I know it's difficult to get students to understand, and therefore appreciate, poetry. It's challenging to get them to understand that it's more than rhyming couplets or quatrain stanzas written with an ABAB rhyme scheme. Yet, it's not an impossible challenge.
I've had success helping my students enjoy reading and listening to poetry and, more importantly, discovering their own inner poet. One of the best things my school does each year is introduce students to a new (for them) form of poetry, slam poetry. The best way I can describe it is to say it's an in-your-face poetry reading that is centered around an emotional experience of the poet. When performed well, it's simply amazing to watch.
For the past eleven years we've brought in former national and international slam champion, Gayle Danley, to conduct slam poetry workshops with our students. She begins the week-long workshop with a one-of-a-kind performance of her slam poems. This is a must-see performance! Students watch Gayle perform her poems, and then throughout the week she visits our classrooms to help the students create their own slam poems. The visit culminates with students' slam performances, which are always quite memorable.
Gayle is an incredibly gifted slam poet. She's a true wordsmith who has a unique and effective way of inspiring students. You should check her out, but be warned ... you and your students are not going to view poetry the same way again.