Wednesday, July 08, 2009

I am so tired of reading about Zeus

. . . and all the other ancient gods and goddesses in poetry. I mean, why do we have such a fascination with these dudes? Seriously? Why the urns and the lightning bolts? Why must I read about Aphrodite again and again? I admit, I've written exactly one poem about Aphrodite, but that's it. Enough already.

I would like to read about something modern. Why doesn't somebody write a sci-fi sonnet? That would be cool.

And then I found this: D'oh! On a Grecian Urn

"A lot of students just don't know many words. I don't mean the kind of words you find in Elizabethan verse. I'm talking about everyday modern words, including many monosyllables. When we use a word such as "paucity," "hierarchy," or "realm," we need to write it on the board and define it. Then add a couple of synonyms, and maybe an antonym or two. We need to find excuses for vocabulary lessons, and not just in the vocabularies of our respective disciplines."

Wow, that's just damned depressing. Maybe I shouldn't be complaining about Hera and Troy, maybe I should run outside and accost the next kid I see and staple a multi-syllabic word to their shirt. Every month my kids and I pick a "word-of-the-month" and then vie with each other to see how many times we can use it. Last month's word was irksome. That was a good one. This month the word is monstrosity. I didn't want monstrosity; I wanted discombobulate, but I lost the vote. It's not difficult to interest kids in words as long as you keep it fun. Perhaps that's the true problem with our educational system: it's just too unpleasant. Who wants to be trapped in a classroom all day with a bunch of other kids, forced to read iambic pentameter?

So, instead of shoving bad poems about Hercules into our children's Eustachian tubes, why don't we find some fun poetry, something edgy enough to appeal to a teen? What the hell, read Bukowski to them. Or maybe some rap. Hell, even Shakespeare, as long as it's absurd and fun. But please, no more urns. Make them build a catapult and lob rolled up boring poems across the lawn. The winner gets to burn the next poem about Zeus. I guarantee the kids will like that project.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ah, well, wait on my chapbook, then, or just read every other page.

Mary
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