A Pedagogy of Poetry

through the poems of W.B. Yeats

Paperback / softback, 164 pages, 234 mm x 156 mm
15 Jan 2014
Trentham Books

Price: £20.99

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Using eleven of W.B. Yeats's poems, John Gordon explores ways of thinking about and teaching poetry in secondary schools and at undergraduate level. He draws together commentary, research, and his own professional experience, to enable his readers to develop flexible pedagogical judgement that can respond to the requirements of a range of students and the demands of texts of varied length and complexity. His readers will be able to apply the key principles he identifies to teaching a broad range of poems effectively and memorably.

A Pedagogy of Poetry is original and ambitious, theoretical, and practical. The author synthesizes literary criticism and analysis, considerations of literary pedagogy, the empirical research base, and the theoretical frameworks that underpin people's responses to poetry. He analyses the key books on poetry and teaching and shows where historical understanding will illuminate a poem for students, for example through his analysis of Yeats's 'Easter 1916'. The book is an invaluable resource for English teachers in secondary schools, colleges, and higher education.

  • John Gordon

    Dr John Gordon has been Course Director for an outstanding secondary phase English teacher-education programme at the University of East Anglia for over ten years. His research has concentrated on the pedagogy of poetry and children’s responses to the poetry they hear. He has published widely on learning and teaching poetry in international journals.

CONTENTS: Introduction; 1. Presenting poems: 'The Lake Isle of Innisfree'; 2. Poems as songs: 'The Song of Wandering Aengus'; 3. Poetry of place and nature: 'The Wild Swans at Coole'; 4. Finding a centre: 'The Second Coming'; 5. Making parallels: 'Sailing to Byzantium and getting there'; 6. Head and heart: 'No Second Troy' and 'A Prayer for My Daughter'; Poems of a moment: 'Easter 1916'; Complex poems: 'Nineteen-hundred and Nineteen' and 'Meditations in Time of Civil War'; 9. Poems in sequence: Teaching an anthology; Last words

A brilliant book. Though directed towards the Secondary English teacher and focused on some poems by Yeats, this book has so much to offer those interested in literature and pedagogy. The ideas can be adapted for other poets or age groups. Refreshing, informed, and inspired. A must for anyone who cares about poetry and young people.

Morag Styles, Professor of Children's Poetry, University of Cambridge