During my senior year of high school, one of the biggest challenges that my English literature class faced was dissecting several poems and their meanings. I remember being one of the very few students that was excited to read the poems no matter the topic, whereas everyone else loathed the task.
For many students in my school, senior year was the first time they had to take apart a poem or prose in an English class and ended up overthinking and received a grade they didn’t like. As someone who grew up writing her own poetry and teaching herself about poets and basic rules of poetry, it upset me that a lot of my peers had little to no knowledge about the basics and failed to thoroughly analyze the poems they were given.
This made me realize that poetry is just as important as any novel we were required to read in high school, because poetry teaches elements that certain literature does not. Poetry allows students to understand more about themselves and their community and because many poems are subjective, anyone can relate to a poem in some way or another.
I turned to poetry because I realized that I lack in accurately articulating my thoughts and feelings verbally and there are students out there that have the same issue. I always found it odd that we never went into depth into poetry during English class when I could better explain myself that way.
I believe that poetry should be taught nationwide in every grade because it helps build character, can be more interactive and has benefits for not only students but the community.
Poetry is full of rhythm so even though children may not be able to understand the meaning and the basics, they can feel the rhythm and may get curious enough to write their own. The musical aspect of poetry tends to appeal to younger students and eases them into more advanced pieces.
Poetry also holds an emotional aspect that I think should be especially included in high school curriculums. High school can be a very tough time for many students and to give them an outlet through poetry and prose allows for them to build their talent as well as release any negative or even positive emotions they may be feeling.
“Poetry enables teachers to teach their students how to write, read, and understand any text,” an article written in The Atlantic online news site said. It also stated that reading classic poems in classrooms generates trust and empathy while also building speaking and listening skills that may not be of importance in regular English classes.
Sometimes essays can provide a few of the same skills but when it comes between writing their own poem and a 3-page essay, most students don’t mind writing words that rhyme. Often times poetry is a more enjoyable alternative but because many education systems don’t recognize the importance of poetry, students dread learning the new and raw material.
The qualities that poetry teaches also extend further than just high school. College is an artistic environment where people are not afraid to try new things, and by exposing them to classic poetry at an early age they are better equipped to not only develop and dissect poetry but essays as well.
I wish I would have been exposed to more poetry in high school to expand my experience and further my love of the art. I hope that, in the future, poetry and prose become more integrated in the English curriculum.