Reading and Writing Poetry

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UNESCO EDUCATION SECTOR Division of Higher Education Section for Teacher Education Editor: Richard W. Halperin he authors are responsible for the choice and presentation T of views contained in this book and for the opinions expressed therein, which are not necessarily those of UNESCO and do not commit the Organization. The designation employed and the presentation of material throughout this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of UNESCO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. Any part of this document may be freely reproduced with the appropriate acknowledgement. For further information please contact: CHIEF, SECTION FOR TEACHER EDUCATION DIVISION OF HIGHER EDUCATION UNESCO 7, place de Fontenoy, 75352 Paris 07 SP, France Tel: +33 (0)1 45 68 0823 Fax: +33 (0)1 45 68 5626 ED-2005/WS10 UNITED NATIONS EDUCATIONAL, SCIENTIFIC AND CULTURAL ORGANIZATION ©UNESCO 2005The Recommendations of Noted Poets from Many Lands on the Teaching of Poetry in Secondary Schools PARIS, 2005 g guide_eng.indd 1 uide_eng.indd 1 24/03/05 9:49:21 24/03/05 9:49:21We are very grateful to members of the following organizations who assisted us in identifying and contacting some of the poets who participated in this project: French P.E.N. (Fédération Internationale des PEN Clubs; P.E.N. = Poets, Essayists, Novelists) 2 The Annual International Mittelfest 2000 in the city of Cividale, Italy The Arab Bureau for Education in the Gulf States The International Baccalaureate Organization The International Poetry Festival in Medellín, 1999, Medellín, Colombia The Verona Institute for Opera and Poetry, Verona, Italy We thank Ms Kirsten De Motte Halperin for having contributed to UNESCO the concept of this guide. A warm note of appreciation goes to the President of French P.E.N., Mr Alexandre Blokh, as well as to the former Superintendent of the Arena di Verona, Mr Gianfranco de Bosio, for their special involvement in this project. g guide_eng.indd 2 uide_eng.indd 2 2 24/03/05 9:49:22 4/03/05 9:49:22This booklet is a collection of opinions of nearly 50 important poets from 25 countries in 5 continents on the best ways to present poetry to secondary school pupils. It is mainly intended for use in teacher training programmes, to bring to methods of teaching poetry two important dimensions: the creative perspective of poets themselves, as well as the perspective of different cultures regarding the reading and writing of poetry. It is not intended as a methodology in itself. Ordinarily, the manuals used by teachers for the purpose of devising lesson plans for the teaching of poetry are written by pedagogues and are largely based upon research and experience drawn from the fi eld of teaching. The enrichment of these methods by the consideration of the views of major living poets themselves can be very valuable in the training of teachers in ways of stimulating the creative thinking of learners of secondary school age. In fact, it is to be hoped that users of this guide will consider inviting poets into teachers’ classrooms. Furthermore, the enhancement of methods of teacher training by viewpoints from 3 many different cultures broadens the approach of the teachers in schools, emphasising multicultural education or peace education. The text consists of responses to questions on the teaching of poetry at the secondary school level. The responses were received in many different languages. They are presented in three separate publications, in English, French and Spanish, respectively. The full texts of the three publications, as well as the responses that poets submitted in languages other than English, French and Spanish, can be viewed in their original untrans- lated forms on the website: Each poet was asked also to supply, optionally, biographical data; some did, others did not. That information is also reproduced. A summary by the noted Irish poet Paul Muldoon is provided at the beginning of the English version, and an overview by the noted Lebanese poet Vénus Khoury Ghata is provided at the beginning of the French version, to offer a possible synthesis of the thoughts contributed by so many different poets. However, it is not the goal of this project to evaluate or compare the ideas presented by all these poets. Each user of the booklet, in each part of the world where it is used, will likely fi nd different sections useful for different reasons. We wish to extend our profound gratitude to all the poets who participated in this project and who have made a gift of their thoughts to UNESCO and to teachers worldwide. This