Poetic Discoveries

I hesitantly stepped into the classroom designated for the following hour and fifteen minutes to Intro to Poetry. I had heard many things about the professor, all praise. This would be my first of two class periods with him; later would come Poetry Workshop.

My professor spent a good portion of the first class period trying to make us decipher what was going on in Theodore Roethke’s Child on Top of a Greenhouse. He asked a lot of questions, like where exactly is the child? We know he’s on top of the greenhouse, but what is he doing up there? After a while, guesses voiced from here and there – some close, some far from the mark – he proceed to demonstrate the way a boy would balance along the beams with the wind pushing against him, the light reflecting on the glass around his feet, daring him to slip.

Rather than simply providing the answer, he was guiding us as students to discover it. I admired him for that. I walked out of that class assured that this was a professor who knew how to teach.

I had always harbored an interest in poetry, but the only kind I felt I was any good at was internal rhyme – and although I still prefer it, I have learned that there is so much more to this written medium than I had previously thought. As far as reading between the lines, I might as well have been asked to fix a carburetor in a vehicle, not even knowing where that was located! (I have since educated myself.) I learned what to look for and how to piece those tiny hidden gold mines together.

It matters what a poem looks like on the page, how you pronounce the words and which are emphasized when one reads it, the words that are chosen, the originality of concepts and the means used to express them. A poem is not a series of lines on a page meant to confuse. Rather, it was created with the intent to make the reader consider, experience, and connect.

Every class is an adventure, and I never leave without having learned something invaluable to harbor in my sponge of a brain to utilize at a later time. I had no idea when I signed up just how much Intro to Poetry would reinforce Poetry Workshop and vice versa. With the guidance of my professor and the text and assignments he chose, I fell in love with poetry.

No, that statement creates an omission. Correction: I am still falling.

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