Unleashing Poetry

poetryy

Are you afraid of poetry? Have you always been told that “good” poetry is made up of difficult words, enigmatic literary devices? Have you always thought that you won’t ever be able to write a poem?

If the answer to the above questions is YES, welcome on board.  Today I will prove you that POETRY can be fun, that POETRY is about YOU, it is about US, so we can approach it and we cannot escape it.  We can write POETRY for different reasons: to have fun with words, to express our feeling and to speak up and have our own say.  POETRY can aim at consoling, at entertaining, but it can also aim at awakening people’s conscience, making others see your point about things that are meaningful to you and that you feel the urge to share with others.

In pairs answer these questions:

What does poetry mean to you?  Is it something you are passionate about?

Do you think it can change lives?

Does it make people think about issues or look at the world in a new way?

Is it fun?  Do you enjoying playing with words and images?

These quotations may help you clarify what poetry is to you.  Which quotation is closer to your idea of poetry or of the role of the poet?

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Dis poetry
© Benjamin Zephaniah (http://benjaminzephaniah.com/)

Dis poetry is like a riddim dat drops
De tongue fires a riddim dat shoots like shots
Dis poetry is designed fe rantin
Dance hall style, big mouth chanting,
Dis poetry nar put yu to sleep
Preaching follow me
Like yu is blind sheep,
Dis poetry is not Party Political
Not designed fe dose who are critical.
Dis poetry is wid me when I gu to me bed
It gets into me dreadlocks
It lingers around me head
Dis poetry goes wid me as I pedal me bike
I’ve tried Shakespeare, respect due dere
But did is de stuff I like.

Dis poetry is not afraid of going ina book
Still dis poetry need ears fe hear an eyes fe hav a look
Dis poetry is Verbal Riddim, no big words involved
An if I hav a problem de riddim gets it solved,
I’ve tried to be more romantic, it does nu good for me
So I tek a Reggae Riddim an build me poetry,
I could try be more personal
But you’ve heard it all before,
Pages of written words not needed
Brain has many words in store,
Yu could call dis poetry Dub Ranting
De tongue plays a beat
De body starts skanking,
Dis poetry is quick an childish
Dis poetry is fe de wise an foolish,
Anybody can do it fe free,
Dis poetry is fe yu an me,
Don’t stretch yu imagination
Dis poetry is fe de good of de Nation,
Chant,
In de morning
I chant
In de night
I chant
In de darkness
An under de spotlight,
I pass thru University
I pass thru Sociology
An den I got a dread degree
In Dreadfull Ghettology.

Dis poetry stays wid me when I run or walk
An when I am talking to meself in poetry I talk,
Dis poetry is wid me,
Below me an above,
Dis poetry’s from inside me
It goes to yu
WID LUV.

I find inspiration everywhere – in everyday things that happen to me, in things that happen to others, and in the issues that I feel strongly about. I even look for inspiration in my dreams, and I have to confess I have got lots of ideas when overhearing people talking on the bus! (Benjamin Zephaniah)

Zephaniah uses poetry to comment on the world around him and to say things which are close to his heart. Often it is about politics and the barriers of culture and race in society. He writes to give voice to the breaching of human rights as well as animal rights.

What are the issues that are dear to you? What are the topics you would like to investigate? To write about?

In pairs jot down a few topics.

poetic-pen

Now let’s start with this:

Title:
Name:

This poem is like a ……………………………….
The tongue fires a …………………………………
This poem is designed…………………………….
This poem …………………………………………
Preaching follow me
Like you is ………………………………………….
This poem is not …………………………………..
Not designed for those who are……………………..
This poem is with me when I………………………
It gets into me………………………………………
It lingers around…………………………………….
This poetry goes with me as I ……………………..
I’ve tried……………………………………………
But this is…………………………………………..

(source: loosely based on http://www.channel4learning.com)

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