If you're looking for some profound musing on craft to pass out to your graduate students, this ain't it.
If you're looking for one man's subjective account of teaching poetry to high school students in a public school, you've come to the right spot.
Let me start with a rhetorical question, because we all know how well rhetorical questions work at the beginning of a piece of writing: Why is it that two weeks into any poetry unit I teach I suddenly want to strangle myself with my own tongue?
First of all, I'm a poet. Scratch that. I write poetry but cringe whenever someone uses the label "poet" to describe their self. There's something so very, very pretentious about it. As if to say: Despite the fact that I practice a craft that has far more practitioners than readers, I still manage to maintain an air of self-importance that can't be penetrated by a diamond cutter.
Anyhow, my last three books have, indeed, been collections of poetry, so when the poetry unit comes rolling around each year, it's not something I'm entirely ill-prepared to teach.
In fact, each time I start a poetry unit, I begin it with an entirely misguided and delusional sense of optimism. I think, This is it. This time I'm going to hook 'em. This time I have all of these great new poems by all of these great young poets in my arsenal, and dammit, these kids are going to learn to love poetry. To hell with those dead white men and suicidal white chicks; this stuff is new and fresh and vital and in touch with these kids' worlds.
I'm actually starting to accept the fact that the vast majority of people in this world---aside from, apparently, the Chileans---could care less about poetry. Regardless of what I do as a writing or literature teacher, every time I put a poem in front of a student, they're going to look up at me like I've placed a turd on their desk.
Listen, I'm not saying that poetry isn't important. I believe it is fresh and vital and contains the potential to reach people in ways that no other art form can. However, this does not change the fact that few people read it, and even fewer care to learn how.
Does this mean we should stop teaching poetry in public schools (you should end with a rhetorical question, as well)? No. Not at all. Like we do when we write our poems, we need to forge ahead and lower our shoulders against everything that seems logical and impossible. While, for most people, the turd will likely never turn into a vibrant pulsing slice of someone's life and experiences and observations, a sneak peek into the mind of a true and vital seeker, it does matter.
Strange yet exuberant, the poems do matter. And that, my friends, is called "movement."