Welcome to today’s tip in my month-long Poetry Tips for Teachers series.
Tip #17: Give a line some space.
One approach to reading poems aloud is to do a slight pause at the end of each line, whether there is punctuation there or not. That’s the identifying factor of poetry, after all. Poets break their language into lines instead of just writing until they run out of space on the page/screen. Again, this isn’t the ONLY way to read a poem, but it’s a valid approach. It helps you give each line room to breathe and focus on the words. Sometimes you’ll find different meanings and nuances in the line on its own (as opposed to considering it as part of the poem as a whole) that add something to your understanding or interpretation of the poem. Or you’ll notice syllable counts in a new way. Or you’ll see a pattern that didn’t announce itself on a more fluid reading. Other times, it just makes you realize that certain words are stronger or weaker or have a different context. Give it a try, especially with free verse or other non-rhyming poems like the one I’ll share below. Don’t expect revelations with every poem (including the one below)–just add it to your poetry-reading repertoire. Sometimes it will pay off in interesting ways!
Now, for my 15 Words or Less writers–and anybody else who would like to join in–it’s another 15 Words or Less flashback to 2007!
Wake up your poetry brains with 15 Words or Less (guidelines here)!
Here’s my?first draft.
And here I am reading it aloud, exaggerating the line breaks.
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Now it’s your turn! Have fun and stick to 15 WORDS OR LESS!??(Title doesn’t count toward word count:>)?