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 →


156. Our Lady of Perpetual Help: April Lindner

A poetry pairing. This is from a section of the New York Times called "The Learning Network". There is some good stuff here, although the Times' lesson plans are a bit hit-or-miss. You can see the original, and access other lessons, here. Of Linder's poem, poet Ted Kooser writes, "I am especially fond of what... 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 →


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 →


109: Autobiography in Five Short Chapters: Portia Nelson

I often don't like poems like this... for no reason other than I am insecure in my ability to judge poetic worth on many levels and so I trust the canon (don't tell me to trust my gut; I have higher standards). I was looking for some information about Nancie Atwell's "Naming the World: A... Continue Reading →


97. Knows How to Forget!: Emily Dickinson

As graduation rolls around (again) I look for school and reflective poems. Here is one from Amherst. You can find others here. Emily Dickinson FYI. First, she did not title her poems, but the first line is often used as the title. In the source I lifted this from it is simply listed as "433",... Continue Reading →


89. The Secret Heart: Robert Peter Tristram Coffin

For nearly two years I was loosely associated with Wells College in Aurora, New York; that is to say that I dated someone who went there. My sister had taught there for one year, and I had visited when it was still an all women's college, met a girl, and wound up living on campus... Continue Reading →


81. Solitude: Ella Wheeler Wilcox

The drama of adolescence. Is this not over-the-top enough to count as hyperbole? Brain development at this point is interesting. In adolescence, the human brain moves from thinking only of itself (what do I want) to realizing that other people have thoughts, too (I want ice cream; everyone must want ice cream). Unfortunately, the adolescent... Continue Reading →


75. Advice From A Speedskater: Priscila Uppal

Uppal has a number of fun poems about the Olympics. She's a poet-in-residence for the Canadian Athletes Now Fund (CAN-Fund), as well as a poet and professor at York University. You can read more about her and her poetry here. Below is a sample of her Olympic poetry. As I wrote in my last post,... Continue Reading →


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