Poetry Study/Help

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MissIrene
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Poetry Study/Help

Post by MissIrene »

To coaches or players:

Can you suggest a frequency list or study guide for poetry? I have some strong literature students, but this seems to be a weak area for us. Any tips you have would be appreciated!
Irene Ducharme
"Miss Irene"
Wauconda High School
Scholastic Bowl Coach

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1992 in spaceflight
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Re: Poetry Study/Help

Post by 1992 in spaceflight »

I've found poetry anthologies to be very helpful to me. I have a copy of Yeats poems in my room that I've read, and I very rarely miss a Yeats question.
Jacob O'Rourke
Washington (MO) HS Assistant Coach (2014-Present); MOQBA Secretary (2015-Present)
Formerly: HSAPQ Host Contact; NASAT Outreach Coordinator (2016 and 2017); Kirksville HS Assistant Coach (2012-2014); Truman State '14; and Pacific High (MO) '10


"And here we are as on a darkling plain, Swept by confused alarms of struggle and flight, Where ignorant armies clash by night."
Matthew Arnold, Dover Beach.

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dtaylor4
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Re: Poetry Study/Help

Post by dtaylor4 »

If you want to get better at poetry and short stories, your best bet is to actually read them. Columbia Granger World of poetry (www.columbiagrangers.org) is a pretty good database.

Wilberbeast
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Re: Poetry Study/Help

Post by Wilberbeast »

Agreed, actually reading the poetry has greatly improved my scores. Whenever a poem comes up in a tossup that I have not read, I read it. One thing to make sure you don't do is just try to skim through it; it will take longer to really enjoy the poetry and interpret its meaning, but it will make it much easier to remember the lines that come up as clues. After reading Howl you get a real sense of Ginsberg's writing in that poem, and even if you can't remember an exact line, strange phrases like "hydrogen jukebox" will just jump out at you in a tossup and you'll go, hey, that sounds like it would come out of Howl.

In terms of a frequency list, the canon seems somewhat limited at the high school level. In my mind I separate it into American, British, Latin American, and Others. Probably 90% of tossups will be about the first two... Some examples:

American: Bradstreet, Wheatley, Longfellow, Frost, Whitman, Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., William Cullen Bryant, Dickinson, Ginsberg, T. S. Eliot are a good start.
British: William Blake, Lord Byron, Browning (both of them), Shelley (both of them), Marvel, Wordsworth, Coleridge, etc. come up a lot.
Latin America: Lots of Neruda, Paz, Mistral, etc.
Other: Basho, Li Po, Tagore, Khayyam, etc.

Tossups are pretty consistent on which poems come up, a quick glance at a database would help out with that.
Matt Wilber

Buffalo Grove High School, Class of '12

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Irreligion in Bangladesh
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Re: Poetry Study/Help

Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh »

To expand on the "read poetry" idea, grab a standard high school tournament - any NAQT IS set, a housewrite like Prison Bowl, etc. - and skim through every packet for the poets that come up. (Ctrl-F searching for "poem" and "poet" will be fastest.) List every poet that comes up. Then do a Torrey Pines Database search for each poet, writing down any poem by that poet that comes up A: more than once, B: comes up in a giveaway of a tossup, and/or C: is the answer of a high school-difficulty bonus.

Then read all of those poems, starting with those that hit part A above.
Brad Fischer
Head Editor, IHSA State Series

Winnebago HS ('06)
Northern Illinois University ('10)
Assistant Coach, IMSA (2010-12)
Coach, Keith Country Day School (2012-16)

MissIrene
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Re: Poetry Study/Help

Post by MissIrene »

Thanks so much everybody. 'These are great tips. . . I also came across a site that accompanies the Norton Anthology of Poetry, I'm thinking that may be useful too.

Now I have to persuade some of my students that they will ENJOY reading the poetry, and walk them through these other steps. I need a few of them to be a little more self-motivated. . . .
Irene Ducharme
"Miss Irene"
Wauconda High School
Scholastic Bowl Coach

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