Bringing poetry alive for students

Bringing poetry alive for students

Over the years, poetry as an aesthetic literary and art form has become the forte of the few people who are genuinely interested in the subject. Of late, it is only the student community which gets to read poetry because it is a part of their syllabus.

Since they “study” poetry, they have been distracted from the joys of enjoying the verses as they are expected to memorise them or peruse the same with the view of answering questions on them in their examinations.

The best efforts of a passionate teacher sometimes leaves a lasting impression of some verses in the minds of students, but it is common knowledge that due to time constraints, the vast syllabus and the pressure of doing well in the more “important subjects” wean the occasional poetry lover effectively away from the realms of verse. It is indeed no wonder, that we have so few poets among our contemporaries and for that matter we do not have as many readers of poetry either.

It is indeed a matter of irony to note that the little kids who were initiated into the world of rhymes when they were tiny tots are now steadily being lead away from the same as they go to higher classes. The pleasure of reciting lines of verse from memory in a singsong way and understanding them at leisure several years later has been the exclusive personal experience of every one of us who has been through the customary educational procedure.

It is a proven fact that poetry has a way of influencing the “mind’s eye” sooner or later when one spends enough time mulling over them at leisure. The verses which work their way into our sub-conscience and have an uncanny way of popping up at times when they are least expected to do so decades after they have been learnt to clear examinations. Such is the power of poetry which has stood the test of time with its universally appealing content.

Today, the scenario has changed, technology has entered the portals of poetry writing, but it is really doubtful whether software assisted poetry writing can match the human effort as the technical version clearly lacks the human touch. The responsibility of evoking the latent poetic spirit in students squarely lies on the educational system.

It is true that our syllabus includes a few quality poems relevant to the age group to be taught in every semester but we must go beyond that. Teachers must be allowed more time to bring out the charm of the age and the work to their young audience.

Competitions in poetry writing, couplet completion, poetry appreciation, translation and recitation should be held in all languages to bring forth the dormant abilities among the budding poets in schools and colleges. The media can be roped in to showcase the bright young minds and encourage them to pursue this august fine art in a large scale at the regional or national level.

If this idea clicks, it will not be long before we find the common man discussing eclectic poetry and in bargain we can look forward to live in a more idyllic society where sensibility and sensitivity hold hands even as the dreamy-eyed smile vaguely when they reminiscence a clever verse laced with poignancy.

Poetry appreciation tips

* Many famous poems and ballads have already been set to music and sometimes have been adapted by theatre and cinema. Students can be encouraged to set music for the poems in their syllabus. Since most poetry in just about any language can be set to tune, a competition of sorts on the subject will elicit the musical quality of poems.

* Mythological, literary, historical allusions among others can be elaborated by narrating stories, which can help the poem to come alive. Watching movies, plays or slideshows on the subject can lead to better understanding.

* Classical poetry indulges in word painting. Good artists can be encouraged to illustrate the idea on hard or soft canvass. Did you know that Raja Ravi Verma drew inspiration for some of his famous paintings from the plays of Kalidasa? n Use of metaphysical wit, archaic language, figures of speech, metrical implications can be discussed with older students

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