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 →


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 →


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 →


213. Anecdote of the Jar: Wallace Stevens

Last week I spent two days at a conference on standards based learning, hosted by the New England League of Middle Schools and run by Rick Wormelli. Wormelli's writings are well known, but his live show is just that--a show. If you liked Robin Williams in "Aladdin" or "Dead Poets Society", this is two days... 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 →


207. A Refusal to Mourn the Death, by Fire, of a Child in London: Dylan Thomas

Look, there's only so much grading you can do. And when you assign writing, you might as well resign yourself to a long week of commenting. After such an assignment, I offer up work that is easy and quick to grade. One such assignment is to find an author interview. Students choose a book or... Continue Reading →


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