21 Jun Slice of Life: Word Choice
Word choice is really important in poetry. It is short. You need to pack a lot into a few words. It really is the essence of the genre. I always have a difficult time explaining this concept to elementary aged readers and writers. I sometimes find myself in a circular conversation that sounds something like:
So these words here … these are the poet using choice?
Well I think these words are powerful.
Because the poet chose them?
Well yes the poet chose them but it’s the words that are powerful.
So are they powerful because the poet chose them or just powerful?
Sound familiar? Does anyone else face this problem? I want our students to understand that a word can evoke feelings, visual, and auditory images. A word can bring an entire poem together. A word can set the mood. A word placed in combination with other well-chosen words can just say it all.
So I am embarrassed to admit that I have found my perfect mentor text for word choice. I am putting myself on the line to admit the source of this mentor text – I am talking completely, vulnerable here. Let me first say that I spend a lot of time in the car- commuting and carpooling. The radio is on quite often. Some songs are played again and again. Every elementary-aged kid is singing it. Are you ready?
My mama don’t like you and she likes everyone
Yes this is from Justin Bieber’s song – Love Yourself. Yes I know the title is really a different word (but again word choice). Yes I realize this is not high quality literature, but we all know how he feels about her in a very few words. That is word choice –like it or not. This is what they are listening to – if we can’t beat ‘em –join ‘em and at least let’s get some literary analysis out of it!