Ten Penny Players' Heuristic Approach to Poetry

The 7 Heuristic Elements of Poetry are conceptual tools which may aid teachers designing poetry curriculum or infusing poetry into their curriculum. 

Music and mimesis lead to a catharsis (purging of fear and pity as Aristotle described in Poetics).   The critical eye then turns to what raises the emotions to the sublime, an alchemical and psychological process. As tastes vary, each work of art is seen as a unique transcendence.  The poems are connected through symbolism and symbolic use of language. By the end of the 20th century the technologies needed to publish were available to a greater part of the population than ever before.

Using poetics as a central motive to learning, students are encouraged to explore communication. Classrooms become host to a growing human discourse that affirms cultures and individuals. Educators approach each student as a potential author, capable of poetic expression.

The inclusive classroom needs to address the substantial disparity of student aptitudes, while articulating all its students' cognitive growth. A poetics curriculum would enable the consideration of a vast body of literature from a variety of standpoints -- yet upon enough common ground for informed discussion to ensue. It is a curriculum that can respond to a multicultural literature and accommodate diversity.

Curriculum Objectives

 music   Singing at Ten Penny Players Learn and Serve America Celebration
Recognize sound patterns:
repetition, syllable, accent, meter, rhyme,
alliteration, asonance, and dialect.
Connect the body's heartbeat and breathing
with sound patterns reflected in lines of poetry.

 mimesis   Streams
Observe and quote accurately.
Imitate a familiar voice.
Write in dialect.

 catharsis   catharis exercises
Read aloud lines of poetry that convey terror and pity.
Explore emotional connotations of words and sound patterns.
Write a description that conveys a strong emotion.

Discuss questions of taste and personal appreciation.
Discuss what is meant by the beautiful or the sublime.
Rewrite lines of original poetry to achieve a sense of beauty.

 transcendence   transcendence - "Just Words" from Streams 12
Recognize unique aspects of individual works.
Seek levels of meaning
beyond egocentrism.
Acknowledge other perspectives.

 symbolism   symbolism

Discuss allegories, metaphors, symbols, similes, and tropes.
Explore dreams as representations of one phenomenon by another.
Explore vocabulary, grammatical conventions, punctuation and spelling.
Realize it is not the symbols alone, but the relationship (pattern) among the symbols that determine meaning.
Discuss words and letters as symbols.

 publication   student publications
Discuss post publication responsibilities and responses.
What are the implications of making one's work public?
Student write, edit, design and print literary magazines and chapbooks.
Students use desktop publishing software to prepare publications.
Students publish in print and on the Internet.

In the New Republic of 1916 Randolphe Bourne wrote, "Art education in art appreciation will be valueless if it does not devote itself to clarifying and integrating natural taste. The emphasis must be always on what you do like, not on what you ought to like."

For a lecture given at Columbia University in 1947, Delmore Schwartz wrote, "The point is that the more we know about the history of literary reputation and literary opinion, the more conscious we are of how unjust and how stupid even the greatest critics can be, the more likely we are to avoid such errors in our own experience of literature."

Ten Penny Playiers, Inc.