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Why Even Poetry? Why We Teach and Study Poetry

It’s Friday. 2:55. The sky a granite-grey as the heft of the clouds seem to throw themselves into your classroom. You’ve just spent 45 minutes teaching, exploring, discussing a poem. In fact, not just any poem, but a great poem. A beautiful poem. Heaney’s ‘Blackberry-Picking’. Mid-sentence you notice a hand shoot up from the corner... Continue Reading →

On Modelling Interpretative Vulnerability

The disciplinary disposition of English is one of possibility, exploration, and ambiguity. We write to explore an interpretation and to persuade our reader of it validity, but, always, with a clear sense it is just one of many ways we could understand that image, line or text. The epistemological horizon of English Literature as a... Continue Reading →

Resonant Reading: A Poetry Reading Strategy

Before outlining this strategy to help students to encounter and explore a poem, first a question: when teaching poetry, what is the appropriate weight to give to our own interpretation of the poem? I think this is a really interesting question. Presumably, before we teach a poem we read and think about it first, perhaps... Continue Reading →

Would It Be Different If…

I’m currently working my way through an excellent series of Massolit lectures by John McRae that looks at unseen poetry. They’re great, really useful for teachers preparing unseen poetry, with lots of excellent choices and ways of framing an encounter with them. However, I’ve been especially struck by a question John McRae asks across several... Continue Reading →

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