ROSE, WHERE DID YOU GET THAT RED? by Kenneth Koch

ROSE, WHERE DID YOU GET THAT RED?

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The children's poems collected in Koch's Wishes, Lies and Dreams (KR, 1970) demonstrated the joyous results achieved by his open supportive method of liberating kids' poetic imaginations. Here he explains how he led the same children to enjoy and participate in great poetry -- even poetry that was admittedly ""too hard"" for them -- by making it part of their own writing experience. In a combination anthology and teachers' handbook, he reproduces poems that have worked for his classes with notes on how he used them and examples of the children's poems that they inspired. The works of Yeats, Lorca (used with Spanish-speaking children to spark bilingual writing), Wallace Stevens, Whitman and the rest are never subjected to Brooks-and-Warren style analysis; rather they are the source of ""poetry ideas"" that Koch uses to get the children thinking creatively. John Donne inspires poems ""comparing deep and serious feelings to things in science and math,"" Shakespeare's songs lead to an exploration of sounds and colors, and William Carlos Williams' ""This Is Just to Say"" sets off an explosion of poems ""apologizing for something you're really secretly glad you did."" The important thing to Koch is ""to keep the atmosphere free, airy and creative, never weighed down by the adult poems. . . . What matters for the present is not that the children admire Blake and his achievement but that each child be able to find a tyger of his own."" Other teachers who use Koch's book as he uses poetry, not as a script for their own lesson plans but as a springboard for their own ideas, will unquestionably be rewarded by the same enthusiasm that led one sixth grader to write about poetry: ""You can express feelings non-feelings trees/ anything A to Z that's why/ IT'S GREAT STUFF!

Pub Date: Sept. 27th, 1973
Publisher: Random House