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

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  285 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
A classic that revolutionized the way children are taught to read and write poetry. The celebrated poet Kenneth Koch conveys the imaginative splendor of great poetry--by Blake, Donne, Stevens, Lorca, and others--and then shows how it maybe taught so as to help children write poetry of their own. For this edition, the author has written a new introduction and a special afte ...more
Paperback, 346 pages
Published June 16th 1990 by Vintage (first published 1974)
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I was disappointed in this one and it was not at all what I thought. I was looking for a book to help inspire kids to read and write poetry.

First of all, there are two (2!) very long introductions by the author that take up 1/4 of the entire book. Secondly, the type set used is too small, the paragraphs are too long, and the book could use a good edit.

Third, the author includes 10 poems in this book. Followed by each poem are poems written by his students. WTH? While I am sure the students (and
Sep 27, 2014 added it
Reading for my thesis. Koch looks at poetry through a similar lens as Making Your Own Days, but this book presents ten lessons, each lesson focuses on one poem each, but Koch combines the teaching of reading poetry with the teaching of writing poetry. For my devices in my project, I will not be teaching poetry writing as a way to teach reading poetry as he does, so this one is a little less relevant to me than the other...but am going to look at the ways that he looks at the poems and attempt to ...more
Literary Mama
Koch believes that children can enjoy poetic heavies like Blake, Donne, and Lorca—as long as they’re taught with joy. This book features lesson plan ideas and stories from Koch's long career as a poet and world-renowned teacher. Brilliant, inspiring, and invigorating."

For more recommendations on craft books, visit Literary Mama's Essential Reading List for September:
Oct 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
The fact Koch got a little 1960s LES writer to get down "rose, where did you get that red?" on paper is a testament to his work. This book is essential for reading, writing, and talking about poetry with kids. Most notable is the idea of teaching someone rather antiquated, say Blake/Shakespeare, to six year olds. Detailed lesson plans, example and sample poems, invaluable.
Noor Al-samarrai
Sep 26, 2009 rated it it was ok
I think the poems he used were too childish and arcane. But that's just my opinion. I'd prefer to teach kids poems that are more exciting than Blake's Tyger.
Eric Zimmerman
Apr 02, 2012 rated it liked it
Basically, you simplify the forms of great poems and then have students write their own, and they feel smart and special. It actually works that easily in praxis.
Eric Hinkle
May 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book is a delight! Koch picks some great, classic poems and tells you some ways to teach them to children, and then he samples the children's response poetry. At the end is an all-time-encompassing anthology of great poetry. What more do you need? His instructions are perfect (not to mention the short example poems that he wrote himself), and anything written by children is bound to be worth reading. I loved it.
Matthew Metzdorf
Oct 01, 2012 rated it liked it
Pretty cool concept, teaching classic poems by Blake, Shakespeare, Whitman, etc. to children. Not the sort of book to read for enjoyment. More of a reference book that is pedagogically engaging...Some of the children's poetry is amazing, but mostly kids suck at poetry so it wasn't the most entertaining read
Yvonne Marjot
Feb 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Not new (it was published in 1998) but new to me – by far the most wonderful book I have read on teaching poetry to children. It has a lot to say to any of us who fancy our hand at rhythm and rhyme, and it’s full of the most wonderful verse created by children who worked with the author. And what a gorgeous title!
Jun 25, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: personal-library
As a writer, the most inspiring bits about this book were the children's poems.
I love that Koch promotes teaching children as though they are thoughtful capable human beings, since they are and aren't often treated as such.
This isn't a great book, but it was an interesting read.
The anthology is useful for writing prompt ideas.
Jan 12, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: teach-o-phobes
Shelves: teaching-tools
interesting introduction, though it rambled and said the same thing over and over again, helpful ideas for extracting some child-friendly activity from an adult writing. i don't like his translations from the french.
Dec 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who loves writing
Wonderful inspiration for writing and teaching poetry to young children with classic examples of poems from Shakespeare to Rimbaud, "Voyelles", Asian, African sources as well as inspiring creativity from the children's work.

Barbara Lovejoy
May 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is such a wonderful book. It was written to help teachers teach children to write poetry. I am interested in it for that reason but I also felt this need to start writing myself. I am going to use the ideas in the book to get started on my own writing.
Dec 19, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have to admit I mostly skimmed this for work. Wish I had time to reread it in more depth, though. A very significant book from my childhood, definitely led to a later fondness for "The Tyger," "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird," "This is Just to Say."
Aug 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
In this book, Kenneth Koch covers processes to get children thinking and writing about poetry -- included are poems from kids of all ages who were in his classes. Such a great book for every parent and teacher to own.
Abi Allanson
Nov 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Such exciting teaching ideas
Great resource for teaching poetry, much better than anything put out in recent years that I've seen.
Jan 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I loved reading this book and I used many of his ideas in my own writing but I love using this book in my teaching even more.
Oct 23, 2009 rated it liked it
Short and rich. Contains 10 prompts for student poetry along with student samples. Nice addition to a teacher's toolbox.
Mills College Library
808.1 K76r 1990
Apr 29, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
contains just about any of my favorite writers. I'm using the older version, I believe. But it comes in handy as a textbook/reference.
Apr 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is one of my go to books for teaching poetry to kids. I agree with Koch that students need to see real poetry and be excited by the power of the words.
Apr 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
one of the books that changes my a teacher...and a poet dreamer :) I met him once. It was amazing.
Jun 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
The best book about teaching poetry.
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Kenneth Koch is most often recognized as one of the four most prominent poets of the 1950s-1960s poetic movement "the New York School of Poetry" along with Frank O'Hara, John Ashbery and James Schuyler. The New York School adopted the avant-garde movement in a style often called the "new" avant-garde, drawing on Abstract Expressionism, French surrealism and stream-of-consciousness writing in the a ...more
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