Advice from Poet Laureate Billy Collins

I heard Poet Laureate Billy Collins speak today at Columbia University’s Roone Arledge Auditorium. He was fascinating, funny, and filled with ideas for teachers on how to be better teachers of poetry. Here are some of his tips:

* Some good questions to ask kids about poems are:
1. How does this poem go?
2. How does this poem move?
3. How does this poem get from one place to another?
* “Try to put down your highlighter and pick up your pencil.” —Collins
–> He thinks highlighters look like slime mucking up a page.
* Haiku is great practice for writers of any age. It allows kids to play with a form (i.e., 5-7-5 syllables).
–> Don’t use titles when writing Haiku (that’s a big no-no).
–> Using the word innumerable is a great five-syllable shortcut.