blog poetry | 4min Read

Making the Best Of Poetry – The CCD Method

Published on July 27, 2022

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Making the Best Of Poetry – The CCD Method

Avanti Nayal
Jamnabai Narsee School

A lot of people are intimidated by poems (especially the ones that are written in archaic English). Honestly, I do not blame them – everyone has their own set of strengths and weaknesses. It is only human to think of certain challenges as daunting; It is only human to be averse to the idea of delving into the depths of what one is most scared of. However, the poets who write poetry are humans too – even they are flawed beings who experience a wide range of emotions. They too desire to frolic around with their pets and gaze at a sky full of stars. It is this humanness that’s reflected in their poetry, and that is what we must strive to look for and resonate with.

I have always sworn by the CCD method in order to make the best of poetry – no, I don’t mean the cafe coffee day method for those wondering. The CCD method stands for Context, Contemplation and Discussion. We will explore each of these in the following paras!


Remember those ‘introducing the poet’ pages that used to be there in our English textbooks before every poem? They were there for a reason. Being cognizant of the socio-economic/political situation of the world and the personal life of the authors could help us understand poetry better – thereby helping us make the best of it. It is akin to asking your friend for some more context when they ask you for advice on a particular topic. The fact of the matter is that poetry writing is a cathartic process, and writers often use it as a means to express their desires, thoughts, grievances etc. Emotions add a sense of humanness to almost anything under the sun and poetry is no different. To understand these nuances better, the context of the poem must be understood. 

For eg- Robert Frost had a rather tragic life. Two years before he wrote the poem ‘stopping by the woods on a snowy evening’, he admitted his younger sister into a mental asylum. He himself suffered from depression as did his wife. He had to look after his sibling, children and wife whilst grappling with a multitude of problems. A lot of critics believe that the last line of the aforementioned poem hints at the fact that he has a plethora of responsibilities to shoulder – it seems like he is desperate to take a break and admire nature, but he cannot  do so due to his professional and personal life. Even poets experience conflicting emotions just like us!


There is always more to poetry than what meets the eye. In order to understand the nitty gritty of poetry, it is important to avoid generic thoughts. Contemplating the ideas that the poet is trying to convey is perhaps the best way to make the best of poetry. Reading the poem and mulling over your own thoughts on it is important. Thereafter, one can look up the words and concepts that are incomprehensible or intriguing. At this juncture, it is also  important to understand that poems are a reflection of the poet’s thoughts, and like most humans, poets too have a variety of thoughts (often on the same subject). Ruminating on the poem that you want to understand might take a while – poetry takes time; poetry needs patience.

For eg –  The Darkling Thrush by Thomas Hardy deals with quite a few themes, and if one were to form an opinion on it just by giving it a cursory glance, they would be compelled to believe that it is just another poetry about how hopeless our world is. However, it is certainly more than just that. The symbolism, the religious allusions and the context make it so very profound. For instance, the use of the word evensong in the poem makes it seem like there is some kind of divine intervention at play – the thrush isn’t just a bird who is merry. In fact, he has every reason not to be so since he is frail and gaunt. However, he is joyous because he is aware of some divine intervention that the poet isn’t aware of.


I have often seen my friends shy away from discussing poetry. A lot of people do it either because they are afraid of not contributing enough to the discussion or because they think it isn’t worth the effort. However, I have garnered so many insights each time I have discussed my favorite poems with those who adore them as much as I do. Poetry is subjective, and everyone interprets it differently based on their experiences and background. The more perspective your garner, the better you will understand the poem. 

For eg- It is like two people cutting a fruit in different ways. The fruit (or the essence of the poem) is the same, but the look (or the outlook in case of them poem) is different. That’s precisely why discussions are so pivotal to the understanding of poetry.

At the end of the day, it is upto you and only you to figure out a process that works well for you. Once you do that, making the best of poetry would surely be a cakewalk.

Poetically yours,

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Poetry & its Importance: beyond the field & space of arts

Published on July 23, 2022

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Poetry & its Importance: beyond the field & space of arts

Most people consider poetry to be just a form of art. But, only a few think of poetry as an expression in the form of words, syllables, rhythms, and sounds. It is arguably the oldest form of expression or art form (as one calls it), dating back thousands of years.

