Wednesday, November 5, 2008

"I believe the world is beautiful and that poetry, like bread, is for everyone" (Roque Dalton): Why Poetry is Going to Save Me from Winter.

When I taught seventh grade, we studied poetry in the spring: it was the essence of rebirth to me. Longer days, lots of sun, blossoms on the trees and the finest that the English language had to offer. Writing and thinking and reading seemed to just flow out of my being.

Last spring, I taught 8th grade and we didn't have a poetry unit. Last spring, my best friend in the city moved away, following another dear friend and soon to be followed by yet another. It was dark, even with daylight savings time...sometimes I think it lasted right through the summer. But.

The fall has worked it's magic as it always seems to do and I feel inspired to write, read, think and teach. The best news, though, is that the 8th grade has decided to incorporate a poetry unit into December and January. Yesterday I got to plan and imagine and read poems aloud with the amazing women I teach with, and I got all caught up in the beauty and power of poetry once again.

Just the thought of reading poems aloud to my students and writing poems with them and teaching them how poetry can enable us to express, explore and understand the world around us and our place in it seemed to make the days not quite so dark. And though I'm knee deep in writing a picture book for our Social Action Unit, I'm excited about continuing to write--and reclaiming "writer" as an essential part of my identity.

In my researching for this unit, I came across Life Lines, a project sponsored by People send in lines of poetry that have become life lines to them. It is beautiful and inspiring.

So. My hope is that although this unit is over before the worst of winter arrives (February and March), I hope that it stores up enough passion to last through to spring.

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