Save our Gem, Poetry

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I’ve been writing this blog for quite a while. I’m blessed to be able to share my views with you blog readers every week with your unwavering support. While my blog remains a decent popularity among youngsters, I couldn’t help feeling disappointed when noticing POETRY, my all-time-favorite text type, is dying out of sorts among students in recent years. So, I’d like to take this opportunity to share my views about poems in this very entry.

I think the reason why poems are not appealing to students is that pupils are not exposed to poetry frequently enough. In HK, students are always asked to read newspaper to enrich their ideas of social issues, required to read the mundane textbooks to expand their vocabulary ‘bank’ when it comes to learning English. Sadly but true, poems are considered as rather less important by schools, and therefore, not taught in depth or introduced in the early stage of schooling. As a result, students do not understand the poetic devices used in poems. They lack the knowledge and ability to appreciate them, which in turn lowers their interests in reading poetry.

I do understand that sometimes it’s really difficult to have the insight to understand comprehensively and thoroughly what the poet is trying to express but that doesn’t mean poems are of no use at all. In fact, poetic devices like simile and metaphor are very powerful when it comes to expressing one’s feelings and thoughts. Have doubts? Take a look at these two sentences.

1. I’m very sad, frustrated and feeling destroyed.
2. I’m a crumpled piece of paper lying here due to sadness.

Which one gives you a more vivid and stronger impression of how sad the person feels? Yes, you’re right. Sentence No. 2 used metaphor and it’s an excellent technique to leave readers a strong impression of feelings you intend to express. It’s like the image would burn into the back of your mind. (Another poetic device used!^^) Through reading poems, students would certainly come across many similar sentences and only by learning from them will they be able to express feelings through words more accurately, powerfully and vividly.

So now you know how frustrated I’m to realize poetry being the least popular text type among students. You might ask, ‘So what can be done?’

Well, from my point of view, schools definitely play a major role to turn this around. To promote poetry, teachers could add poems in the teaching materials and explain them verse by verse. It would be a good idea to ask students to read poems and jot down sentences they think are worth learning. So doing can train their sensitivity to poetic devices and feelings expressed by the poets. Through repeatedly exploring and learning, students would be more familiar with poetry, and eventually more interested in poems.

Also, schools could encourage students to write their very own short ‘masterpieces’ weekly to further consolidate what they’ve learnt from poetry. This can culture students’ habit of expressing their feelings using poetic devices, and again train their sensitivity to them. Also, students could personally experience the joy of creating poems and hence making poems more appealing to them.

It’s my hope that students can realize how much fun and joy poems can offer, rather than dumping this precious literature legacy.