The Origins of American Poetry

Poetry first began during the caveman times, as seen in the cave paintings in Laurex, France. It has traveled, becoming immensely famous in the West, especially in America. 

American Poetry first arose as American colonists’ efforts to add their voices to English poetry in the 17th century. It has now become an essential part of their literature books. Every 1 out of 10 people in America learns poetry, making it culturally famous amongst themselves and for people worldwide. 

But why is American Poetry still so intact and famous, unlike the rest, which is gradually disappearing? It is often believed that Americans consider poetry to be important as it helps them understand and appreciate the world around them in a better way. It helps in biding their culture and showcasing their history, usually confined to museums. It is often believed that there is something about the human truth which is best expressed through poetry, as it has the power to reach us both emotionally and intellectually. This is very well evident in American poetry, as Americans, even in the past, have used to express their true feelings on some historical evidence through reciting poems. This includes any demise, happiness, or mourning, like the 9/11 act of president Lincoln’s assassination. 

Why is Poetry Important?

But the pertinent question that lies is why is poetry so important to us? Poetry is perhaps one of the most versatile literary forms since it conveys great emotion, lyrical aesthetics, and a story. It is just like a midpoint between songs and stories, and poetry is evident in our daily speech. It uses words known to all of us but in a sequence and order that surprises us from our everyday speech rhythms and linear thought processes. Its effect is to illuminate our lives and breathe new life, new seeing, and new tasting into the world we thought we knew. 

Moreover, it allows children and adults alike to explore the subject of the English language. Mixing words in sentences to find the right fit creates a sense of rhythm and flow. Poetry is real. We have written it to express genuine emotion that is usually hidden. Poets write to show that people have felt certain things before that someone else may be experiencing at another time. A poem allows you to see beyond the surface. Sometimes this is done through metaphors or other abstract ways, which cause you to think. Beauty can be expressed, and art can be perhaps emphasized through poetry. 

Poetry is like a life lesson, as it makes you emphatic towards people, social issues etc. Furthermore, it shed’s a “sideways” light on the world, so the truth sneaks up on you. In a very metaphorical sense, I believe poetry is like a counselor that helps us understand one another. Leading us away from hate to love, from violence to mercy and pity.

Moreover, poetry is a kind of multi-dimensional language. It is directed at the whole person, not just at his understanding. It must involve the reader’s senses, intelligence, emotions and imagination. This not only helps people understand one another, but also wider their knowledge and understanding using emotive language. 

Finally, poetry also helps develop biologically as it is scientifically proven that poems help in the relaxation of mind. It helps in the expansion of the brain, which opens the chamber to new thoughts and perspectives, which is not only englighting but also comforting and soothing. 

So, why join this Poetry in America Intensive programme? Well, I think it is pretty clear how important it is to learn poetry, and after this, I am sure you wouldn’t want to miss this great opportunity! You get to meet and learn from experts you’d never want to miss. 

Don’t Forget, while learning Poetry, you will be eligible for other perks, including learning under Harvard and ASU professors, earning transferable credits from Arizona State University and creating your poem or another art form focused on a social issue. I would not miss this opportunity if I were a high school student. Go check out now on our website:


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5 reasons to join the Poetry in America Intensive Programme

Published on July 22, 2022

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5 reasons to join the Poetry in America Intensive Programme

1. Learn how poetry intersects with other art forms like music, rap, dance, sports etc and how one can express their emotions through it.

Poetry is a means of self-expression which in today’s world has found several other channels such as rap, music, dance, sports and more as well. For me, it is dance and it serves as a form of therapy oftentimes not just self-expression. This is what poetry does as well. It is a beautiful art which is enhanced even more when found in the intersection with other forms of self-expression! This programme will streamline the expression of emotions, feelings and thoughts in your writing. 

Furthermore, the intersection between poetry and other forms of art like hip-hop, ballet, jazz and more will be prevalent as the Poetry in America Intensive Programme progresses. You will be learning with jazz pianist Herbie Hancock, poet Sonia Sanchez, and a group of students from Harlem, New York, in the study of Langston Hughes’s Harlem, studying alongside hip hop legend Nas and friends as they discuss Nas’s iconic song “N.Y. State of Mind”, joining basketball stars Shaquille O’Neal, Pau Gasol, and Shane Battier as they explore the love of the game through the lens of Edward Hirsch’s great basketball poem, “Fast Break.”

