Kamis, 13 Agustus 2009

Interpreting Poetry Through Music: A Attempt to Redefine Poetry Teaching

Asih Sigit Padmanugraha
Yogyakarta State University

(A paper presented in LIA, August 13, 2009)

Based on the decree of the Dean of the Faculty of Languages and Arts of Yogyakarta State University about the appointment of the skripsi consultant of the English Language and Literature Study Program on March 30, 2009, there were 60 students writing proposals for their final projects. Among those, there were only 14 students who choose literature or only 24% and, unfortunately, in this percentage no one analyzes poetry as the subject of their research. This empirical data show that there are imbalances among concentrations in this study program. In the long run, this situation is problematic since it influences the development of a particular science, which is literature especially poetry, compared to linguistics and translation.
That problem evidently involves the students, the teachers, and teaching-learning process. However, it appears that the last two aspects contribute more to that problem. Most students still think that poetry is ‘scaring’ because of its unfamiliar words, uncommon use of language, imaginative writings, connotative words, sophisticated use of words, etc. In turn, this will result in their poor comprehension and interpretation of poetry. For them, poetry is imaginative and its meaning is beyond their reach. This usually ends in the failure to realize those meanings in their own life or to experience those life values shared in poetry, which is in truth the essence of poetry interpretation. In fact, this is actually not the students’ failure but the teacher’s and the fruitlessness of the teaching leaning process.
Considering those complicated problems above, this paper offers an attempt to redefine the ‘ordinary’ teaching of poetry generally conducted hitherto. It will explore the possibilities of teaching ‘fun’ poetry through music, without losing its essence. Music, especially the everlasting one, is closely related to poetry and is very useful in helping students understand and interpret poetry. They will find it enjoyable at their first encounter and eventually be able to share the values of life offered by the poet, and realize those values into their own life. Truly, this approach is worth applying to have a fruitful teaching and learning process.

Key words: poetry interpretation, music, teaching and learning process

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