Archive for the ‘education’ Tag

Pirene’s Fountain 2011   Leave a comment

This image was taken in 1986 by Thierry Noir a...

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To read the poem, click here

Middle school is never easy. It’s especially tough when you’ve always been a little socially awkward. As I was. And, ok, continue to be. I think most writers, most creative people, live within their minds to a degree that interacting with other people isn’t always easy. Add to that an embarrassing childhood illness, and you’ve got a made for tv movie in the making.

Or, in my case, fodder for good poetry. A great example is the poem Pirene‘s Fountain published of mine earlier this year, entitled “When the Wall Came Down”. The wall of course refers to one of the big historical moments during my youth, Perestroika, and the tearing down of the Berlin Wall. Also, great fodder. Especially when you combine it with preteen angst.

Today, make a list of all the defining historical moments of your youth. Thinks about where you were, what you were doing, how it impacted you, how it didn’t. Start brainstorming how one thing mirrored the other, how history could be used as a metaphor for the first person you kissed, the bully that pushed you into the mud, the joy of making the soccer team, the defeat of not gaining a part in the school play.



Visions and Voices   Leave a comment

Typical elementary school classroom.

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You can read and or listen to this poem here

I work, every day, with children. I have three of my own to keep me occupied, but I also work as a middle school librarian. When I wrote this poem, I was working in an elementary school, in the library but also working part time with autistic children. In a classroom setting, where everyone is autistic, you can really see what they mean by the spectrum, not one child had the same autism as any of the others. Even the ones that were related. The only way to truly understand what this disorder is, how it affects those that are diagnosed with it, as well as their families and friends, you must get to know them, more than one. People still hear the word and think Rain Man, not Temple Grandin.

So, I wrote this poem, which doesn’t mention autism, and could refer to any child left out, left behind in some way. But it was one particular autistic child who inspired me to sit down and write.

Catching Up…   2 comments

Students taking a computerized exam

Image by Extra Ketchup via Flickr

Will be hard to do. Taking the GRE, and the extra study time I put in right before it, sucked up all the energy I had to write yesterday. I could tell you about the essays I wrote for that, but I’m sworn to secrecy. Seriously, they might take my grade away if they even knew I was talking to you.  They even made me spit out my own gum, substitute one of their own hard candies, and then throw away the wrapper right in front of them.

I have ideas for words like chicanery and skulduggery, so if you’re needing a prompt to get you through the weekend, there you go.

Good night and good luck. Write on!

Concelebratory Shoehorn Review   Leave a comment

The Concelebratory Shoehorn Review is a blogazine that publishes by invitation only, and I have had the privilege to be asked twice.  The most recent time, they published four more of the poems inspired by David Foster Wallace’s dictionary, a collection I fondly call my 3 dollar word poems. In this issue you will find “You Obtund Me”, “Myopic Stipple”, “Such a Nannicock”, and “Lay Offs Induce Catalepsy”.

The nickname 3.00 word came from my poetry professor in college, Dr. Daniel Donaghy, who once told me during an independent study that I should never use a 3 dollar word in my poetry when a 2.00 one would do the same job in half the time. At the time, I was shoving as many heavy words as I could into the lines of my verse, something I was guilty of doing in my every day conversation as well. These days, since most of the people I converse with on a regular basis are under the age of sixteen, I tend to keep the words over 2 syllables to a minimum, otherwise I have to send my children and students running to the dictionary every five minutes.  I have taken Dr. D’s advice to heart, on these matters as well as others, and have become a better poet for it. As you’ll notice in these poems in particular, I keep the big words in the title, and then use the body of the poem to paint a picture of the big word’s meaning.

Do you know what obtund, myopic, nannicock, and catalepsy mean? Spend some time looking them up, and writing out your own definitions.