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By Josie Whitehead




'Poetry is a type of literature based on the interplay of words and rhythm. It often employs rhyme and metre (a set of rules governing the number and arrangement of syllables in each line). In poetry, words are strung together to form sounds, images, and ideas that might be too complex or abstract to describe directly.'


This does not mean that correct punctuation or capitalization shouldn't be used, or that the poem should not be read for pleasure rather than studied in class or for examinations.    

'Poetry was once written according to fairly strict rules of metre and rhyme, and each culture had its own rules. For example, Anglo-Saxon poets had their own rhyme schemes and meters, while Greek poets and Arabic poets had others.'


'Although these classical forms are still widely used today, modern poets frequently do away with rules altogether – their poems generally do not rhyme, and do not fit any particular metre.  These poems, however, still have a rhythmic quality and seek to create beauty through their words.'


(or do they?)


For myself, though, and having been a teacher, and for whom English language, well written and well-punctuated, has been important to myself and to my students too, I would find it difficult not to write our English language in a way that shows disrespect to spelling, punctuation and correct grammar, and so my own work should help young people with their own writing of English, acceptable to examiners.  Metered poetry helps the development of both *phonemic and *phonological awareness which are important in the learning of our English language and in particular for reading and writing.   Rhyming words can sound alike but be spelled differently.   This is why I think that adding my own voice recording to my poems helps children to see this clearly.  We didn't have to study poetry, when I was a child, but, discovering the library where poems by Walter de la Mare, Robert Louis Stevenson and so many others were,  is where I put my first foot on the poetic ladder - and eagerly too.  It certainly helped my English language.


'POETRY is  literature that evokes a concentrated imaginative awareness of experience or a specific emotional response through language chosen and arranged for its meaning, sound, and rhythm'  so I read. 


The emotional response, especially from children, may well be laughter, which is good for them.  However, the story within the poem may well make them feel a little sad, but if they like the poems, they'll certainly ask for more, unlike having to take it because, like medicine 'it is something that will do you good even though it may taste awful!'

Poems can tell a story or be about thoughts or a feelings. They can be serious or silly, but they are built on language/words.    Poems often have a rhythm, which is like a beat in music. The rhythm is quick or slow depending on the words the poet chooses.  So, having discovered what poetry actually is, why not go back to my main poetry index and enjoy all the work which I've done for you during the years when I was supposed to be 'retired' (well that is whatever  'retirement' means).  I don't think good teachers ever really retire!! 


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