Showing posts from September, 2011



If I Were A Wanderer


Roadside Poetry

Earlier this week I lead my creative writing students through the creation of a four-line, twenty-characters-a-piece poem inspired by one of the four seasons. Why? Oh, because of this small little fantastically awesome thing that’s happening up in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, called Roadside Poetry. I’d stumbled upon RP's website and mission in August, and I immediately knew it was something I’d use in my classroom. I mean, a short poem, a challenging riddle-like form, a stretch of pavement, and four billboards? Surely one of those would get teenagers writing. It had worked for me.

The happy news is that my own submission to Roadside Poetry has been accepted for this autumn. In a few short days, the beginnings of 90,000 sets of eyes will drive past my verses and maybe, hopefully, read them, think about beauty instead of dinner, see the leaves instead of their cell phones, consider change as an image instead of a stress. Paul Carney, the coordinator of Roadside Poetry, said that he want…

Tiny Dancers



Today I have returned to my students. I'm always surprised, after the exhaustion of spring, to discover how much I've missed them, how excited I am to be back in the classroom, teaching.

I've spent the past month preparing for the next nine, and somewhere between notes on A Farewell to Arms and rethinking my lead-in lesson on perspective, I reread the critical thesis I wrote two summers ago. I called it "Landing: A Focus on Place in Flyover Fiction." In it, I examined first place--how it's created in writing, effective techniques, etc.--and second those writers from my flyover state who seem to have a handle on such things. I wrote it as a writer for other writers. But this time, because of the headspace I was in, I read it as a teacher, and my planning from that day on changed.

Later, I read in the most recent issue of Orion Erik Reece's essay "The Schools We Need." He talked about many things, but the paragraph that stood out to me was this:

Types of Clouds