To whet the appetite, first let me recommend Douglas Goetsch's essay in The American Scholar, "Poetry Stand," about a group of high school students who offer customized poems on demand.
My question for the week is a slight variation: how best can I sell poetry to my mostly not-so-excited students.This spring I'm teaching a couple sections of 2nd semester FYC, which at my college is titled "Writing about Literature." It's a comp course with students writing in response to literature (fiction, drama, poetry) they read in the class.
The course, for me, is distinctly different from a lit survey class in several ways. Let's stick with one: my selection of poems. Many of my colleagues seem to assign one of those hefty anthologies for the course, canonical works with the now-customary overlay of multiculturalism. I'm trying a different approach, in an attempt to choose more accessible poems (not necessarily the standard fare) and to save students the cost of an anthology of which I'll only assign (maybe) 5%. (I've written elsewhere about similar concerns wrt the essay canon.) So my question, in another form: what poems or poets have you found useful in transforming the poetry-haters?
As my contribution to the discussion, here's a list of sites you may find useful to supplement or replace anthologies as sources of poetry (with the wonderful added benefit that many include audio or video clips as well as text):
Poets.org from the American Academy of Poets
The poetry site of the Library of Congress
American Life in Poetry (Ted Kooser's free weekly column)
Poetry 180 (Billy Collins's site aimed at high school students)
Paris Review (poems as well as its famous interview series, much of which is now available online)
Today's Poem (a new poem each day, mostly from well-known literary mags.)