booklet is distributed free of charge. g guide_eng.indd 3 uide_eng.indd 3 2 24/03/05 9:49:23 4/03/05 9:49:23WHY POETRY SHOULD BE TAUGHT AT THE SECONDARY LEVEL One of the functions of poetry is to help us make sense of ourselves in the world. It follows that it should be an integral part of the education of young people who, particularly in the adolescent years, have such difficulty in making sense of themselves because, as one poet put it, their inner world is centripetal. The teaching of poetry will develop communicative skills while students are still young and, hence, flexible. Such flexibility, including an openness to the possibility of dis- covering something new, is of primary importance in both the reader and writer of poetry. Since it is a reflection of the world and humanity, poetry should be taught as a disci- pline in its own right, as likely as history, geography or biology to offer a system of revelation. 5 HOW TEACHERS CAN CULTIVATE ORIGINAL THINKING CONDUCIVE TO THE CREATION AND UNDERSTANDING OF POETRY We recommend that the teaching of poetry be seen as a participatory experience. Teachers should not insist on one interpretation of a poem, but allow students to take an active role in interpretation. Since it allows little latitude for active participation, the learning of poems by rote is not recommended as a primary method of introducing poetry to young people. As one poet put it, Poetry is the voice, not recitation. This is not to suggest that exposure to the tradition of poetry should not be given a place, since some familiarity with the poetic tradition of a culture is necessary, only that it should not be given first place. One of the most effective ways of helping students become more adept in understanding poetry is to encourage them to try their hands at composing it. The classics of any culture are often thought of as being untouchable. The rein- terpretation, including the parody, of classics by students encouraged to try writing their own poems has the curious advantage of bringing them into real proximity with what might previously have seemed remote. g guide_eng.indd 5 uide_eng.indd 5 2 24/03/05 9:49:24 4/03/05 9:49:24 The poems to which young people are exposed should be accessible, and of interest to them. They should reflect what it is to be alive today, be seen to be relevant to the modern world. We recommend that the understanding and composing of poetry be most usefully thought of as a form of play, a game with language. Pride of place should be given to the suggestive power of words. Students should be encouraged to find arresting similes and metaphors. The discovery of likeness between unlike things is at the heart of poetry. Students should be encouraged to think, as one poet described it, at an angle to the subject. To that end, students should also be encouraged to keep journals in which they make a note of striking images. They should make a note of anything out of the ordinary that occurs to them, including clever phrases, jokes, unfamiliar turns of phrase. The use of the dictionary is also to be encouraged, since an interest in the nuts and bolts of language is vital to anyone interested in understanding or composing poetry. Students should be encouraged to integrate other art forms into their attempts to compose poetry. Much may be learned from popular music, including rap, as well as painting and film. There is a close relationship between poetry and the musical and 6 visual arts. We strongly recommend the setting up of group activities, including the surrealist method whereby one person begins a poem and another continues it without seeing the previous line. This underscores the sense that poetry is an activity in which the writer gives him- or herself over to the idea of unknowing, as well as that sense of play emphasised by so many poets. It’s absolutely vital that students be exposed to contemporary poets in the classroom. Poetry must be seen as belonging to the living, rather than the safely dead. Poets, particularly those who can connect with adolescents, should be invited into the school on a regular basis. Students should also be encouraged to start poetry clubs, to publish magazines, have poetry recitals. They should feel that they have entrusted themselves to the activity of writing and reading poetry, rather than having it thrust upon them. WHY STUDENTS SHOULD BE EXPOSED TO POETRY FROM BEYOND THEIR OWN CULTURE One of the effects of poetry is to change how we look at the world. It metamorphoses readers into different beings. g guide_eng.indd 6 uide_eng.indd 6 2 24/03/05 9:49:25 4/03/05 9:49:25 This new understanding of ourselves and our environment has an influence on what we contribute to the world. In addition to better understanding ourselves, an exposure to the poetry of other cultures leads to a better understanding of those cultures. Poetry is a powerful reflection of diversity, teaching us to value the freedom to praise and criticise. One poet describes it as a powerful antidote against demons of power. Poetry encourages us not to impose authoritative interpretations but to develop individual responses, to be non-prescriptive, non-didactic. The inclination towards the non-prescriptive and the non-didactic fosters the values and attitudes, which reinforce peaceful coexistence. 