How to Teach Poetry in English Teaching poetry in English can be a challenging endeavor but also one of great reward. A teacher must have a clear understanding of the language and a strong sense of creativity and imagination to foster an environment of engagement and appreciation. For starters, practice reciting poems together as a class. Introduce students to the work of renowned poets or to the basic structures of poetry. Demonstrate the sounds of the language, variations in meter and the impact that both the spoken and written form can have. When introducing students to new poems, take time to talk about the author and the context of the poem. Analyze the structure of the poem, involving students in the analysis. Be sensitive to their opinions as most students generally appreciate being included as part of the learning process. Classifying and categorizing poetry into various genres is another way to engage students. Write a list of attributes or themes common in each genre on the board, then guide the students to journal or compose a poem based on these attributes or themes. If the students have trouble getting started, give them a prompt or phrase to ignite their inspiration. Allow students to express their ideas in a variety of ways. In addition to the traditional paper and pencil writing, allow them to talk about, act out, perform or rap their poems. This can be done in front of the class, via podcasts, in a drama circle, on the internet, with puppets or in the creation of art on a topic the poem expressed. Story Poem Have the students create a story poem with the same idea of reciting the poems. Set up a scene in which the students can give a brief narrative. Ask them to structure the poem according to the events that occur. Invite them to play with words, using metaphors and allusions to get across a sense of rhythm. Similes, Metaphors and Symbols Similes and metaphors are the building blocks of poetry. Ask students to work together to brainstorm a list of similes and metaphors in their poem. Then compare and contrasts these figures of speech, and what they suggest to the reader. Talk about how symbols and imagery can be used as powerful tools in writing. Word Games Word games engage students in exploring language. Have students assemble words together in a heap, then exchange words with a partner to create a poem. They can also compete against one another trying to come up with the most creative poem from the words in the heap. Group Discussion After reading a poem, brainstorm a list of words which characterize the poem. Ask students to consider the emotions of the poem as a group and make associations between the different elements of the poem, particularly if you are discussing a longer poem. This helps to strengthen the understanding of the poem, to look for the underlying feelings of the poem and the various interpretations it can have. Exploring Surrealism Explore surrealism with students. Ask the students to discuss the peculiar elements in the poem and the poems purpose or meaning. Use the poem as a form of personal expression, which the students can use to delve deep into their own emotions and decipher life’s ambiguities. Rhyme and Meter Rhyme and meter are powerful tools in poetry. Introduce students to the structures of these forms, examine the pairing of consonance and assonance and ask them to create original verse of their own. Talk about the different techniques being used to modify the rhythm and analyze why certain words are chosen and the impact they bring to the poem. Forms of Poetry Introduce students to the various forms of poetry and how each poem is crafted. Discuss the meanings and their interpretations, talk about the different ways to write about the same ideas and how to craft a poem that conveys the emotion intended. Integrating Technology Encourage the integration of technology in the classroom. Introduce the students to websites that focus on the craft of poetry and best practices in writing. Look for podcasts and videos on poetic figures that can help the students to gain a better understand of the language and the craft.