Verbal energy: Attending to poetry

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13 Citations (Scopus)


This paper contends that the current English curriculum does not adequately acknowledge the potential of poetry to make meaning through sound. It reflects on how sound may embody or communicate meaning, and seeks enhanced conceptions of this aspect of poetry for pedagogy and the curriculum. It begins with the attention the mainstream press gave to Seamus Heaney’s remarks about Eminem, and progresses to consider Heaney’s notion of ‘verbal energy’ in the light of developing conceptions of multimodal ‘new literacies’. It suggests that new approaches could accord with an oral heritage approach to poetry while also acknowledging the influence of the communicational environments pupils experience beyond English classrooms. Throughout, the author draws on material that has informed his on-going Teacher Training Agency-sponsored project exploring the ways in which pupils approach poetry as sound, soon to be detailed on web resources for the English teaching community.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-101
Number of pages12
JournalEnglish in Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2004

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