Moreover, you will get to witness actor Cynthia Nixon, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and poet Marie Howe as they explore Emily Dickinson’s “I cannot dance upon my toes,” a journey into what musical, theatrical, & literary performances all have in common and examine Robert Pinsky’s “Shirt” alongside young fashion designers, as well as fashion icons Stuart Weitzman, Johnson Hartig, and Betty Halbreich. 

I honestly did not know of a lot of these people but after searching up about them, I was in awe. You all will learn so much from these legends and will be grateful for the skills you will pick up, which are essential and will come in handy throughout your life. 

2. Learn under Professors from Harvard and Arizona State University.


Elisa New is the Director and Host of Poetry in America, the director of the Center for Public Humanities at Arizona. State University, director of Verse Video Education, and Powell M. Cabot Professor of American Literature at Harvard University. 

New created Poetry in America, a PBS series, to bring poetry into living rooms and onto screens of all kinds. Guests include Joe Biden, Herbie Hancock, Gloria Estefan, Shaquille O’Neal, Elena Kagan, & Nas. Along with the series, New produces educational materials on American poetry for all ages—from middle- and high-school students, to K-12 teachers, to lifelong learners—distributed by Harvard University, Amplify Education, and Arizona State University.


Ross Weissman is a poet, educator, and entrepreneur. His poetry and translations have appeared in Blue Lyra Review, Exchanges, Caliban Online, Pusteblume, and elsewhere.

As both a poet and educator, he values the diverse life experiences, contexts, and voices of each of his students. This has motivated his work in entrepreneurship too, having served as a founding team member of an environmental education summer camp in the Arctic Circle, a boutique leadership development firm in Vancouver, Canada, and a global ed-tech company in Boston, MA. He holds his master’s degree in education from Harvard, where he also served as a teaching fellow and researcher on a range of projects with humans and birds!

These professors are absolutely amazing at the work they do and their work has left me fascinated. They are going to positively impact everyone they mentor and interact with and hopefully, it includes everyone reading this blog as well!

3. Earn a transferable ASU College-level credit while in High School.

College credits are used as a metric to award students academically in return for the effort they put in their coursework, along with the number of hours dedicated to finishing a particular course. Poetry in America Intensive is the first program for high schoolers in India that confers you one ASU credit which can be transferred to a college or university of your choice!

4. Learn the art of poetry amongst other budding poets in the country.

You will not be alone in this programme in regard to your passion for poetry. You will be learning and flourishing in the presence of other budding and talented poets from across the country as well! You will get a chance to enhance vocabulary, sentence formation, syntax, and creativity. Moreover, you will learn the essential skills that will help you incorporate Argumentative and Expository rhetoric within your writing. Interacting with a diverse group of students will allow you to explore different perspectives and opinions as well! 

Viewing issues and topics from other perspectives is so important when you are developing your argumentative skills and working along with others is bound to teach you essential skills like teamwork, collaboration, negotiation and more. 

5. Create your own poem or another art form focused on a social issue

The final day will comprise of collaboration with fellow students and aspiring poets in order to develop a poem or absolutely any other work of art that addresses a social issue. You will be harnessing all your creative powers to inspire change. 

From the content I have been exposed to, I believe that literature and art are extremely powerful ways of bringing about change and inspiring the youth.

This brings me to what Alice Osborn, a renowned poet, singer-songwriter, educator, and book editor, has said about poetry- “Poetry is so important because it helps us understand and appreciate the world around us. Poetry’s strength lies in its ability to shed a “sideways” light on the world, so the truth sneaks up on you. No question about it. Poetry teaches us how to live. Poetry is like the Windex on a grubby car window—it bares open the vulnerabilities of human beings so we can all relate to each other a little better.” 

I instantly connect with this even as an economics major! It has been put absolutely beautifully and brings out the essence of the goal of the Poetry in America Intensive Programme that will make you feel a multitude of emotions, express yours, and drive change. 

P.S. This programme is happening in India for the first time ever and had I still been in high school, I would be the first to apply and so should you!!

