227. An American Sunrise: Joy Marjo

My mother always said that I thought too big. My voice is this blog and my teaching, both of which are unremarkable (in my mind). ¬†Yet, I remind myself daily of the novels that have no publisher, the teacher recognition I do not earn or the public policy I am subjected to because I dare... Continue Reading →


212. the genius of the crowd: Charles Bukowski

I don't know if the title is capitalized or not. It is where I got it from, but I suspect that's wrong, or an auto-function of the website. Bukowski is probably not one of the most middle school appropriate poets you will come across, but doesn't mean your students should be denied genius where it... Continue Reading →

195. Preliminary Report from the Committee on Appropriate Postures for the Suffering: Jon Davis

In her book "On Violence" the philosopher Hannah Arendt postulates that bureaucracies become the ideal birthplaces of violence towards others since they are defined as a "rule by no one" against whom to argue. I was thinking of this while sitting in a committee meeting talking about "Action Plans". Every three years our school writes... Continue Reading →


170. I am Waiting: Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Reading poems out loud is an important part of making poetry relevant. Much of the damage the image of poetry suffers is at the hands of teachers who fear it, and fear how the students will react to it. Instead of grappling with real ideas, students are left with simplistic shape poems and rushed haikus.... Continue Reading →


150. Chicago: Carl Sandburg

I love the first booming line: Hog Butcher to the World. This is the first poem I remember that wasn't a) cute, b) historically important, or c) I was supposed to like. It was in an anthology and the page opened and there it was. We were not assigned it--growing up in New England, the... Continue Reading →


143. Let America Be America Again: Langston Hughes

I was tickled by this article in the Manchester Union Leader about Rick Santorum kicking off his 2012 Presidential Campaign. The day before his team launched the slogan "Fighting to Make America America Again" (note the second America is in italics in the slogan). A poetically literate student noted the similarities with this Langston Hughes'... Continue Reading →


122. “To Those Of My Sisters Who Kept Their Naturals”–never to look a hot comb in the teeth: Gwendolyn Brooks

First of all, I am not sure if the way I posted the title is correct; the quotation marks followed by the qualifier.... You might want to check that beyond what I did. I am sitting here watching my wife watch Chris Rock's superb "Good Hair", a documentary on Black America and its relationship with... Continue Reading →


119. At the Galleria Shopping Mall: Tony Hoagland

Thanksgiving is followed by Black Friday, and they have become intertwined in American tradition. For those who have brushed off the religious meaning of Christmas that holiday has ceased having any meaning. In the past, it seemed to at least receive a token "goodwill towards men" sentiment and a nod towards giving being greater than... Continue Reading →


118. The Blue Seuss: Terrance Hayes

Terrance Hayes just won the National Book Award for poetry for his book "Lighthead". You can buy it here. Hazzah! Below is an older poem from his book Wind in a Box. I tend to embed literacy in my instruction. For me, that means using it to teach Social Science. Hayes accomplishes a neat trick... Continue Reading →


Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