Sailor Principle of Education #2

For Internal Sensory Education:

Include literature and history in education, enlivened by reading aloud, drama, recitation and original texts.
Literature and poetry aid poetic formation not by replacing sensory experience of created reality, but by imaginatively and emotionally inspiring the love of reality, as Helen Vendler writes, “We read imaginative works . . . in order to gain a wider sense of the real.”[5] If taught in a way that gives us a vicarious and engaging experience of created reality, literature and poetry can make us more responsive to sensory experiences:[6] “The poet says to us: Here it is. He presents it as a gift. This is the mourner, the lover, the moon, the smile, the soldier, the ship, the horse. Part of the wonder of poetry is that it does give us things in the present, puts us in their presence . . . The poet really says very little: something like ‘Look at that!’ The looking involves seeing with our imagination and memory. Or the poet says, ‘It is like that!’ in which case we see the likeness. All the devices of poetry are efforts to get at the mystery of what things are.”[7]
Posts relating to this can be found here 2008-2009 and here is suggested reading.
[5] Helen Vendler, Poems, Poets, Poetry (Boston: Bedford Books, 1997), x.
[6] So, for example, for one person a poem can make you notice something for the first time—the sea, trees, laundry. For another familiar with these things the poem expresses and confirms an experience—in that magical—“You, too, know what I’m talking about?”—way. Both these pleasures are the gift of poetry.
[7] Dennis Quinn, Iris Exiled: A Synoptic History of Wonder (New York: University Press of America, 2003), 43.



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