7 g guide_eng.indd 7 uide_eng.indd 7 2 24/03/05 9:49:26 4/03/05 9:49:26Country of Birth/ Language NAME of Residence of response 01. AIDOO Ama Ata Ghana English 02. AL-BABTAIN Abdulaziz Kuwait Arabic 03. AL-GOSAIBI Ghazi Saudi Arabia Arabic 04. AL-HAZMI Mansour Bin Ibrahim Saudi Arabia Arabic 05. AMOA Urbain Côte-d’Ivoire French 06. ANOMA KANIE Léon-Maurice Côte-d’Ivoire French 07. ARBELECHE Jorge Uruguay Spanish 08. Asociación de Opiniones de Escritores Costa Rica Spanish 09. AZEZE Fékadé Ethiopia English 10. BLOT Jean France French 8 11. BOLAND Eavan Ireland/USA English 12. BONI Tanella Côte-d’Ivoire French 13. CADORESI Domenico Italy Italian 14. CAMARA Nangala Côte-d’Ivoire French 15. CLANCIER Georges-Emmanuel France French 16. DADIÉ Bernard Côte-d’Ivoire French 17. DAVID Sandu Romania/Israel English 18. DJELHI YAHOT Adamoh Côte-d’Ivoire French 19. FORD-SMITH Honor Canada/Jamaica English 20. GEBEYEHU Berhanu Ethiopia English 21. GENTILUOMO Paolo Italy Italian 22. GROBLI Zirignon Côte-d’Ivoire French 23. GUEVARA MIRAVAL Jaime Pablo Peru Spanish 24. HELFT Claudine France French guide_eng.indd 8 guide_eng.indd 8 2 24/03/05 9:49:27 4/03/05 9:49:27Country of Birth/ Language NAME of Residence of response 25. HELU-THAMAN Konai Tonga/Fiji English 26. ISHFAQUE Ahmad Pakistan English 27. JARAMILLO MUÑOZ Eduardo Hugo Ecuador Spanish 28. KASSAHUN Dagnachew Ethiopia English 29. KHOURY-GHATA Vénus Lebanon French 30. KISS Irén Hungary Italian 31. KONAN Nokan Côte-d’Ivoire French 32. LEVTCHEV Lubomir Bulgaria Russian 33. MIEZAN-BOGNINI Joseph Côte-d’Ivoire French 9 34. MORANDINI Luciano Italy Italian 35. MOTION Andrew United Kingdom English 36. MULDOON Paul Northern Ireland/USA English 37. SECK MBACKÉ Mame Senegal/France French 38. SILVA SANTISTEBAN Rocío Peru Spanish 39. STÉTIÉ Salah Lebanon/France French 40. VILLALTA Gian Mario Italy Italian 41. WOLDE-EYESUS Haddis Ethiopia English 42. WOLDE-SADIK Neway Ethiopia English 43. Workshop, Medellín, 1999 English Canada - DUTTON Paul English Iran - RAKEI Fatema English - Anonymous - Anonymous The Netherlands English - Anonymous Spanish 44. YIMAM Baye Ethiopia English g guide_eng.indd 9 uide_eng.indd 9 2 24/03/05 9:49:27 4/03/05 9:49:27 1. How would you like to see the purpose of poetry presented to adolescents? 2. Ho w would you want teachers to differentiate poetic 11 language from prosaic language? Are there teaching methods to stimulate the use of poetry by adolescents to express or understand thematically or emotionally diffi cult subjects? 3. How might teachers help motivate young people to visualize images created by poetic texts and cultivate attention to the use of imagery in poetic expression? 4. Ho w can teachers help students at the secondary school level use poetry to sharpen the understanding of the difference between subjective and objective perception? 5. Are there any methods used in your country of birth or residence which you personally fi nd effective for the teaching of poetry to secondary school learners which could be used equally well in other parts of the world? g guide_eng.indd 11 uide_eng.indd 11 2 24/03/05 9:49:28 4/03/05 9:49:2813 g guide_eng.indd 13 uide_eng.indd 13 2 24/03/05 9:49:32 4/03/05 9:49:32AIDOO Ama Ata (Ghana) 1. Like all artistic products, poetry offers entertainment and relaxation from work and other sources of tension. When it is very good, it offers information about other worlds - inner and outer - that we were not aware of. At its best, poetry can inspire us to be better human beings. 2. Poetry uses fewer words to represent the most verbally expansive idea, and it has, or should have, internal rhythm. 3. By getting them to use their imagination, and to develop a feel for the multi- dimensions of words. 4. To begin by asking students to try and see if they can be poets and experience whatever environments or incidents poets are conveying. 5. Parallel representations of ideas. 