“I’m a great believer in poetry out of the classroom, in
public places, on subways, trains, on cocktail napkins. I’d rather have my
poems on the subway than around the seminar table at an MFA program.” —Billy
This Thursday, 3rd of October, is National Poetry Day! It can be a great opportunity to reflect on how we use and talk about poetry, both in the classroom and outside of it. Pupils often encounter poetry for the first time in school, where it’s often read to help them develop analytical skills, rather than for pleasure. However, poetry has great value outside the classroom, where it can help us to explore the world, to see things differently and to flex our creative muscles, using language in new ways to communicate complex ideas.
Poetry is often seen as high art when, in truth, it can be very accessible for anyone. The next time your family are out and about, start trying to create some rhyming couplets about the things you can see. You’ll soon discover that you’re a poet and you didn’t know it!
Poetry and Truth
these days of fake news, social media, Photoshopped pictures and deep fake
videos, it can be hard for anyone, especially young people, to know what is
real. The theme of this year’s National Poetry Day is Truth, and poetry
provides a great doorway for us to talk about that topic.
often use language to obscure their meaning, or to add layers that become
apparent only when we analyse or take a closer look. In this way, they can help
us to learn vital skills that we can apply to the world around us, enabling us
to consider the media we consume both online and offline and reach appropriate
This year, our Key Stage 3 pupils will be looking at fake news and writing poems about it for National Poetry Day, enabling them to explore what we can trust and some of the ways we can recognise falsehoods or exaggerations.
Poetry and Inner Truth
Poetry can also be a vehicle for telling the truth; poets often use their work to tell truths about themselves, or about the world. Young people often struggle to express themselves, and their own truths, dealing with shame about their feelings or a need to conform to the expectations of others. For people who feel like this, poetry can be an outlet, allowing them to process their emotions and ideas, mediating them through the constraints of form and language that poetry provides. According to Geri Giebel Chavis, the exploration of our inner truths through poetry can boost our self-esteem. There is also a growing body of research that suggests writing poetry can be an effective form of therapy, allowing us to better understand ourselves and our emotions.
Poetry Outside the Classroom
Poetry has important contributions to make in all our lives, and it is just as important outside the classroom as it is inside. Why not try to introduce some poetry into your life? You can find some recommendations from the My Online School staff in the NPD newsletter, or explore free poetry from a huge range of authors at the Poetry Archive.
Tell The Truth
Tell all the Truth but tell it slant –
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth’s superb surprise
As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind
– Emily Dickinson
Blog written by Ash Guzowski, Head of English at My Online Schooling
My Online Schooling is an online learning platform that offers a flexible, full-time English Curriculum-led education to children all over the world. We support home-educated pupils by providing live online lessons following a set syllabus, offering them the opportunity to receive iGCSE and A-Level qualifications that open doors to higher education. Click here to find out more about our school.