I wrapped up my National Poetry Month series on Wisława Szymborska at Tweetspeak Poetry this morning. I’m actually feeling a little disappointed that the month is over so soon, and that I’ve finished reading the collection, Poems: New and Collected. I’ll certainly be exploring new options for May. [Read more…] about Two (more) After Wisława Szymborska
I used to write because
there was something I wanted to say.
Then I thought, ‘I will continue to write
because I have not yet said
what I wanted to say’;
but I know now I continue to write
because I have not yet heard
what I have been listening to.
Mary Ruefle, Madness, Rack, and Honey: Collected Lectures
Last week I invited you to enter to win a copy of Tania Runyan’s How to Read a Poem for an English teacher as part of an effort to get this important book onto teacher’s desks across the country. I loved the responses as people shared who they would give the book to if they won:
Mike Geyer captured the spirit of this endeavor, saying
If I happen to get chosen to win this book, I’m going to quickly read it first (I teach a little poetry in my chemistry classes – Frost, The Secret Sits, for example) then pass it along to a 2nd grade teacher in our district who has asked me to speak about poetry to her class since I’ve published several poems. I want kids to learn to love poetry EARLY!
I’m reading poems by Polish poet Wisława Szymborska every day in April as part of our National Poetry Month Poetry Dare at Tweetspeak. I’ve read little, if any, of her work before this month and am finding her poems to be clever, intelligent, and emotionally rich in ways that are very subtle. Maybe sneaky. As I read the poems, I am copying some of them out in order to “touch” the words more physically, and at times, writing poems in response.
I have two posts up so far at Tweetspeak, and two to come. Both feature (and discuss) selections from Szymborska as well as my own contributions (which follow here).
Two of my poems after reading Szymborska:
After reading Szymborska’s “Vocabulary”
Getting a Word in Edgewise After Szymborska’s “Conversation with a Stone”
Your stories lean
soft against the latch,
depths they mean
I stopped by the school yesterday to see my son’s English teacher. We talked about Common Core and standardized tests, research papers and the medieval mural an art student had painted on her wall. And we talked about the Quatrain Wreck, a “how to write a sonnet” infographic we published at Tweetspeak a couple of years ago. It turns out she uses the graphic in her senior literature classes. My older son told her I made it. She was new in the district, we hadn’t met, and she didn’t believe him. (It wouldn’t have been the first time he’d pulled her leg about something.)
There’s a bad word in the sonnet. I apologized for that, but she laughed, saying that it actually helps her students remember, noting that it is the scandal in the works that they read that stays with them the best. Human nature, I suppose. What I hadn’t realized was that she found the Quatrain Wreck by Googling sonnet teaching resources. (I thought my kids had shown it to her.) She wanted resources that would make learning fun and interesting, avoiding what one of our young publicity interns calls “the grim art of teaching poetry.” (read the rest of this post at Tweetspeak Poetry)
Over at Tweetspeak today, we’re daring you to give a copy of How to Read a Poem to an English teacher. To get things going, I have a copy to give away to either an English teacher, or someone who promises to give it away to one. Check out the post over there, and if you want to be entered in the giveaway, come back and leave a comment.
Entries will be accepted until Wednesday, April 16. The winner will be announced Thursday, April 17.
Go a step further? I’m hoping to see a copy of How to Read a Poem given to a teacher in every state. Tweet or share the Tweetspeak post on Facebook or Twitter:
Dare you to give “How to Read a Poem” to an English teacher near you http://wp.me/p2vgeH-5Gb #poetrydare #nationalpoetrymonth
Things I think I have to tell you:
- U.S. addresses only
- Winner will be drawn at random from comments
- No purchase necessary (but really, I want you to buy this book for a teacher if you don’t win)