On Monday, I taught the first section of a poetry unit.

Poetry! What am I doing teaching poetry? I can’t write it. I’m not terribly good at reading it. I don’t know how to analyze it. However, it’s one of the genres in the multi-genre course I get to teach this semester, and while the idea of teaching students to appreciate and write poetry is daunting, it’s also kind of exciting to move beyond the prose of my preferred genre, creative nonfiction.

On our first day talking about poetry, I wanted to emphasize one thing: reading poetry out loud is important. It’s vital. (See: even the Poetry for Dummies folks agree.)

We spent the hour listening to poetry read aloud by various authors, and I was reminded once again that I have no idea how people taught courses before the internet. Here are the poems we listened to and discussed, taking into consideration the merits of hearing the poems, not just reading them.

And yes, of course I’m thrilled that this gave me an excuse to play a video of Alan Rickman in class.