POETRY: Course Overview

    This is a Junior/Senior Elective course.  The course is designed as an interactive, creative, “dialectical” approach to poetry. You will enter into a kind of dialogue with great poets who have come before us and with those who are a vital part of our global community today. The course combines reading, listening to, and appreciating the writing of great poets with developing your own poetic “voice”.

    You will be expected to complete a passing grade in both the Literature and Creative Writing components of the course in order to pass the class.

    Literature: You will read a range of poetic forms and styles from the history of English Language and World Literature, as well as contemporary poets. I hope you will get the chance to enjoy, appreciate, interpret, analyze, and compare poems to figure out what poetic styles are the most interesting and moving for you.

      • Read: Read numerous model poems, annotate. We will look at traditional forms as well as more modern free verse.

      • Poetry out Loud: Read aloud numerous model poems and build oral and non-verbal communication skills for formal-dramatic recitation of a poem. All will present one POL poem and the best serve as “finalists” to represent Tam at Bay area POL competitions in January.

      • Literary Interpretation & Analysis: Learn and utilize poetry terms to create a shared vocabulary for understanding how poems are crafted. Learn methods for identifying elements of poems and stylistic characteristics of specific poetic forms.

      • Quick Writes and draft papers: Compose reflective responses to multiple poems.

      • Final Poetry Papers: Expand and revise 3 formal poetry appreciation papers (literary analysis), one per marking period.

      • Research: one poet from a movement or "period" of poetry, write a paper and do a presentation that includes: biographical overview, career in poetry and place in literary history, literary appreciation of poet’s work including interpretation and analysis of a few poems.


    Creative Composition: Our goal is to develop individual poetic style and voice. We will do this through practicing the poetic “tools of the trade” (utilizing poetry techniques and devices that we learn about through our dialogue with model literature), combined with exploring creative venues for self-expression and poetic play

    • Keep a “Poetry: Personal Journal” as a safe space for first draft creative writing. Mostly this will be a written journal, but some students will also want to keep a recorded “journal” of oral impromptus that will subsequently be transcribed in the written journal. This PJ will be checked and graded for the following:

    • Draft Poems: Write numerous quick-write poem drafts in response to poetry exercises (some in-class and some home-work) and “free” writing

      • Apply poetry techniques and utilize poetic devices in your original creative writing. (sound devices, form, descriptive imagery, figurative language, and reflective abstraction)

      • Echo work: Write poems mimicking the style of some poets and poems showing creatively you “heard” them.

      • Respond to and develop subject-oriented prompts (environmental poems, political poems, personal poems, sports poems etc).

      • Muse—ic? Create original poetic pieces inspired by what “a-muse-s” you.

      • Writers Workshop: Bring typed poetry drafts to the writer’s workshops for peer responses. Craft 5-10 (or more) great final draft poems per marking period (based on your journal-drafts), 15-30 (or more) for the semester (depending on legnth and variety).

      • Poetry Readings: Read aloud, and dramatically recite your original poems culminating in a "Cafe" style "Author Reading".   Some students will choose to also participate in Tam’s SLAM club and try out for our SLAM team.


    Highly "Suggested" Supplies:

    Binder: small binder, or section of a binder; w paper and at least two dividers.

    Bound notebook: spiral or flat bound (for writer’s journal)

    General Supplies: pencils, black/blue pens, colored pens and pencils

    5 pack of highlighters (thin, pen sized to be used for analysis)


    small stapler

    hole punch