Yes, I am given to dramatic and grand statements, aren’t I? I actually doubt that I will save the teaching of poetry in schools, as my rather melodramatically inclined mind, has as I’ve grown older, become accustomed to reality. However, I have been thinking a lot about the teaching of poetry in schools. Claire Askew over at One Night Stanzas regularly links to articles she’s found on the web and in the press about poetry and quite a lot recently they have been bemoaning the teaching of poetry in schools. The general jist of any comment on this subject will say that the teaching is…
- Over analytical
- Taught by people who are afraid of poetry
- In no way contemporary
In essence any life and vitality in the poetry is gradually cut out and examined bit by bit, which only leaves you with a dead poem. A teaching method probably more suited to the biology lab than the English classroom.
So my remedy, is that every Local Authority should hire a Poet in Residence. As well as working in libraries and other local services the Poet in Residence would also go round all the local schools on a regular basis and teach poetry. What could be a more enthusiastic promoter of poetry than someone trying to sell their book, and keep a job? Of course some Local Authorities are larger than others, some might need two poets, but that would be for them to work out.
Now, all we need, is for someone to find the money….