Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Poetry Post #1: Illuminate Poetry with Performance Poetry

This month I'm celebrating National Poetry Month with some fabulous poetic presentations.

First, two TED talks, one by the immortal Billy Collins and the other by spoken-word poet Lemon Anderson will inspire even those students who gird themselves with what Billy Collins describes as "poetry deflector shields."

Additionally, the prolifically talented John Green chimed in last week with a fabulous e.e. cummings poem and commentary about spring. Additionally, the Green brothers, Hank and John, have a marvelous Crashcourse video celebrating Emily Dickinson.

In his 2012 TED talk, Billy Collins reveals animations of five of his poems and reads a poem about adolescence. It's a real gem that I'd love to share with parents, too.




Spoken-word poet Lemon Anderson recites the classic Reg E. Gaines poem "Please don't take my Air Jordans." Those teaching in the 1990s will recall headlines about teens being murdered for their designer sneakers. Importantly, Anderson challenges those who want to be poets to study and read poetry.




This morning we awoke to a riot of snow. Spring snow, unfortunately, signals the arrival of spring soccer! My friends in Colorado shoveled out of 14 inches of the white stuff. With lines from Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, and A. E. Houseman, John Green reminds us that wherever we get to live, spring will eventually spring forth. In the meantime, we can embrace spring through the poet's words.


Also form the Vlogbrothers and coming to us from their YouTube channel Crash Course, John Green offers an entertaining lecture on the poetry of Emily Dickinson. From a discussion of paradox, symbolism, and biography, Green unravels many of the mysteries that shroud Dickinson's life and poetry. I particularly like the commentary on the dash, a punctuation mark Dickinson used liberally and that students often struggle to understand. Those who want to emphasize meter will embrace the discussion of iambic pentameter and its variations.

Enjoy "Before I Got My Eye Put Out: The Poetry of Emily Dickinson." Sadly, it's the last in the Green brothers' Crash Course series.


To quote Dickinson's "I Heard a Fly Buzz When I Died," when reading poetry, there have been times "I could not see to see." With these fabulous resources, we can hold poetry up to the light with 21st Century illuminated texts.

1 comment:

  1. What an amazing collection of poetry videos, Glenda! I loved Billy Collins; not just his poetry, but him. He's delightful. I had not heard the Gains' poem before, but I think my students will so enjoy Lemon Anderson's 'performance' of it. You've got to love those Green boys, too. I've just recently become aware of the crashcourse series that Hank has provided in so many disciplines (science too).
    Score one for technology. In my school days, it would be a rare thing to attend a good poetry reading. Now, poetry performances are so readily available to all.

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