Does anybody think harder about teaching poetry than these guys? . . . In my considered opinion, no one does it better, thinks harder about it, or writes as refreshingly on the topic as Wormser and Cappella. The book you hold in your hands is a marvel and an elixir. All language arts teachers at any level should memorize it.
Jeffrey D. Wilhelm, Boise State University
Poetry is part of the 7-12 English curriculum, but many students, and teachers too, are afraid of it. They think of poetry as esoteric, insular, even elitist. Baron Wormser and David Cappella prove otherwise. Poetry is in fact the lifeblood of language. It incorporates all aspects of the language arts. It deserves to be at the center of the English curriculum. And it can and should be taught daily. The authors show why and how.
Their book takes the form of a fictional teacher's journal entries on his daily teaching of the reading and writing of poetry. His recurrent theme for appreciating poetry is to "slow down, pay attention—there is much to be gained from this." And he demonstrates that truth. He looks at language closely—how the poet uses language, revises, edits, and assesses; how potent language really is; how the fewest words can achieve the greatest impact. What's more, he highlights within the text major ideas for teaching and provides other teacher-friendly formats and information, including:
Plus, the table of contents functions as a calendar of daily topics, making quick work of planning or honing in on areas of particular interest.
- lists that detail practical exercises and strategies
- full-length poems
- anthologies for teacher reference.
A Surge of Language is the perfect antidote to pressure and stress. And it's a richer, more rewarding alternative to the lists of objectives that now comprise teaching. Both thoughtful and practical, it will inspire and guide teachers in their efforts to put some reflective practice back into their curriculums and classrooms. And it will get them to think in poetry, too.