Wednesday, April 30, 2014
World Class: Poems Inspired by the ESL Classroom by J.C. Elkin
You know how I love poetry. I lean towards the classics generally, because I often find modern poetry shapeless or distasteful or both. Still, I was happy to review this book of poems that the author wrote about her experiences as an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher, and interested to see what they felt like.
I prefer structured poetry, and I am as charmed by rhyme as the next reader--I know how hard it is to write a good poem within the structure of a haiku or a sonnet. The poetry in this book, however, was closer to prose. The author says that her poems are composed in "accentual verse" that "stresses the rhythm of language". When I looked, I could indeed see poetic stresses and half-rhymes, words that please visually (sometimes you can "see" the rhymes rather than hear them, if you know what I mean)....not the structured poetry that I love, but still very satisfying compositions with themes that tug at the reader's heart. I liked every poem. They were touching without being heavy-handed, insightful without being too ponderous. Accessible, understandable--it was a collection that I really enjoyed and highly recommend.