Category Archives: Poetry

Eurydice

Last week in English 10 we did an experimental project that turned out really neat, so I’m going to brag about it here!

We’ve been reading selections from Ovid’s Metamorphoses using some lesson plans from EDSITEment! to build from. For this plan, we compared and contrasted three versions of the Orpheus & Eurydice myth: one from NewsELA, A. S. Kline’s translation of Ovid’s version, and the poem “Eurydice” by H.D.   At first I wasn’t very excited about HD’s, but as often happens when I analyze a piece of modern poetry, I started to like it more and more each time I read it, and by the time I taught it to the students, I was envisioning a really cool art project to engage them in the poem.  Continue reading Eurydice

ZzzZZzzZ (A Philosophical Interlude)

cast-your-whole-voteWell, we all know that being emotionally drained is… draining, and I’ve basically been too tired today to do… like, anything.

The election’s still got me reeling and yesterday I successfully ignored it and worked on fiction, where I control all outcomes and the good guys (eventually) win, but today I accidentally started listening to NPR and reading blogs and am just… done.

Luckily there’s still comedy.

Me, trying to read Thoreau with 11th grade: And then what if you took the locker out of your binder? Wait. No. Um…
Kid next to me, under his breath: Maybe you need more coffee.
Me, with a sad, knowing laugh: Oh, StudentName, there is No Such Thing as “more coffee.” Trust me. If “more coffee” were the solution to my problem, I would be perfect right now.

So I’m going to go to bed early (read: on time) and tomorrow’s a new day. The sun will come up (partway through my workout) and I will keep doing everything I can in my little corner of the universe to make sure my Black, Mexican, LGBTQ+, female, atheist, and/or disabled students (this covers 99% of my students, btw, without even mentioning how many of them rely on entitlement programs for food and shelter) know that no matter what else happens, I love them and will do everything I can to protect them–starting by helping them learn to express themselves, fine-tune their bullshit detectors, and use evidence to support an argument (that, by the way, is what we’re actually doing in English classes, whether we’re reading Beowulf or The Onion).

Luckily there’s still literature.

Heroes. Satire.

Hmm. Writing as catharsis: suddenly I feel a lot better about charging back into class tomorrow to stomp around insisting to my Creative Writing class that “they / Do not go gentle into that good night” and pulling the American Lit crew, kicking and gnashing their teeth, through the rest of “On Civil Disobedience” (a fortuitous coincidence that we just happened to be dealing with the Transcendentalists this week…).

So, as Thoreau reminds us, we can’t just vote on paper and let that be the end of it. We must do everything we can. Even if it doesn’t feel like much.

All Saints’ Day

14915453_10154367153072415_5818038096005274670_nToday was the Feast of All Saints, where candles are lit and prayers are said and hymns are sung for all of the new saints–i.e., those who have died in the last year. I’m not what you’d call a regular churchgoer (I’m as strange as they come, har har) but I’ve found lately that in church, I can’t help but experience very strong emotion.

I was with my mother (and husband and son, but husband had to go to day care with son because son was NOT about that daycare life and would NOT be cool), and my mother- and father-in-law were singing in the choir.

This has been a rough year–on Facebook I tagged 14 people off the top of my head who have lost someone precious to them over the past year. I spent a lot of the service sniffling from a combination of catharsis and allergies (no it’s not a cold I 100% refuse to acknowledge that it’s a cold shut up it’s allergies).

My father died on December 10th of last year after a long battle with esophageal cancer, a very nasty cancer that he actually beat twice; it was the third recurrence that killed him.

When I think about it now, it’s with a weird mix of devastation and peace.

Continue reading All Saints’ Day

Imitation and Inspiration

spoon river anthologyLast week in American Literature we did one of my favorite projects–unearthed from the vault, so to speak–based on Edgar Lee Masters’ Spoon River Anthology. It’s a collection of poems, each written from the point of view of a former resident (now deceased) of Spoon River. The poems are intertwined, revealing the connections between the lives of the Spoon River-ers, showing town life from various angles.

What could be more fun, for a roomful of high school students, than to imitate that?  Continue reading Imitation and Inspiration