Poetry from the heart shared

By BOB JOHNSON
Register City Editor

Skip Becker loves poetry and is eager to share her passion for the art form.
Becker told a dozen people at Iola Public Library Thursday about how she was exposed to poetry as a toddler and spent an extra year in college to have an opportunity to study under a professor as consumed by poetry as she was.
Her presentation, assisted by Alice Hood, was during an Iola Sesquicentennial event sponsored by Friends of the Library.
Becker submitted that in years past, children found poetry helpful in rote learning in large measure because rhyme and measure make it delightful and easier to recall.
That changed about 50 years ago, Becker said, when “the new math and emphasis on critical thinking” changed the way students were tutored.
“Rote learning focused on the past, through memorization, while new theories focus on the future,” she said.
When poetry, in all its forms, had a more significant role in education, verses used in schools stressed to students “never to give up and to be good,” Becker said.
She spent most of her presentation in recitation of favorite poems, often with dramatic emphasis. Death was a recurring theme in the late 1800s and early 1900s, Becker said, before reading Alfred Noyes’ “The Highwayman.”
Most other readings were lighter, including selections from A.A. Milne, creator of “Winnie the Pooh.”