222. The Magic of Technology: Aneta Brodski

Several years ago, I stumbled upon a YouTube thread where a deaf woman in her twenties was signing/discussing.... I don't know.  I don't sign.  There were no subtitles.  Whatever she was passionately putting out into the world was not for me. It was a bit of a revelation, because I think of everything being for... Continue Reading →


221. The Art of Making Possible: Nancy Scheibner

Is hope trite? My sister shared a parody pro-Hilary Clinton piece, which took me down the rabbit hole I'm sharing now because it ended with this poem.  Back in 1969, when the real Clinton was Welsley's valedictorian speaker, she, too, ended her speech with the last lines of "The Art of Making Possible" (and, being... 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 →

219. Beam 10: Ronald Johnson

Is it cheating to steal part of a post from another teacher and just stick it into my post? The Poetry Foundation published a piece by Eric Selinger titled "Ten Poems I like to Teach".  Some of the poems are familiar, and others are not.  At the very least, it provoked a lively comments section.... Continue Reading →

Stop Using “Poet Voice”: Rich Smith

If you are into students reading poetry out loud (and you should be), take a moment to read this CityArts article "Stop Using 'Poet Voice'" by Rich Smith. On a similar vein of speaking poems, my wife thinks that Garrison Keillor ruins poems daily with his readings on his Writer's Almanac podcast.  It's a great source... Continue Reading →

217. A Word on Statistics: Wislawa Szyborska

I love data more than I do poetry. When I read poetry, I find it intellectually rigorous. I like to do analysis. Or break it down and see how it works. The idea of meter and rhyme and how it comes together--supports the underlying theme--is fascinating. Writing poetry is hard. Poets are builders. Elegant builders.... Continue Reading →

216. Briggsflatts: Basil Bunting

Why, no, that is not a made up name. Remember Dire Straits?  "Walk of Life"?  "Money for Nothing"?  Great band with a lot more going on than those two hits (but they are great songs).  Mark Knopfler, the founder and guitarist of the band, knew Basil Bunting.  The not-yet-frontman was working in a newspaper while... 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 →

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