14 AL-BABTAIN Abdulaziz Saud (Kuwait) 1. Through the presentation of readily accessible, enjoyable selections of classical Arabic poetry. The poems selected should include immediately appealing passages that will stimulate further reading, understanding and critical appreciation, with a view to facilitating the discovery of their creative aspects. The poems selected should deal with matters within the area of interest of the target group of young people; these poems should speak to their problems sincerely and objectively and should suggest solutions to those problems, or else encourage the young people in question to seek solutions for themselves. The poems selected should be varied in terms of subject matter; they should not overemphasize social and ethical aspects while neglecting either personal, emotional aspects or the indispensable element of national feeling. 2. I find the first part of the question (“How would you want teachers to differentiate poetic language from prosaic language?”) rather strange. Teachers are hardly the appropriate target group for this particular question 0. Poetic language is differentiated from prosaic language by its musicality, rhythm, metre and rhyme. 0. The teaching method that is appropriate for making an adolescent use poetry as a form of expression consists in analysing and constructing poems, then making g guide_eng.indd 14 uide_eng.indd 14 2 24/03/05 9:49:33 4/03/05 9:49:33him/her appreciate them through the aesthetic and intellectual elements that they refl ect, in terms of both form and content. Another useful technique is the careful, conscious memorization of selected passages. By these various means, the students’ latent talents will be awakened, and they can be stimulated to use poetic language for expressive purposes, as poets themselves do. 3. By encouraging them to read the works comprising their cultural heritage, beginning with the basic sources of the Arabic language, such as the Holy Koran, followed by pre-Islamic poetry and other great works. - 4. The Arabic word for “poetry” (shi’r) is derived from the word shu’ur, meaning “feeling” or “awareness”, i.e., by defi nition, subjective perception. Once a young person or student has become thoroughly familiar with the tools of poetry, including language, musicality, metre and rhyme, and with the rules of grammar and infl ection, and has acquired an adequate grasp of his or her cultural heritage, including the language’s wealth of synonyms, these various factors will help his or her native poetic talent to grow and burgeon. In the fi rst place, the adolescent will learn to speak of his or her feelings and personal issues. This is subjective perception, which must necessarily precede objective perception, i.e. everything external to subjective perception. The student will go on from there to learn to differentiate between the two kinds of perception. 15 5. To date, I have not identifi ed any such method. However, there is an infrastructure element that may serve to underpin effective teaching methods if properly devel- oped. I refer to audio-visual Arabic poetry libraries in the form of videocassette recordings in which poetry is recited by a person with an attractive voice, with attention to grammatical correctness and expressiveness of delivery. AL-GOSAIBI Ghazi (Saudi Arabia) 1. T here are two essential conditions: one is the selection of texts that are not too inac- cessible in terms of vocabulary and terminology, and the second is that the selected texts should, in so far as possible, deal with subjects with which an adolescent student can readily identify, such as an exciting description of some kind or a human relationship. 2. This is an issue that involves more than language. Poetry is differentiated from prose by its musicality (metre) and its resonance (rhyme), in addition to its language, which should be lucid and inspiring. 2. Teachers, for their part, must be supplied with books of selections of the best of Arabic poetry, both ancient and modern. Two excellent examples are D’iwan al-shi’r - - - al-’arabi (collection of Arabic poetry), published by Adonis, and Kitab al-shi’r al-arabi - al-mu’-asir (contemporary Arabic poetry), edited by Ibrahim al-Urayyid. guide_eng.indd 15 guide_eng.indd 15 2 24/03/05 9:49:34 4/03/05 9:49:343. A person who does not possess something cannot give it to someone else: a teacher who does not fully enjoy poetic imagery will not be able to convey this pleasure to his or her pupils. What is essential in this connection is to get away from the tradi- tional word-by-word concentration on meaning, infl ection and fi gure of speech; rather, the passage should be viewed as a whole, as though it were an oil painting, and the features of that painting elucidated. 