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I never Told Anybody: Teaching Poetry Writing to Old People

4.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0915924530
ISBN-10: 0915924536
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Editorial Reviews

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: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Teachers & Writers Collaborative (June 27, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0915924536
  • ISBN-13: 978-0915924530
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #755,973 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book is a must for anyone working/playing with poetry and involved in introducing others to poetry. What is most astounding is Kenneth Koch's humility and honesty, and his willingness to admit mistakes made in teaching poetry to a group of old people at a nursing home. He divides the book very usefully as well. First he introduces the process from start to finish of the workshops, including some of the seniors' works. In the second half of the book, he prints the poems done by participants for each exercise first, then discusses what occurred during the session. One participant in particular is very much a poet, although he'd never written poetry before, and I fell quite in love with him. However, as the book went to press, Kenneth says, this man passed on. You will thouroughly enjoy this book. Aside from the poetry, it has alot to say about the assumptions we make about old and/or infirm people.
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Format: Paperback
The simplist, profoundest stories are laid out in a delicate and spare way by Koch's nursing home students. Don't shy away because it might be sad- rejoice that Koch got these stories before they were lost. These aren't the poems people might write to impress others or even themselves- they explore the things that matter most.
If you teach anything creative- think about why you teach it. To give job skills? To meet state goals? Those are both fine reasons. But Koch is teaching in a nursing home to profoundly affect how people look at their inner landscape. Do you teach to empower and to change lives? Would you like to think that's what you do? I would read this not as a how-to but a why-to.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First I need to say that I bought this copy to have one to read and review so that I don't harm the book I loaned my father when he was administrator of a small hospital's long-term care unit and was concerned about some patients and residents who were becoming less conversational. I had bought the book originally because of my interest in Ken Koch's books WISHES, DREAMS, AND LIESWishes, Lies, and Dreams: Teaching Children to Write Poetry and ROSE, WHERE DID YOU GET THAT RED?Rose, Where Did You Get That Red?: Teaching Great Poetry to Children As I recall, in the late 1970s, WISHES, DREAMS, AND LIES especially helped me to encourage high school students in remedial reading to take a leap of faith or intuition in order to write verse and revise it -- what turned out to be a very helpful reading tactic.

I'm glad to say that this edition contains the same material that was in the first. Why the title was changed, I am unsure. The new title leaves me cold; the old one was more relevant to the content of the book, and it has been maintained on all but the new title page. Anybody who knows anything about the lives of people who are remembering what cool stuff they did and never told will also wonder about the current cover of the book. (I have used 60s jargon for a reason here, people. Have you been to a gathering of 60s radicals lately? Pretty tame.)

Anyhow, exactly how Dad used I NEVER TOLD ANYBODY is something I do not know. I suspect that he loaned it to his assistant.
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Excellent teaching guide for poetry and writing to elderly and senior students with dementia issues.
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I've been thinking about doing some poetry teaching with older adults, and Koch's book is the perfect introduction to the subject. His experiences and ideas for working with this age group are inspiring. Basic reading for anyone interested in poetry, teaching or older adults. His classic book on teaching poetry to children, "Wishes, Lies and Dreams", adds even more ideas for bringing a new way of thinking about writing poetry to teachers of these populations.
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