Finding interesting poems for my son who is NOT into reading poems

Discussion in 'Middle School / Junior High' started by anna9868, Feb 3, 2016.

  1. anna9868

    anna9868 Habitué

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    Feb 3, 2016

    Yesterday, I happened to learn that my son is learning poetry at LA class. It's challenging to get things from him, so I consider myself lucky every time I learn something about his school. He is 7th, btw

    here is how our conversation went:
    "Did you read any poetms yet?"
    "Not yet", he said, "but I know it's going to be boring!"
    "oh yes, what do you think so?"
    "Because all poems are boring!"
    "What if I read you some interesting poems?"
    "I know you mom! How can you read me interesting poems!"

    So, here it's a challenge! I cannot pass it!

    However, I don't really know many poems myself, especially in English (our native language is Russian) And I only started reading poems a couple of years ago myself.

    Can someone recommend some poems that may be interesting to read for a very non-typical 13-year old teenager who is into computers, programming and video games.
     
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  3. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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  4. anna9868

    anna9868 Habitué

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    thanks for the website. I took a look at those poems. They do seem to be "the standard" poems, that my son who is NOT into poetry would say "Yea, it's boring. Just like I thought they would be"

    I wonder if there is a selection of poetry somewhere which is more "down to earth" so to speak. That would be closer to the modern age teenagers
     
  5. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    My kids really liked a TED Talk by this guy: http://poetali.com/

    We also do a lesson where we compare a poem by Tupac with a poem by William Blake. Tupac has a beautiful book of poetry.

    I also show a documentary about slam poetry.

    I'm surprised you couldn't find relevant poems on Poetry Out Loud. All of my students were able to find a poem to relate to to memorize and recite for our Poetry Out Loud competition. Maybe if you show him the videos of the teenagers reciting the poems he'd be more into it?
     
  6. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Shel Silverstein had written tons of hilarious poems...if he's into comedy, he might get a kick out of some of them. Many are written in a unique fashion in terms of their shape, too, which might be something he might enjoy doing on a computer - fashioning his own poem into its own "shape" / format on the page.
     
  7. anna9868

    anna9868 Habitué

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    oh yes, I remember reading his poems. They ARE unique. I only read his poems for kids, but I guess he wrote for older audience as well, Thanks for suggestion!
     
  8. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Yeah, that would be the one downside - that they perhaps are a bit "younger" at times. That being said, it'd make for good opportunities to analyze the poems and use them as a "model text". I teach upper elementary, and we use pictures books pretty often as mentor/model texts.
     
  9. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    What kind of music does he like? Unfortunately a lot of today's music's lyrics is garbage, but there are quite a few songs that are great poems (I used to love heavy metal and still find their lyrics really good)
     
  10. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Has your son read any of Billy Collins's poems? http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/another-reason-why-i-don-t-keep-a-gun-in-the-hou/

    Tell him for me that writing poetry is like writing really elegant, compact code: the words that are there are words that the poem can't do without and still work. One difference is that, with code, each device that runs the code will execute it the same way and get the same result, but each human brain brings much more processing power and much more memory (in your choice of senses) to the table than each device does. Language launches a dazzling variety of subroutines; many are shared and/or part of the cultures in which the poet writes and in which the writer reads, and this is why it makes sense to expect some convergence in different people's analyses of one poem - but some subroutines are unique to the individual, and this is why it makes sense to expect one reader to pick up this detail and another to notice that nuance.

    A good poem is not a fast read: for best results, it needs to be read aloud, or read as though it's being read aloud. In this case, anna, I recommend a little bit of a cheat: show him the Collins poem, and ask him to read it for you so you can hear how it should sound.
     
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  11. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Is this a unit of reading or writing for your son? If reading are there required responses? Outside teaching, if hazard a guess that most don't read or write poetry. Don't force it on him. Most likely he's getting enough exposure at school.
     
  12. anna9868

    anna9868 Habitué

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    WOW, that's is so well said, TeacherGroupie! And I can really appreciate it since I was computer science as an undergrad!

    I'll definitely read him your explanation, he is bound to like it.
    I found some interesting poems by Collins. Especially the one called Forgetfullness is bound to strike a cord

    thanks for great ideas!
     
  13. anna9868

    anna9868 Habitué

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    ah, that's an interesting approach! I myself don't really read poems, but like to sing along my favorite singers and remember the words of the songs eventually.

    I'll need to find out, Dennis is not really a big music listnener.
     
  14. Francess Silveria

    Francess Silveria Rookie

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    For the down-to-earth, realist kid, I usually would start with Langston Hughes. If they're REALLY reluctant, I'd start with something like Ground Swell by Mark Jarman. I think you can still find it on the Academy of American Poets site.
     
  15. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    Nothing to add here except extreme amusement that this thread is directly below the thread about a teacher being fired for a controversial poem.

    I love the poetry/code analogy, TG; that's brilliant.
     
  16. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Thanks, mollydoll! The wonderful thing with that analogy is how it grew as I thought about it: shedding not only the bit of light I originally had in mind but additional refulgences. That's what I love about theories, too.

    And, ah, juxtapositions... Some A to Z threads a while back used to memorialize consecutive thread titles that struck some members' funny bones. There were a few eyebrow-raising combinations, as I recall.
     
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  17. phillyteacher

    phillyteacher Comrade

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    Is he into sports at all? There is a great book called "The Crossover" by Kwame Alexander that is in verse.
     
  18. Aussiegirl

    Aussiegirl Habitué

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    The Newbery medal winning book A Joyful Noise is always a hit in class - especially with the boys. The poems are meant to be read by two people or groups. The kids have to be in synch and in rhythm for it to work, but they have fun figuring that out. You and your son could have a blast with it.
     

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