4. The teacher can do this by quoting pertinent verses, thereby developing the faculty required for the use of poetry in suitable contexts. At the diploma distribution cere- mony, for example, the teacher might quote the celebrated line of Al-Mutanabbi: “An individual cannot expect to attain everything that he or she hopes for; The winds blow not as ships would wish.” or the equally celebrated line by Shawqi: “The things that one desires will not be obtained by hoping, but the world can be won by struggle.” 5. No. 16 AL-HAZMI Mansour Bin Ibrahim (Saudi Arabia) 1. I am not sure what is meant by the expression “the purpose of poetry”; possibly this is an instance of an original text that has been incorrectly translated. However, if we take it that “the purpose of poetry” is intended to signify the goals or objectives that the poet seeks to attain through his or her poem, it is important to understand that in the age in which we live, those objectives or goals are not the same as they were in former times. I mean by this that a given passage may be read in various ways, and in the present age that is a diffi cult task, not only for young people but even for persons who are highly educated. Consequently, continuing training in the reading of modern poetry is indispensable. 2. There is no clear-cut dividing line between poetic language and prosaic language. There was a time when it could reasonably be said that the former spoke to the feelings, whereas the latter spoke to the intellect. However, the concerns of literature are not rigorous or defi nitive in the same way as the concerns of science, and in any case the present age has witnessed the appearance of what is known as the “prose poem”. In view of the extent to which literary genres have overlapped and become intermingled, we can no longer differentiate between poetry and prose as was routinely done in the classical period. 3. In my opinion, these poetic images can be brought closer to young people’s minds through extensive reading and training in understanding and appreciation, paving guide_eng.indd 16 guide_eng.indd 16 2 24/03/05 9:49:36 4/03/05 9:49:36the way for the reconstruction of the images in question by their imaginations. In the age in which we live, it may be desirable to enlist the assistance of modern tools and techniques in promoting the understanding and evaluation of complex poetic imagery via cinematography or television. 4. In my view, teachers themselves, in general, need special training before they can reasonably be expected to undertake this task successfully. At the same time, it is essential to create a suitable climate for interaction between teacher and student, and also to take advantage of extracurricular activities to make poetry something enjoyable, not merely a subject taken in school. 5. Unfortunately, no. In my considered judgement, the understanding and appreciation of literature have become so remote from today’s students that there can be no meaningful comparison between them and their predecessors of earlier generations. This may be a general situation rather than one that is specifi c to a particular country. AMOA Urbain (Côte d’Ivoire) 17 1. As suggested in our doctoral thesis entitled “Textanalyse du discours poétique. Le cas du langage tambouriné”, the work done with students of the Music Department of École Normale Supérieure has shown that the teacher has to: 1) recite the poetry out loud to make it felt; 2) make it felt so that it can be set to music and/or rewritten in dramatic form to be able to perform it. 2. They should have a thorough grounding in poetic language: the poetics of prose and the poetics of poetry. Basic principle: to understand the text and be able to grasp how it works. For methods and strategies my thesis, which can be made available if required, makes this a key objective. 3. Poetry classes, as we have been teaching them in a number of secondary schools and in the sessions run on behalf of the “Agence Intergouvernementale de la Francophonie”, are feasts: a rewriting feast – a dramatization feast – a music feast (on two levels: the search for musicality in the text, prelude to setting it to music). Poetry classes must be a prelude to a poetry recital. 4. Among the desired approaches one may include in the appreciation of poetry as art and creation. This means that the teacher needs to: 1) understand the text and be able to interpret what is unconscious in it; 2) feel; g guide_eng.indd 17 uide_eng.indd 17 2 24/03/05 9:49:37 4/03/05 9:49:373) make others feel and understand (feeling → subjectivity / understanding → objectivity). 