Poetry Friday : The Favorite Poem Project

Poetry Friday is hosted by Jim Hill at Hey, Jim Hill!
We just finished a unit on Langston Hughes on Thursday with the sublime “Minstrel Man.”

Because my mouth

Is wide with laughter

And my throat

Is deep with song,

You do not think

I suffer after

I have held my pain

So long?

Because my mouth

Is wide with laughter,

You do not hear

My inner cry?

Because my feet

Are gay with dancing,

You do not know

I die?

— “Minstrel Man” Langston Hughes
After putting the poem into its historical context, we read it together and discussed its beauty and its content.  Then we watched this, a segment from the Favorite Poem Project, which gave the poem an entirely new perspective:

We bring so much our ourselves to the experience of reading poetry – each poem is such a personal experience.  These videos (we watched the first two) were a good lesson about this idea for my sixth graders.  We’ve given ourselves a month to think about the poem each of us will select for this class project – enough time, I think, to identify the one, learn it and find a way to share what it means to us.


8 thoughts on “Poetry Friday : The Favorite Poem Project

  1. I love all three of the poems & acknowledge that My Papa's Waltz is one of my favorites too, but you have taken them another step with the sharing of these videos. Just wonderful to experience, Tara. I guess your students just loved them, too.

  2. Thank you for inspiring me this morning as I think about our class celebrating poetry today. Not sure why but I have never used videos on Poetry Friday-your post was just the push I needed.

  3. Oh my goodness, Tara, what a wonderful, wonderful project! I'm so glad you posted this today. You've been to my blog, so you know that I do videos of my children's poems on Mondays. My ultimate goal is to create a video library of original children's poems read by their authors…but you'd be surprised how many authors are camera shy! If you know any children's poets who might be interested, please do point me in their direction. Or perhaps I should reach out to teachers and students? Either way, your post has really inspired me to keep going toward my goal, shy poets or no – poetry is meant to be heard, as these videos so clearly demonstrate. Thank you! 🙂

  4. Maybe I should start videotaping my students when they perform on Poetry Friday, sharing their favorite poems (at least favorite at that moment!). I wouldn't be able to share them online, but I bet they'd get a kick out of watching themselves and hearing the poems over and over again.Hmm…you've got me thinking!

  5. Tara, thanks for your many comments on my blog. I'm delighted to be here and find these videos–I had watched the Langston Hughes one before but forgotten how it–she–stretches the meaning of that spare little poem over so many kinds of experiences. Your 6th graders are lucky lucky lucky to have this experience with you.

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