When I was 14…

I showed this video to my class a few weeks ago, we’re looking at poetry, trying to answer the question, What is poetry, anyway? Not the deepest of questions but it is, quite simply, asking them to think about everything that poetry is and could be. We started with free verse.

When I was 14 by Dawn Saylor

The boys were silent about it (they may have been asleep, but still…). The girls were … agitated.

That’s ridiculous.
Is she a prostitute or something?
She must be a prostitute and she is talking about her pimp.
That’s disgusting.

I’m still thinking about their reactions. The phrase she who doth protest too much comes to mind. Could it have hit too close to home? Or is it far off the mark?

What do you think?

On a side note, I just did a google search for ‘girls’ to find an image for this post. The first 13 images that came up were of scantily clad women followed by 1 image of girls in a school uniform, followed by some more of what it started with. Here is what I could find that was…appropriate.

girl sitting on a tree stump by somebox on flickr. Click image for source.
girl sitting on a tree stump by somebox on flickr. Click image for source.

I think I’m going to work the poem back in to a lesson in the near future and see what happens.

1 comment / Add your comment below

  1. Kia ora Tracy

    “What is poetry, anyway?”

    Not being too analytical about this, one of the main features of good poetry is its ability to arouse, from the experience of the listener/observer/reader, some recollection from the World of Thou. Connotation only ‘works’ if there is even a tenuous connection between the words and the World of Thou.

    If there is no relevant experience that permits emotion to be aroused by the words, there is no connotation. In a situation where such a listener/observer/reader is asked to interpret – to bring forth how they feel about the words – logical analysis prevails in favour of emotional connotation.

    The words narrated in the video, with fire, energy and emotion, make a good poem. The poet made excellent use of metaphor and connotation to strike the lacrimae rerum note.

    My hunch here is that the young minds that you asked to interpret the emotive poem may not have had the experience to be able to make sense of what the poet was offering in the words – the connotation was not able to take place.

    Best wishes
    from Middle-earth

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