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June 09, 2006

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Susan thanks so much for sharing that - it's a keeper ! It sums up so well the attitude that children and young people (and some adults too) have to poetry; an attitude that drives me crazy as a poetry lover, but must drive living poets even crazier ! In another life, I moderate a World War One poetry discussion forum, and if I had a pound for every student who had posted asking what poem X means, I'd be able to quit my day job and take to writing full time ! My response is always "What do YOU think it means? Tell us and we'll discuss your ideas with you." Which invariably meets with a stony silence (if I'm lucky; if I'm unlucky it provokes a storm of abuse !)

You're welcome, Michele! When I was in school (before university), the approach to poetry was to overanalyze meter, rhyme scheme, and Meaning...talk about not fostering a love for the form! At last when I was fifteen or sixteen, I had a teacher who made literature come alive and seem like fun. Thank goodness!

I somehow didn't study much poetry in school, despite doing English up to the age of 16, so I got to discover its magic for myself in my 20s and have been a poetry "nut" ever since...

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