“Poetry is a window, a way to see inside” (H. Wallace 1). When we study poetry, we discern our inner world and speak into the outer world words that shape history. We follow in the footsteps of master poets who teach us how to play with words to evoke deep emotion, provoke action, and invoke observation. Studying these eloquent wordsmiths will sharpen students’ skills with observation, description, and academic expression.
Poetry study ignites creative observation.
When I teach poetry, I invite students to look and listen, and then I ask them to explain and engage. There is no right or wrong when analyzing poetry– only the impetus to dive deep and discover treasure. Discussing Haiku for example teaches students to observe nature and connect the physical to the emotional in seventeen syllables. Not an easy task. When students hear and see the beauty of this art form and then replicate it, they are amazed at what they can create and energized by the power of words.
Poetry inspires students to use words well and wisely.
Once students experience the insights poetry can teach them and begin to play with words, they are ready to use poetic tools in academic essays to descriptively capture the world around them and speak into great conversations about subjects which can move others to action. History proves that one story can change the course of a country like Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin. One letter can indelibly capture the heart of a revolution like Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” Poetry teaches the power of words. Once students understand that power, a student essay can educate, inform, and transform a generation. Wise learners will use that power to write and speak for the glory of God.
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight, Lord, my rock and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14 NASB
Amy Wallace is a homeschool mom of three with two brilliant homeschool graduates- yes, it can be done! Her oldest daughter is in graduate school at The Medical University of South Carolina, studying for her PhD, and her second daughter attends Anderson University, studying for the ministry. Amy is still happily homeschooling a fantastic high schooler. Amy earned a Bachelor of Science in Counseling and Guidance from the University of Louisville (Go CARDS!) and regularly applied her degree to writing Dark Chocolate Suspense—high-action suspense that delved deep into heart issues—for Random House/ Multnomah and Harvest House Publishers. Her counseling degree also comes in handy when homeschooling, speaking, and teaching numerous English and writing courses..
Amy’s heart is to share her passion for writing and English to inspire young people to think deeply and learn how to use their words well and wisely. She endeavors to make her classes a safe place where mistakes are opportunities to learn in an environment infused with fun because she believes what students enjoy learning they remember.