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Getting Started With (And Acing) Poetry Writing

Published on June 30, 2022

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Getting Started With (And Acing) Poetry Writing

-Avanti Nayal
Jamnabai Narsee School

The process of writing poetry is as personal and unique as the poem itself

Writing poems may seem daunting to some, while it may seem like a cakewalk to the rest. Irrespective of which category you belong to, I hope you’re able to take something away from this article (it sounds utterly fancy, but in reality, I am typing this on my laptop while sitting in my pj’s).

Poetry writing is as enjoyable as it is cathartic. How one perceives poetry (or any kind of literature for that matter) is highly subjective. Obviously, even the process of poetry writing varies from person to person. Many a time, people have asked me “how do you write poems?” Or “how to write good poetry?” This question usually stumps me because there is no one size fits all answer to this question. In order to understand what works best for you, you must start writing and figure it out for yourself. 

In this article, I wouldn’t want to give you a step by step guide to write good poems. Instead, I would like to discuss a few things that you must focus on in order to zero down on the process that works best for you. Do bear in mind that the only way to get started with poetry writing is to get started with poetry writing- pick up the pen that has been lying next to your bed for ages and start scribbling things down. You will figure it out along the way, but you need to take the first step in order to get somewhere!

The 3 questions you must ask yourself :

Why do I want to write poetry?

Some of my contemporaries write poems merely for fun, some write it because it is a cathartic experience and few of them write in order to publish their work someday- all of these choices are equally valid and significant. It is important to introspect and figure out a purpose( it doesn’t have to be a lofty one, frivolous ones work too – as long as you’re happy ). In my opinion, writing for a purpose not only takes the quality of the poetry up a notch but also helps people stay motivated throughout the process of writing – I assure you, it can be quite tedious at times. Indulging in poetry writing for fun is vastly different from writing a weekly/monthly column. So before you embark on this wondrous journey, pause for a moment and ask yourself the questions that philosophers have been asking themselves for ages- what’s the purpose of this?

What kind of an external setting do I need in order to write a poem?

Honestly, If you took me to Willy Wonka’s factory, I’d probably pen down the best poem I have ever written, but alas, that is not to be! Jokes aside, where we write and when we write matters more than we can fathom. Case in point, I am writing this piece at 3 am whilst listening to ‘chandni raat’ by Ali Sethi. I am most productive at night – Mumbai exudes a serene and soothing vibe at night, and as someone who is sometimes bothered by the cacophony of the city, a calm and peaceful environment is essential for me if I am to write. On the other hand, my friend simply can’t digest the fact that I prefer writing at night to writing during the day. Her groggy and delirious self cannot do even an iota of work after sunset. Some of the best poems that I have written have been written in gardens, quaint cafes and libraries. Definitely do pay attention to the kind of environment that appeals to the writer in you

Which topics do I usually gravitate towards?

This would be particularly relevant to you if you intend on publishing your work. If you tend to gravitate towards a particular topic often and/or if the best poems that you’ve ever written focus on a particular theme, then congrats, you have found your forte! For the record, there is absolutely no harm in not having a forte. However, if you do have one, it is easier to focus on your strengths whilst honing your skills in order to work on your weaknesses. Exploring the various nuances of the theme of your choice is perhaps as intellectually stimulating as stepping out of your comfort zone, and maintaining a balance between the two helps an artist grow in every way possible.

Bonus post-script- my experience and a piece of my heart

The first poem I ever wrote –
On moving on

I am leaving behind all the memories I made,
And slowly but eventually,
They all shall fade.

But the feeling!Ah the feeling!
That shall always sail in my heart
Grieving but dancing 
Crying but singing

But just as the sun always shines
And the wind always blows
The heart always pines
And as it pines,it seeks.

New memories shall be your bait
Fresh beginnings are coming your way
A fresh start awaits
Let the heart not grieve!
For a fresh start awaits,a fresh start awaits….

I started writing approximately 4 years ago, and though I am still an amateur, I was a complete novice back then. One fine day, I just picked up my diary and wrote down everything that came to mind at that moment. It was a process full of trial and error, but eventually, it worked out well for me. In the process of writing poetry (and figuring out which method of poetry writing works best for me), I became better acquainted with myself. There is no 5 step guide to poetry writing that will work for every single person in the world. The best way is to figure it out for yourself by starting small and paying close attention to what entices you the most. Most of all, do not forget to have fun!

Keep writing, keep shining.

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