5. The following are some of the methods that may be considered: • Reciting aloud while miming the poem • Reciting aloud with students imagining they were in place of the characters • Punctuating the recitation with songs and group participation • Having students learn the poem by staging it as a play • Producing teaching cassettes. ANOMA-KANIE Léon-Maurice (Côte-d’Ivoire) 1. We regard Poetry as the foundation and culmination of all the literary genres that provide the basis for understanding and exploring the essence of culture. A poet can therefore perfectly well be a novelist, playwright, storywriter, songwriter, etc. This is why its importance must be stressed in teaching, and why it is a mistake to remove it from school curricula. It is absolutely essential to study and teach Poetry, which is complete in itself, and to know that one is generally born a poet but may 18 sometimes become a poet through study, culture and hard work. Poetry can lead on to philosophy and science. 2. To introduce young people to poetic language, which is different from prose, to accustom them to humanize beings and things (inanimate objects, do you have a soul...? etc.). To make inanimate objects speak as if they were human, like people, and above all make others imagine what one wants to say, rather than just saying it outright. Example: The sun rises, No, this is prose. You must say, for example: Night withdraws and shines forth the day. Poetry 3. If teachers are to succeed, they must be poets themselves fi rst, love and inspire the love of poetry, then teach it. Ideally, good poets should be brought in to teach their art. This is a condition of success. Ignorance leads to the impasse in which we fi nd ourselves now. 4. A teacher should be not just educated but cultured; something that comes from much reading, cultivating the arts and personal observation, as one may be educated without being cultured or enlightened. 5. Stories – African aphorisms and proverbs. Not hesitate going into villages and encampments and listen to their inhabitants, the traditional chiefs, their many- fl avoured languages. g guide_eng.indd 18 uide_eng.indd 18 2 24/03/05 9:49:38 4/03/05 9:49:38ARBELECHE Jorge (Uruguay) 1. As a reflection of the world and humanity, grounded in both sensibility and intellect, and expressed through language. 2. The most effective way of getting through to adolescents, initially, is through the senses. The difference between poetic and prosaic language has to be a subtle one, as the language of poetry does not necessarily have to be literary and pretentious. 3. To help with the visualization of poetic images, use could be made of other disciplines such as the plastic arts, music and the use of computers. 4. They can help to establish these differences by encouraging and guiding adolescents to do creative work of their own, so that they feel the need to express themselves artistically. 5. None. By and large, as in the rest of the world, there is a prejudice against poetry, and I think it is the hardest genre to teach. 19 Asocio de Opiniones de Escritores (Costa Rica) 1. As a need to express deeply personal feelings that condense an analysis of a special situation or of existence in general. 2. Poetic language is different from prosaic language. The latter is direct and concise and defi nes precisely a situation or an aspect of it. Poetic language goes to the heart of the matter without preamble. It is like an extract of the essence of beings and situations that covers other interpretations. 3. By reading and analysing many texts. Poetry is not only for the person creating it. The beauty that emanates from it must be shared. A piece of poetry exists only if numerous readers live with it and are touched by it. Beauty is not something that I alone can feel; everybody, or at least many people, must be moved by it. Poetry is synthesis, truth, beauty. And most of all, the beauty of the word, not only its form but also, especially, its content. 4. Like any verbal expression, poetry needs to be comprehensible, not by the intellect, but by the emotions. It should be read and perceived as feelings captured through words, emerging so that it reaches the soul of the adult or of the listener. It is not only a question of using the right language. It is the combination of words and ideas that transcends into beauty; content that goes beyond language, which can be beautiful, nonetheless. Language should be kneaded until it produces the exact poetic feeling. guide_eng.indd 19 guide_eng.indd 19 24/03/05 9:49:39 24/03/05 9:49:39What should not be done is to produce a confusing and incomprehensible language that leaves behind no ideas or feelings. Thus, simplicity of expression is the most appropriate language to transcribe the beauty that poetry should enfold. 