229. i thought i knew/i don’t want: Elisabeth Hewer

Why do we deny the truth when it is not only staring us in the face, but punching us in the nose over and over and over? When my son was two years old he had a seizure.  After the first doctor visit I was in denial.  For two weeks he was falling down and... Continue Reading →


225. April Midnight: Arthur Symons

Another poem and poet I do not know.  Welcome to National Poetry Month! The Victorian poem Arthur Symons was the choice of our local high school's Poetry Out Loud representative, Casey Ober.  She went to the state competition and made the Top 10 regional finalists.  She coupled it with Suzanne Buffam's Enough", a pair of... Continue Reading →

220. Good Bones: Maggie Smith

What makes something go viral? It's a good question to ask your students.  If you ask them about "Literature with a capital 'L'" they won't know what you're talking about.  Classics?  Old books?  Books librarians shove in your hand, that have gold seals on them and are not good but good for you?  Personally, I... Continue Reading →


218. At the California Institute of Technology: Richard Brautigan

This generation is picky. No connection is fast enough, or response quick enough coming.  I cannot tell if the irrupting is poor upbringing, indulgence or simply not knowing what delayed gratification is or feels like. Unlike my peers, I do not believe television and computers have ruined this generation.  My students do not need to... Continue Reading →


215. Fire Safety: Joshua Mehigan

Another poem exploring safety, from our year-long look at Maslow (each stage a unit). Three things to take away: First, how does Mehigan capture an everyday object? Why use such a ubiquitous object as the subject of a poem? After looking at this poem, ask students the next day if they noticed the fire extinguishers... Continue Reading →


214. Grip: Jericho Brown

We are in the midst of a unit called "Safety".  It's part of our Maslow year.   What's interesting about "safety" is that everything connects to it, but nothing does directly.  When we did our first unit, Survival, we read "The Most Dangerous Game" and "To Build a Fire" and kids took notes and it... Continue Reading →


211. To Be of Use: Marge Piercy

Last week was the first day of school, so, belatedly, I'd like to remind you of this old post: 105. First Day at School: Roger McGough.  As these posts tend to be more-or-less timeless once posted, this might not make sense in your time-scheme, but the video is worth the click.Along with the start of school, our... Continue Reading →


210. I started Early – Took my Dog -: Emily Dickinson

What do you do with texts that may or may not be sexual?I'm not talking about handling clearly sexual material, like a Judy Blume book or a racy poem. This is more about innuendo, and not clear innuendo but what a reading might interpret from the text.For example, a very good professor I had at... Continue Reading →


205. what your mother tells you now: Mitsuye Yamada

I thought I might find a poem called "Frequently Asked Questions".  The prompt of "Frequenty Asked Questions (about me)" would, I thought, tie together a lot of insights, both concrete and ethereal, in a poet looking to use a modern phrase to explore their inner self.  But no one has yet produced such a work... Continue Reading →


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