When I was growing up, I hated poetry. It didn’t interest me and it made zero sense. In reality, the only kind of poems that I was introduced to were poems written by people like William Shakespeare.
Now don’t get me wrong here, I believe there is a time and a place for poetry like that. But it never has been a place of inspiration for me.
When I read, I want to feel inspired. I want to feel like someone just took the words straight out of my heart and placed them down on paper far better than I ever could. That’s when I learned about poetry that could lure me in and hold me for hours.
When I work with students now, I try to find poets that write in a way that feels present, relevant, and honest but in a way that also provides a sense of hope.
Recently I came across the author Tanner Olson (who goes by @WrittenToSpeak on social media). I was so deeply moved by many of his graphics or blog posts he would share. Then I bought his book I’m All Over the Place, and immediately fell in love.
Tanner writes in a way that tugs at my heart, expresses my complicated thoughts, but also links in hope. "To" is one poem that demonstrates this well; it is worth sharing with students!
When working with students sometimes there is just immense power in showing a poem and asking how it makes our students feel. Allow them to express those feelings within their own writing, an artistic rendering, or even verbally expressing it. But most importantly? Making sure you, the teacher, share how it tugged at your own heartstrings. What memories or emotions did it bring up for you? Be vulnerable, be honest, be real.