I (Clare) am happy to share news of a newly published text by Sue Dymoke: Making Poetry Happen. (Sue is pictured with her new text.) I was lucky to review this text and here is my endorsement. This is an outstanding collection that gives voice to teachers and students as they meet poetry. It is essential reading for those who want to make poetry happen. An invaluable resource for new and experienced teachers, reading this text will change how you approach poetry. Rarely have I read a book that is so transformative. will become a classic.
Here is a link to an interview with Sue Dymoke.http://www.nottinghampost.com/Making-poetry-open-book/story-25887273-detail/story.html
For those of you who are literacy/English teacher educators or classroom teachers I highly recommend this text. I learned a huge amount and thoroughly enjoyed every chapter. The stories written by teachers and academics are inspiriting and informative. I used some chapters with my student teachers who felt transformed. Many said they had never experienced poetry this way. Here is a link to Bloomsbury Publishers: http://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/making-poetry-happen-9781472510266/
Each year, Clare and I (Lydia) invite student teachers in the P/J and J/I literacy methods courses to explore the rich pedagogical possibilities available when poetry is included as an integral part of a literacy program. We consciously include the work of a variety of poets in an effort to provide student teachers with multiple entry points into the teaching of poetry. The recent passing of celebrated poet Maya Angelou brought to light once again the dynamic and influential nature of poetry. Angelou’s powerful poetry inspired a generation of Hip Hop artists who appreciated the beauty and complexity of her work. Upon hearing the news of her death, rapper-producer Q-Tip acknowledged the deep impact Angelou’s poetry had on him. In a twitter post he recalled trying to copy her voice during his early days with A Tribe Called Quest. He noted, “I tried to copy Maya’s fluid voice early on but failed miserably. But because of her I found my own… RIP Maya Angelou and thank u.”
Maya Angelou’s Legacy in Hip-Hop: www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2014/05/28/maya_angelou_s_legacy_in_hip_hop_poet_leaves_behind_a_history_of_appearances.html
In both my experience teaching pre-service literacy courses and my current research with student teachers I (Lydia) have witnessed the sense of anxiety and discomfort many student teachers voice when they are faced with the prospect of teaching poetry during their practice teaching placements. Often, their associate teachers are themselves not comfortable with poetry and therefore, they have difficulty scaffolding the teaching of poetry or providing supportive resources for student teachers. This awareness has motivated Clare and I to delve into poetry within the first few weeks of the P/J and J/I literacy courses, in an effort to ease some of the initial anxiety student teachers experience in anticipation of teaching poetry. We attempt to provide multiple entry points into the teaching of poetry by presenting student teachers with various forms of poetry, and by highlighting the creative expression and emotive potential offered by this medium. We also provide them with a number of resources and pedagogical strategies they can utilize during their practice teaching placement. I recently picked up a copy of the book Love that Dog by Sharon Creech, which I hope to use in the literacy methods courses this year because the insight provided into how students might feel about reading and writing poetry is useful for both teachers and students. Throughout the book, the main character a young boy named Jack journals back and forth with his teacher Ms. Stretchberry, cleverly expressing his initial resist and eventual connection to poetry. Jack initially pronounces, “I don’t want to because boys don’t write poetry. Girls do”; however, through his ongoing dialogue with his teacher Jack experiments with word choice, sounds, and rhythm as he is engages with various poetic formats. My favorite entry in the book is “November 22.” Hopefully the student teachers in the literacy courses this year will enjoy this touching book as much as I did.