Home > Types of Book Club > Poetry Book Clubs

Poetry Book Clubs

By: Hsin-Yi Cohen BSc, MA, MSt - Updated: 18 Aug 2014 | comments*Discuss
 
Poetry Book Clubs Poetry Reading Groups

If you're looking for something a little different why not try a book club dedicated to poetry? Contrary to popular belief, poetry-reading is not just for a small group of literary elite – everyone can enjoy poetry. It offers a wonderful host of images and ideas, insights into the human condition, thought-provoking themes and the recognition of shared emotions and life experiences. In fact, reading poetry can make you a better reader overall. Many people enjoy reading poetry in private but you may find it equally enjoyable to participate in the collective appreciation of a group.

Choosing Poetry

Poetry reading groups follow the same basic format as standard book clubs, with regular meetings and books of poetry chosen in advance. The members can decide on the poetry books chosen by vote or simply by discussing various titles and reaching a consensus. For the first meeting, you can even ask each member to bring along their favourite or most memorable poem for the discussion. Almost everyone will have a set of verses whose words particularly resonate with them. Thereafter, you can either focus on a specific book of poems or – perhaps easier – do a ‘close reading’ of one particular poem and encourage the group to ponder every word, line, image and literary device used. Alternatively, you could also base your choices on poems which follow a theme or subject, such as love, war, nature, family, etc. Another interesting focus is to tackle a particular poetry school or movement at each meeting, so members can learn about and become familiar with all the different forms. Choose a set of poems by poets in a certain school or movement (e.g., Harlem Renaissance, Surrealism) and you could even ask certain members to do a simple presentation on the school, before the rest of the group discusses the poems.

You can also build a meeting around a particular poet and read a selection of poems by him or her, either from one book or several books. The host of the meeting could do some background research on the poet and open discussions with some interesting biographical information – or perhaps extra information on the settings or characters of the poems. If the poet is still living and coming to the area for a reading, it may be fun to arrange an outing for the reading group to attend a reading and have discussions afterwards.

As poems were often designed to entertain an audience, it can be useful to ask at least two members of the group to read the poem out loud, as different people will use different tones and interpret different nuances from the same words.

Reading and Discussing Poetry

Particularly if you’re planning to recite the poem during the meeting, it is always a good idea to practise reading the poem quietly to yourself a few times, especially if there are unfamiliar words. When listening to others read aloud during the meeting, let the words wash over you, as if they are music and try to “feel” the poem rather than understand it – free your mind and allow it conjure up any images as it absorbs the words. Can you sense a rhythm to the words? Is there a clear rhyme in the poem? Are any images or phrases repeated and what is the effect created?

When discussing the poem, consider who the narrator or speaker is (it may not always be the poet) and whether they take action themselves or are reporting on the actions of others. Is the speaker telling a story? Revealing a secret? What is the setting for the poem? What kind of landscape does it inhabit? What kinds of emotional response to members have towards the poem? How does everyone feel about the ending? Is there a resolution or it is all left unexplained?

At the end of your discussion, it is worth reading the poem aloud again, without further discussion, and to let members experience the words again, in light of the recent discussion.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
I've always seen reading as a personal activity.Especially,reading poetry.I've never actually believed in public recitals but my views took a drastic change when I witnessed two good poetry recital clubs.The initial flow of emotions as a poet reads his very own work,the surge and ebb of thoughts,the musicality and vocal bends made for an entirely enticing experience! And this read proved it true again! There's really something about a recital that keeps you glued and leaves you longing for more! Maybe that's another reason as to why I keep associating poetry to an entirely satisfying physical relationship_maybe that's another reason why poetry is a personal experience! :)
Fiona Kezia Winston - 18-Aug-14 @ 8:37 AM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Rona
    Re: Ten Tips for a Successful Book Club
    Does anyone here who would like to donate books in the Philippines? please let me know
    10 October 2020
  • Carol
    Re: Book Club Rules and Standards
    I need advise please. Is the below statement correct, the lady that runs our BC says it is. But l can find no where that proves…
    30 July 2020
  • igor
    Re: The Top Ten Famous Authors
    This list is so anglo centric as to be laughable. The remarks that accompany their names are less than informative; consider Ayn…
    26 July 2020
  • kennyJ
    Re: Book Clubs for Teenagers
    Hi, I am also looking for a online virtual book club, which my son can participate (like zoom etc), is there any out there?
    11 July 2020
  • Someone
    Re: The Top Ten Famous Authors
    Is this suitable for children? - I don’t think so . . .
    30 June 2020
  • Percy Fan (Duh)
    Re: The Top Ten Famous Authors
    Hold on a sec! Where on earth is RICK RIORDON !!???? Have no one here has read his books? Percy Jackson? Magnus Chase? Carter? woah…
    24 June 2020
  • Ajay Kumar
    Re: The Top Ten Famous Authors
    Hi i have done so many Television Shows and films i have articles of news. Can anyone help me to wrote article on wikipedia
    13 May 2020
  • geofrnd
    Re: The Top Ten Famous Authors
    Philip Pullman? scott f. fitzgerald? harper lee? where are the famous authors????????
    11 May 2020
  • Sarina
    Re: The Top Ten Famous Authors
    Where is roald dahl? He is a famous children book writer including matilda and charlie and the chocolate factory!
    6 May 2020
  • Zako
    Re: Start a Book Club Blog
    You feel disappointed with your family or you want to transform your family with God's wisdom you don't know what to do this is the…
    11 April 2020