5. Not particularly. The ideal method, however, is reading and writing poetic texts. Students must be allowed to express feelings, evoking and experiencing situa- tions that have an emotional impact. A landscape, a night of full moon, a sunset, a flock of birds, a delightful song, a fine action, etc. are situations with which young people need to connect, so that they are awakened to that poetic world which all human beings have inside them, even though some are better able to express it than others. After writing a poem or poetic text, the author should always be asked to read it several times over so that he can refine the language. That there be no wasted words, no unnecessary repetition of the same ideas or feelings. 20 AZEZE Fékadé (Ethiopia) 1. I generally believe that literature can be one of the tools of those who like to think that the teaching of short, beautiful poems written in simple language but dealing with various subjects and issues of serious concern to mankind, will contribute a great deal in shaping the personality of the young the world over. Bringing back poetry (literature in general) to secondary schools, colleges and universities with reasonably good dosages will, I hope, clear the way in for sanity and the way out for Rambo, Kunfu and violence from the minds of youth. 2. There is no other way that I can think of, apart from using illustrative texts for both. Of course, starting with simple texts and gradually upgrading them to more complex ones would be ideal. This, however, is easier said than done. To stimulate the use of poetry by adolescents to express or understand thematically or emotionally difficult subjects: 1) select poets using simple words and images from daily lives of people rather than those poets using intellectual imagery (Greek, Roman, Biblical myths and legends, etc.); 2) discuss the poem at hand, starting with the title before reading it; 3) let the teacher discuss the theme of the poem or the subject of it before reading the poem in class. I have found this method rewarding while teaching Amharic poems. 3. There are lots of images used in everyday conversation. What often goes for prose is not exactly what it appears to be. There are many images and metaphors used in g guide_eng.indd 20 uide_eng.indd 20 2 24/03/05 9:49:40 4/03/05 9:49:40everyday parlance. Teachers should, I think, pay more attention to these than they have done so far. Collecting these and citing them as examples illustrating the use of imagery in daily life routines would be a good start. Another way of motivating young people is encouraging them to memorise short, simple, beautiful and deep poems. This, I think, helps them to develop a sense of rhythm and appreciation of poetry. Moreover, teaching poetry should be taken as teaching about life: beauty, ugliness, death, values, war, drought, etc. Making it dry and too academic (talking about metres, etc.) is generally repulsive to young students. It will be more rewarding if teaching poetry means teaching how to feel, how to understand the way others feel and live, and how to create a balance between the multitude of feelings around us. 4. This is a good question. The problem is rampant among our students generally, irrespective of their field of specialisation. Therefore it has to be tackled as a general problem of perception. Poetry can, in a way, contribute towards the alleviation of this problem. The key 21 solution lies in the competence of the teacher who selects, discusses and explains the right texts that serve as good examples for the issue under consideration. Of course, preparing textbooks could be envisaged by UNESCO and its experts. 5. I am sure every teacher has his own methods. I don’t remember the time we discussed this issue publicly. BLOT Jean (France) 1. As the expression of life itself, a spontaneous leap of language. The way of saying what words cannot capture. The world of their inmost heart. As what adults still retain of childhood. 2. As the opposite of syntactical Order. Of the dictatorship of official language. As a game – a liberation. Write anything, anyhow 3. Video: show a film about the Albatross. Read: the poem The cicada and the ant… Tell them to look carefully at a tree, a cloud. Ask them to draw what they have seen in a poem. Stress the natural surprise of the right metaphor. g guide_eng.indd 21 uide_eng.indd 21 2 24/03/05 9:49:42 4/03/05 9:49:42

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