Even for native English speakers, poetry can be a little intimidating, because it can be difficult to understand instantly. But all you need is a little patience and imagination, and you will see what a great opportunity it can be, for something to do in your free time as well as for improving your English.
The Poetry Archive is a great online resource for people to read and listen to modern English-language poetry. Here poets read their own work, so the sounds and the rhythm of the language become very clear, especially if you read along with them, or, even better, memorise it.
One great poem is “Speech Balloon”, by one of the most respected English poets, Imtiaz Dharker – in the poem she jokes about how some expressions and idioms are totally overused in English, especially the phrase “over the moon”, which means really happy, or delighted. She wants people to know that English is a very rich language, with lots of ways of expressing happiness, so we shouldn’t depend so much on one expression.
This poem is taught to students in English secondary schools, because the language and the idea are both quite simple and conversational, but most importantly it is a good way of getting them to think about the English language and the way they use it. Even native English speakers need to think about improving their vocabulary sometimes, and, if you’re interested, poetry can be a great way of achieving that. Don’t knock it!
If you’d like to improve your English, check out the courses we offer at EC LONDON 30+