Tomorrow is the 1st of April, April Fool’s Day and also the start of poetry month; this idea was started in the USA by the Academy of American Poets, a wonderful organisation with incredible on-line resources. It was started in 1999 and I properly started implementing the ideas in my classroom in 2002 when I began to teach in a school for young people who were out of mainstream education. Nearly all the students enjoyed poetry – writing it more than reading it, I do have to say! So the American Academy of Poets was an absolute gold-mine of ideas for me and my students and opened their eyes – and mine too, to a whole range of poetry not normally seen in schools. Unfortunately as the National Curriculum began to apply to us, we were restricted in our materials, and to my mind the curriculum became narrow and wasn’t able to embrace the different needs of different young people.
So on the eve of poetry month, here is something from the master of the sonnet:
From you have I been absent in the spring,
When proud pied April, dressed in all his trim,
Hath put a spirit of youth in every thing,
That heavy Saturn laughed and leapt with him.
Yet nor the lays of birds, nor the sweet smell
Of different flowers in odour and in hue,
Could make me any summer’s story tell,
Or from their proud lap pluck them where they grew:
Nor did I wonder at the lily’s white,
Nor praise the deep vermilion in the rose;
They were but sweet, but figures of delight,
Drawn after you, you pattern of all those.
Yet seemed it winter still, and you away,
As with your shadow I with these did play.