Instead of teaching poetry as an object that exists outside the students, teachers should try to make it sprout inside the students and make it pulsate with their feelings and emotions. You can not understand poetry through your mind. It first has to be felt in the heart and from heart its realizations should be allowed to rise up into the mind at their own pace; a process which may take years or even decades. Poetry is a cathartic experience. It uplifts our spirit when we are depressed, lonely, distressed and melancholy. It gives us company when we are happy, joyful and delighted. It aids us when we are afraid and terrorized. It soothes us when we are sad. It should be our friend and not foe. Schools, however, use it to humiliate us and fail us. No wonder we hate it so much.
Poetry is a contagious disease. It can not be taught, it can only be caught. And, it can only be caught from someone who already has the disease. [Modified Quote]
We appreciate different types of poems at different times in the context of the specific situations. Once upon a time, there were people who could recite poetry relevant to any given occasion, and could recite a couplet pertinent to any given situation. In fact, the status of erudition of an educated person was measured by his ability to connect a given situation to the relevant couplets and poems from a grand master poet. Their expression of feelings was judged by their ability to recite from master poets. The next level was judged by their ability to recite from their own composition. Highest level of erudition was considered to be their deep immersion in experience to an extent where emotions in the form of poetry bubble out instantaneously and effortlessly. Their renditions were not labored and contrived and were a natural and a mellifluous flow or river of ideas. At times the emotions would be gushing out as torrents.
Dead Poets Society:
The best contrast of the way poetry need to be taught and felt is admirably portrayed in this wonderful movie “Dead Poets Society”. The traditional teaching deadens the nerves and makes the students hate poetry. The unconventional ways in which poetry can be taught is shown by John Keating character in this movie. Although the extreme shown is not to be recommended but the way the teacher instills in the children the love for poetry is really stupendous. Must see for all the teachers.
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