After the holiday break, I always start a poetry unit. Poetry is my favorite, and it's an easy follow-up to the research project of DOOM which is done before Christmas. The research project of DOOM results in my students working really hard and me grading eleventy-billion essays that by and large disregard everything I've taught them.
At the start of the poetry unit, I teach poetic terms and literary devices, and then to emphasize these, we do a Music is Poetry lesson. In the past, I've played the song "The Wind Cries Mary" and have the students go through and identify all uses of similes, metaphors, personification, etc. This song is an excellent choice because it is chock full of them, as even the title is a personification. That said, this song is not an excellent choice because every year, I hear choice comments such as, "Wasn't Jimi Hendrix a drug addict? Are you telling us it's okay to do drugs?" To which I say, "Yes kids, now shut up and go smoke some crack!" Also, I have yet to find a recording that doesn't sound like it was being sung into a tin can at the end of a wind tunnel.
This is where I turn to you and say, "Help me, internet, you're my only hope!" Can you think of any songs that demonstrate a wide-range of literary devices, such as figurative language, that are also school appropriate? I started looking through Sufjan Stevens' songs last year, and then I just got lazy and played Jimi Hendrix again. Please, please, send any suggestions my way! They can be old songs, new songs, whatever, I don't care, I just want to demonstrate to my students that poetry isn't just written by old dead people, that they can poetry in anything.