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The Power of Poetry


Note: The videos included in this post contain language which may be sensitive to viewers.

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, poetry is one of my greatest guilty pleasures. After seeing my first live performance, a concert headlined by Bradley Hathaway, I was hooked.

As I enter my internship in the Fall, I find myself reflecting on which subjects and areas I am most comfortable with and which I have not had a considerable amount of experience teaching. One of the subject that I have had not had the chance to teach in any of my previous field experiences is English Language Arts. During my internship, I hope to have the opportunity to teach a unit involving poetry to expand the students’ views on what poetry might be.

Many people view poetry as nothing but fluffy love notes, but I feel there is so much more to the spoken word. One of the most notable examples would be Shane Koyczan‘s To This Day. To This Day is a chilling personal account of Koyczan’s history and views on bullying. As of the writing of this post, the original animated video for the poem has been viewed over 9 million times. Koyczan was also featured as a keynote speaker at the TED Conference:

After reading a post by my good friend, Jayde McFee, I can see the in-classroom application that poetry can have. When she presented To This Day to her Grade 8 class, a very emotional conversation followed. Being able to approach sensitive issues, such as bullying, through spoken word allows for the message to be delivered in a powerful way.

Another poem about bullying which is a personal favourite of mine is by Panama Soweto, which I presented to my class earlier this year. It is a riveting poem which identifies with how it feels to be the kid at the back of class who is always picked on.

I look forward to having experiences like this within my own classroom in the future.



  1. brettenyoung says:

    Thanks for sharing these resources, Matt. I LOVE slam poetry and I think our students will, too. I am excited to try slam poetry out in the fall with my grade 10s. Hopefully you get some experience teaching ELA!

  2. nidhi0113 says:

    Thanks for sharing such interesting resources. I have never heard about slam poetry but after watching your post I am excited to use in my future class.

  3. […] this is what I do to deal with my bad days. Shane Koyczan, who I posted about previously, has a poem named Instructions for a Bad Day. For me, listening to this poem is a perfect release […]

  4. […] three-week block, I plan on completing a poetry unit with my students. As I have explained in many previous posts, poetry is one of my greatest passions. Being able to convey a story on an extremely intimate and […]

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