressed syllable which along with context signals meaning, but meaning is NOT typically affected by rising or falling tone or by vowel length. These hugely different realities of sound drive Chinese speakers half-mad, as does our bewildering use of homonyms. I challenged them to make up sentences illustrating this last--an exercise they very much enjoyed. I remember the best of the best: "So you refuse to refuse the dynamite in the refuse dump."

    I accept Tim's criticism that my selection of poems is for "a poetry class"--a very special poetry class where the students need to hear a variety of the sounds of English. And I selected the poems in hopes that hearing those sounds will get them closer to marrying meaning to usage in a sound system so dramatically different than their own. The vocabulary of the poems selected is NOT difficult and few (I can't think of any) of the words have passed out of use. These 'older' poems also manifest greater consistency of rhythm than do contemporary poems, Hearing the four poems in the Marlowe/Ralegh/Donne/Marvel progression, for example is a comfort zone for ESL students, in that they can hear exactly the same rhythm in different contexts. How English sounded back in the day seems irrelevant. Rob will read them aloud in HIS speech.

    Rob--whichever poems you select, do yourself and your ESL (the term is rapidly becoming moribund, supplanted by the more accurate acronym EAL, where A = Additional) students a favour. About two weeks before the poetry sessions, research then give your students a list of links to YOUTUBE poetry readings. There are dozens. Get them listening, becoming accustomed to the sounds and rhythms of poetry in English. And, depending on your own voice, you might even want to practice yourself.

    I disagree with Tim--Tim and I turn disagreeing now and then into an undeclared indoor sport. But we still drink beer together--in his choice of Red Wheelbarrow. The poem is one of the most influential poems of the 20th C, but its layout on the page and the complex history behind it would probably be too much for EAL students


    I'll come up with a few more poems later.
    Last edited by clark; Today at 02:51 AM.



    ________________________________________________

    "I believe in nothing but the holiness of the heart's affections and the Truth of the imagination". Keats, ​Letters

    "Coleridge would let go by a fine isolated verisimilitude caught from the penetralium of mystery, because of an irritable reaching after fact and reason." Keats, Letters

    "No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main . . . any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls -- it tolls for thee. " John Donne, Meditation XVII

  9. #19
    I think The Fog by William Henry Davies could be a good choice.

    It's within the stipulated line length, has a message within it, and the language use would probably stretch an ESL speaker without being out of reach.
    It also has lines 2 and 4 of each stanza rhyming with a false rhyme near the end (read it and you'll see what I mean).
    I remember this one from class when I was about 10.

    ETA: I notice the rather archaic (or Scot-specific) word "ken" in the first stanza, but you could explain that to your students.
    Last edited by Phil Istine; Today at 10:15 AM. Reason: addendum


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