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Rose, Where Did You Get That Red?: Teaching Great Poetry to Children Reissue Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0679724711
ISBN-10: 0679724710
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

In 'Rose, Where Did You Get That Red?' the celebrated poet Kenneth Koch conveys the imaginative splendor of great poetry--by Blake, Donne, Stevens, Lorca, and others--and then shows how it may be taught so as to help children write poetry of their own.

About the Author

Kenneth Koch has published many volumes of poetry, including New Addresses, Straits and One Train. He was awarded the Bollingen Prize for Poetry in 1995, in 1996 he received the Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry awarded by the Library of Congress, and he received the first Phi Beta Kappa Poetry award in November of 2001. His short plays, many of them produced off- and off-off-Broadway, are collected in The Gold Standard: A Book of Plays. He has also written several books about poetry, including Wishes, Lies, and Dreams; Rose, Where Did You Get That Red?; and, most recently, Making Your Own Days: The Pleasures of Reading and Writing Poetry. He taught undergraduates at Columbia University for many years. He died in 2002.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 346 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reissue edition (June 16, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679724710
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679724711
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #395,726 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Mr. Koch will not underestimate children. He will not talk down, dumb down, water down, because a passion for the subject matter animates this book as it must animate his instruction. He carefully documents and shares children's work as if it is as important as the poetry that inspired it.
Like anything truly sublime, the unspoken lesson enlivens this book . If you really share what you love with students, guide them instead of showing them, ask instead of telling, and treat their products with the respect you'd give a visiting artist, they will produce art as amazing as Mr. Koch's students did.
Forget teaching poetry to children- teach poetry instead. Take the concept and apply it to all creative acts. Teach art from great and challenging art. Teach music from powerful, sophisticated music. They can not only take it, they'll take it and keep it.
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Format: Paperback
Teachers of poetry from elementary to high school will enjoy teaching poetry with this method or incorporating the ideas into existing curriculum. I had success with it in ninth grade. Younger students would like it even more. The method uses great poems as starting points for children's own writing, and many examples are provided.
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By A Customer on April 8, 1999
Format: Paperback
I used this book to introduce unrhymed poetry to a fourth grade class. They just knew that they were going to HATE poetry, but after they were exposed to these poems and had a chance to write their own, they were upset when the poetry unit was over. They loved the poems written by other children that Koch included.
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By A Customer on June 26, 2004
Format: Paperback
This excellent book seems to be a missing link in writing instruction. Other books provide somewhat mechanical methods for generating writing ideas, but Koch's book leads the reader into natural lines of thought which connect the reader with his or her experience of life, experience from which the writing must flow. I am pretty sure this would work for any kind of writing and is not limited to poetry. Don't be too proud to use this book on yourself!
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By A Customer on January 22, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book was one with which I was taught in high school twenty years ago, and not only did it help me to connect with a personal style, but it also enhanced my appreciation of Whitman and Ginsburg. It stimulated ALL my other classmates in finding a voice and appreciation.
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Format: Paperback
I've been pruning my bookcases - all ten of them. Today I came upon this book along with "Wishes, Lies, and Dreams" As I held them in my hand, I was head-spun back to the late 1970's and my first teaching assignments. I did a stint at a middle school in Jersey City and then at a high school on an island in the South Pacific - worlds apart and yet similar in so many ways.

In college I never took an education course and I walked into each school with no prep of any kind. I was assigned to teach English, meaning writing and reading. Because the schools were private, I was given more freedom than any teacher could imagine in today's performance-assessed environment.

I'm not sure how I came across Koch's books but they quickly became pivotal to my teaching. I'm wasn't a poet back then and I'm still not now, so it wasn't so much the poetry of his books that impacted me as his approach to teaching which was grounded in the deepest kind of respect for his students' potential - as learners and as creators. His willingness to challenge through seemingly wild experimentation. His encouraging students to see, to notice, to feel, to care about their world.

Inspired by his books, I taught my students to write poetry. And they responded with the same generosity and enthusiasm as Koch's students. I still have those poems, now collected in a binder. They are the wishes, lies and dreams of young people from the inner city of Jersey to the outer villages of Truk. It's all magical.

Kenneth Koch is one of my heroes and his books are enduring classics, especially for teachers - no matter what they teach.
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Format: Paperback
A follow-up to the author's equally wonderful "Wishes, Lies, and Dreams," this superb volume is one of the best sources for teaching poetry that I've ever read. How many of us found that school crushed any budding love of poetry we had, rather than nurturing it? Well, Kenneth Koch will bring that crushed bud back into full, glorious blossom! He has a rare gift -- he removes the barriers to poetry, the ones that say it's too deep, too different, too complex, for the likes of ordinary people; yet he never removes its mystery, its wonder, its beauty. If anything, he makes it available & familiar to all in a way that only enhances its rapturous qualities. He makes us realize that a poem is as obvious & rich, as subtle & tangible, as a flower. The poem is there for anyone, for everyone, to savor & enjoy.

Most highly recommended!
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Format: Paperback
Koch's poetry has always moved me. And many years ago I read this book before teaching high school English for the first time. It changed the way I see education and how I see teaching.

If you read this work alongside works such as Playing and Reality by D. W. Winnicott and Envy and Gratitude by Melanie Klein, you may well find that you are compelled to adopt a new stance on the emotional and intellectual lives of children. And you may well find yourself able to teach children not only content but also process. You will most certainly look at anyone under the age of 18 with new respect and appreciation.

This book is not for the teacher or the professor who sees herself or himself as needing to be firmly in charge. For what Koch offers is a kind of Socratic style of teaching that is responsive to student input and generative of critical situations. This is for teachers who want to be teachers for a lifetime--not for a lark.

Do yourself a favor, any of you who read this and remember the 60s and 70s--read the book. Try it out with your own kids or grandkids. Heck, try it yourself. If you don't see results immediately, I'll be very surprised. But if after a few tries it still doesn't work, please consider donating it to your elementary school or public library. And then go back and read it in a year or two.

I extrapolated from his work to teach high school students how to write a research paper (collectively). And, later, I taught it to college students in conjunction with a course on children's literature and community. It is a beautiful book. I am so glad I read it more than once!
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