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 →


204. Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note: Amiri Baracka

I know, another suicide poem. But this poignant and ends with hope. I write this a week after Amiri Baracka died. His death made me think about his post 9/11 poem, "somebody blew up america". It's quite the polemic. A study in anger--a dream denied (as Langston Hughes observed) just explodes, and Baracka is plenty... Continue Reading →

202. The Glass Essay: Anne Carson

Okay, this is a really long poem. Okay, this poem is very mature and serious.  Not with language, but with ideas and suicide and death.  Not for kids, perhaps, but.... In the previous post, I wrote about how publishers use different covers to attract different markets.  What brought me there was Sylvia Plath's "The Bell... Continue Reading →

192. Self-Pity: D. H. Lawrence

Four weeks until graduation. Cue drama. My career began at a crazy school. It was a private boarding school for behavior problems, and we spent a lot of time in groups talking about our past and feelings; more time spent than we did in the classroom. For these kids, they needed it. We unpacked bags... Continue Reading →

191. Those Winter Sundays: Robert Hayden

My father died last two Tuesdays ago. As odd as it sounds from someone who keeps a poetry blog, I don't immediately look to poetry for inspiration or comfort. The morning after the Boston Marathon bombings, for example, the news on television kept bringing up images for me of the science fiction show "Fringe". Popular... Continue Reading →

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