Poetic Power: Poetry defines limits of expression

For the final installment of NaPoWriMo 2017, we’ll be talking about why poetry is important and how it has influenced the hearts of many.

Poetry is a way to understand how language and symbols work together. It’s a worthy expression of emotion, deep feelings and aesthetics, or just a sense of how beautiful the world around us is. As an expression of emotion, it’s very important that we keep poetry units in our schools and in the lives of students.

Since poetry in all of it’s forms defines the limits of the English language, it’s perfect for English language learners. Poems are written all around the world, and so it’s not hard to find poems in their first language and then the translated counterpart. Also, because of the broken up format sometimes used in poetry, language learners can find their voices and ways to express themselves with whatever level of the English vocabulary they’ve acquired.

Poetry also helps us know each other as a community. Poems are written on any given topic and can be used as introduction tools or storytelling tools of our past.

Using metaphors, similes, hyperboles and other figurative language tools helps us paint our lives on paper with words and tell our original stories. For students who normally wouldn’t open up in classroom discussion or reach out to others, poetry creates a new platform of expressing feelings and opinions they have.

In literature classes, it’s hard to find ways to refine and practice speaking and listening, often overlooked important English skills needed for college, but poetry covers that intersection with spoken word, slam and beat poetry. It gives students opportunities to write their original works, and then share them verbally with the class. This gives the students watching a chance to listen and comprehend what the performer’s message is.

When read aloud, poetry can be rhythm, music, sounds and beats. Young children may not understand all the words and stanzas, but they will feel the beats and patterns in the performance of it, and try to replicate it as well.

Poetry is the most kinesthetic of all types of literature. It’s physical, and raw; it activates your heart and soul.

We need poetry. In schools, in the community, online and performed. Poetry promotes literacy, builds community, breaks language barriers and fosters emotional resilience. Bring a little poetry into your home, classroom, community and life. You won’t regret it.

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