"At the beginning of the poetry unit, I devote a class session investigating what poetry actually is. I have students talk/write about their notions/conceptions of poetry, how to tell a “good” poem from a “bad” poem, etc., and work from there. I bring in some poems that show different approaches to poetry in terms of form, content, etc., and help students figure out what’s going on in those. Then, I have students search on the Internet for what they think is a “good” poem, and have them explain, in writing, why it qualifies as a good poem. I’ve had very good luck with this method, and it makes the rest of our poetry study much more interesting for all of us."
Who writes poetry?
How does one write poetry?
Who reads poetry?
Then I talk about places where poetry exists that people might not expect, like references to Poe’s “The Raven” in a comic strip and “I think that I shall never see” in Letters to the Editor.
I also teach the “grammar” of poetry, recognition of terms, and, after we have practiced on a few poems in class, I have them bring in three copies of some song lyrics. Then we trade those around. Everyone looks for the poetic devices in the lyrics of their neighbors’ songs.