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 →

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 →


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 →


188. Each Moment a White Bull Steps Shining Into the World: Jane Hirschfield

In looking for a copy of Tomas Transtromer's poem "Tracks" for my last post, I found this Hirschfield poem. I only read it because I had just come from a YouTube video of her reading "Tracks", which I posted. Small world, poetry. I am posting this in January. In Vermont, it is cold and the... Continue Reading →


147. What I Would Give: Rafael Campo

If you keep track of such things, you might notice that it has been awhile since the last post and this one. I am not inspired. In much of anything. The past six months have been listless, with my enjoying my own kids but little else. Numb. Not moribund, but that zest of a hopeful... Continue Reading →


140. The Masque of Anarchy: Percy Bysshe Shelley

This one is a little longer than any thus far. In the case of Whitman, I will take a piece from "Leaves of Grass" and let it stand alone, but this poem is different (unlike much of Whitman's brilliance, this moves forward). Shelley wrote this in response to the Peterloo Massacre, where cavalry charged into... Continue Reading →


137. Hands: Sarah Kay

Sarah Kay is a spoken word poet recently featured at the TED conference. For those who are not up-to-the-second on the hip-technology bandwagon, TED was an intimate refuge of powerful Bill Gates types (including Bill Gates!) that invited speakers that inspire, provide insight and could be catalysts to the new awakening of the white village... Continue Reading →


128. Snow Day: Billy Collins

Tomorrow is a snow day here. The snow on the map stretches from Arizona to here in Vermont. Our superintendent called it at three in the afternoon today. After two years without a snow day, here we are. Yeah. Someone should write a poem about the schools in the south that cancel with an inch... Continue Reading →


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