My daughter turned 14 years of age earlier this year and as with many students in the high school years, her days are very full. Besides her lessons at home, she is studying the cello at a level which requires about 6 hours of practice per week and she swims in a competition squad for 8 hours a week. From what I’ve observed, many other home educated children are in similar circumstances with a variety of similar or other commitments.
So why include the study Poetry? What use is it? Isn’t it one of those ‘enrichment’ subjects that aren’t really necessary; just a fancy add on and reserved for those kids who are into that type of thing?
Something to consider:
‘…your days are long and crammed with obligation and information and technology. You are at risk for thinking that this is knowledge. Poetic knowledge insists that beauty and truth can’t be separated. It reminds us that the rational alone will not take us to full knowledge and that we should be astonished by what is true.’
The Art of Poetry is a Poetry Curriculum but what it also does admirably is to give a beautifully articulated defence for the need of poetry in our lives, no matter what our age.
‘Poetry acknowledges something deep within our nature…’
This curriculum was written for students in the 7th to 10th Grade and includes an anthology of 39 poems from well-known and lesser known poets.
There are 16 Chapters each having a short anthology of poems with a variety of discussions questions, followed by an activity section and quiz at the end of the chapter. The activity section has a wide scope of options for students. My daughter loves drawing and enjoyed some of the more creative ideas for mixing poetry with art. Students who prefer writing, reciting, or acting, will also find plenty of ideas here.
There are three main sections in the text:
1) Elements of Poetry – eight chapters discussing Images, Metaphor, Symbols, Word, Sound, Rhythm, Shape, and Tone.
2) The Formal History of Poetry – seven chapters covering the History of Form, Verse Forms, Shaping Forms, A Case Study in Form, Open Verse, A Case Study in Open Verse, and Narrative Poems.
3) Application – a section on growing your interest in poetry with suggestions such as starting a poetry group, finding mentors, and a range of other ideas.
Three Appendices include short biographies of the poets covered in The Art of Poetry; planning ideas, a glossary of terms, bibliography, timeline, and quizzes.
A few timetable options are suggested: an intense month long unit; spreading the curriculum out over the year – two sections per month; or expanding it out over several years.
‘Educating the imagination is an important aspect of studying poems.’
* A good variety of poems are studied
* The chapter introductions are just beautifully written (the quotations in this post were taken from the text)
* There is an emphasis on reciting and memorisation
* The activities have a mixture of analytical and creative suggestions
* The course is taught by a poet who obviously loves her subject
* It is very adaptable and could also be used for Mother Culture!
* There is so much content in this curriculum that it could overwhelm at first sight. In fact, the author specifically says in her introduction not to let it do this.
* Depending on the student, they may not be ready for the more analytical aspects of the curriculum.
If a student hasn’t had much exposure to poetry before, I’d suggest concentrating more on appreciating the various poems the author presents, reading them aloud, and covering the section ‘The Elements of Poetry.’
The author reminds us that poetry can communicate before it is understood. Keeping that in mind takes the pressure off so that we can enjoy studying aspects of poetry and return to a lesson later on to look at it in a more analytical way.
Appendix C has a simplified plan on Page 252 that summarize some practices to help initiate you into the world of poetry.
For those following a Charlotte Mason method of education, I’m using this in Year 9 of Ambleside Online.
Classical Academic Press kindly provided me with a free copy of The Art of Poetry Curriculum for review purposes and what I wrote above is my honest opinion.
For further information:
Art of Poetry samples at Classical Academic Press
14 thoughts on “Review of The Art of Poetry: Classical Academic Press”
I own this curriculum and am tempted to go through it myself. Great review, Carol and wonderful quotes, as always!
Hi Cleo, I listened to one of the Classical Homeschool Podcasts recently where they interviewed Vigen Guroian on the moral imagination. He mentioned poetry & art as being avenues for 'tending the heart of virtue.' I know that poetry has had a large influence in my own life & reading through this curriculum has been very refreshing. It's so full of very quotable passages it was hard to cull for this review!
The blue wren illustration is so lovely!
I agree with your points about poetry. It is so important in so many ways. It really does change our relationship to language. In acway, it transforms the way we think. I myself need to read more poetry.
Anne, it's one of my favourite Aussie birds 🙂
Hi Brian, I like Goethe's words – a protective habit:'A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.'
I've always been very leery of poetry. I don't \”get it\” usually but wish I were better versed (pun intended!).In school I liked the poems with rules most (sonnets, haikus, limericks, etc.) because at least there was a sort of logic to them I could hang on to. 😀
Hi Ruthiella, that’s where a good anthology is helpful. You get a variety and if a certain poem appeals to you, often others by the same poet will too. Narrative & ballad poems are quite accessible also.
This sounds wonderful. I've always had a hard time with poetry. I don't know why. Someone once told me it should be read out loud and maybe I just don't have the patience.
It's interesting that you say that, being such a literary person, but it seems to be a reasonably common difficulty. Although you do read a lot of non-fiction. I think I loved poetry before I tackled any classic bpoks. It just seemed to get inside me easily, although there are is plenty of poetry I don't relate to that well.
Hi Carol,I'm wondering if your daughter used Grammar of Poetry before this or not… I have a 9th grader that I am planning to have go slowly through The Art of Poetry but I'm wondering now if I should combine her with my 7th grader- but she has not completed Grammar of Poetry yet. I'm just trying to save myself some work! 🙂 Thoughts?
Hi Danielle,My daughter did Grammar of Poetry in Yr 7. It's a good introduction but I didn't think it provided enough practice. The Art of Poetry goes into more detail and has much more practical application. You could easily spread it out over 2 years. I think you could pick & choose from the practical exercises to suit both your children if you wanted to save some of your time. :)Also, we didn't use Roar on the Other Side in Yr 8 so we did it this year (Yr 10) and my dd enjoyed it very much. If you haven't used it, the author is more 'free form' in her approach as opposed to the other two programmes but she still covers some of the more technical stuff. That would also be a good book to use with both of them together if you haven't already.Hope this helps!
Perfect. Thanks for your help! I will combine them both this year – we plan to spread it out over two years… it's quite dense!
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