• Teach This Poem – Academy of American Poets

     

    The Academy of American Poets

    A great resource for anyone in creative bibliotherapy! I wanted to share their news of an award they just received and just rejoice in their merits, what a great poetry organisation!

    The 2018 Award for Innovations in Reading Prize for Teach This Poem.

    I used this resource not to teach a poem in a school setting, but to discover a new poem and get hints about how best to use it with the group – whichever group I happen to be working with.

    When I select poems to bring to a group, I use a few resources, the main one my own memory.I connect a few poets, themes, and the muse provides something too..

    Imagination brings it home and I have a session usually with 5 or 6 pieces and exercises for people.They will be the planned content for my Wee Read expressive reading and writing sessions, that usually last about one and a half to two hours.But things can often change from the plan. That depends on who is there,- how I feel, or, what I intuit from the feel of the group. It’s not an art that is easily taught. Practising it is the only way to get the hang of it I think.

    Another great source from the Academy of American Poets that really helped me to build up a store of poets and poems I can use is the ‘Poem a Day’. You can sign up for a daily poem sent to your email inbox. Worth it just for a bit of inspiration!  When you are starting to facilitate poetry sessions, you want to have plenty of resources to have at hand. So a daily reading schedule for yourself is a big help, and the daily poems from the Academy can be a great boost as well.

    Just as I was browsing there today, I see a celebration of Walt Whitman’s birthday by Allen Ginsberg  

    A double-dunt as we say in Glasgow.Enjoy reading and browsing this brilliant website, plus it has audio and videos.

     

    Walt Whitman

    One’s-self I sing, a simple separate person,
    Yet utter the word Democratic, the word En-Masse.
    Of physiology from top to toe I sing,
    Not physiognomy alone nor brain alone is worthy for the
    Muse, I say the Form complete is worthier far,
    The Female equally with the Male I sing.
    Of Life immense in passion, pulse, and power,
    Cheerful, for freest action form’d under the laws divine,
    The modern man I sing.

     

     

     

  • Where Do I Come From?

    The questions, ‘ where do you come from?’ or,  ‘what does your father do?’, are useful in prompting your writing. I wrote this today:

    I just started reading ‘Germinal ‘by Emile Zola, inspired by watching a film about artist Cezanne and Zola, who were friends. Germinal is about mining and poverty. It’s written in what Zola called a Naturalistic style, it’s very realistic! I skipped the long introduction, but expect to find out more about Zola’s life and politics as I read on.
    Coming from Blantyre, a mining village in Lanarkshire, reading this has made me remember that my dad and two grandfathers were miners, also my step-Grandad, Wattie who helped to bring me up. I had a massive input from him ; he was a communist.
    The telling of this tale has made me actually go into the mine and scrunch myself into a ball, hunkering down under the walls to chip out some coal.(Imaginatively). It’s fairly harrowing.
    So, from this,
    I wrote a poem today:

    Buried beneath the earth,
    without a breath of fresh air,
    miners coal-tapping.

    Fearing the world will fall
    on their heads… suffocating,
    miners fighting for all.

    Squatting; back-breaking work,
    no other choice for a living.
    Compressed; lung-black; stuck.

    My father and grandfathers sat there
    Enduring. Direst of dire.
    Nae wonder they were dour.

    Their only fire,
    a lamp.
    no dry places, all were damp.

    And, empty of all uplift,-
    but walking out of there,
    believing heaven waits.

    C. Cather

     

    Related image
    Harry Fain, Coal Loader