Friday, April 07, 2006

Opportunity for Poetry Teachers!

This forwarded to me this morning:


The Favorite Poem Project, in cooperation with the Boston University
School of Education, is accepting applications for the fifth annual
Poetry Institute for Educators at Boston University, July 17-21, 2006.

We invite teachers and teacher/administrator teams across grade
levels--elementary, middle and high school--to apply. The Institute
seeks a range of participants: new and experienced teachers, those who
enjoy teaching poetry and those who've shied away from it.


The Institute offers participating teachers a remarkable week-long
opportunity: to study and discuss poetry with renowned practitioners of
the art, five award-winning American poets. Past faculty has included
poets Mark Doty, David Ferry, Louise Gl├╝ck, Gail Mazur, Heather McHugh
and Rosanna Warren. Each faculty member meets with teachers to look
closely at excellent poems in a seminar/discussion setting. Each day of
the Institute wraps up with a poetry reading given by faculty.

In addition, participating teachers work in groups throughout the week
with leaders from Boston University's School of Education. Based on the
Institute seminars, and incorporating their own skills and ideas, the
teacher-groups develop innovative and energizing lesson plans with the
aim of invigorating the teaching of poetry in their schools and
classrooms. The Institute encourages dialogue among teachers about past
successes, difficulties and insights they've had in bringing poetry to
students in their various communities, seeking to build on
participating teachers' experiences.

At the end of the week, teachers present lesson plans they've created,
and take part in a "Favorite Poem" reading event, sharing a favorite
poem along with a brief reflection. We encourage participating
educators to organize similar Favorite Poem reading events in their
classrooms, schools or broader communities during the academic year.


For an application contact Professor Lee Indrisano at Boston University
School of Education, Two Sherborn Street, Boston, MA 02215 or e-mail The postmark deadline for applications is May 30, 2006.

Housing is available. For more information, click the link below.

Good luck to all who apply!


Monday, April 03, 2006

Dear Eric...

A fun bit of brainstorming this morning.

Hi Eric,

It's April and I've been teaching my students poetry since January. They're tired and I'm tired. I would like to assign them a creative project that enables them to combine their knowledge of Petrarch, Donne, Rich, Gluck and Lorca. I'd like it to have a visual and a written counterpart. Any suggestions?

Hmm...says I. What about:
  • A set of love letters or other courtship materials. A lot of possible couples here, all of them nicely complicated and more or less impossible: Petrarch and Rich, Petrarch and Gluck, Donne and Rich, Donne and Gluck, Rich and Gluck, Lorca and either of the guys, Lorca and either of the women. Think of the passions and difficulties, the debates they could have!
  • Or a poetry comix assignment: turn some set of poems into a "graphic novel." Or they could find an existing graphic novel or comic and do a "detournement" of it: erase the previous text and ink in lines from the poems.
  • Some sort of collage assignment, along similar lines?
  • What about a rewriting assignment? Donne in the style of Rich. Gluck in the style of Lorca?
  • Petrarch, Donne, Rich, Gluck, and Lorca form a band. They make some albums, then break up. Make a fan website for the band that tells their story, complete with music, lyrics, gossip, pictures, solo projects, etc. Students with video capability could shoot a documentary history, in manner of This Is Spinal Tap, or shoot some videos of their poems (or "songs") in manner of the United States of Poetry series (
  • Or how about this? Petrarch, Donne, Rich, Gluck, and Lorca are advice columnists, in manner of Dan Savage or Dear Abby. Students write letters to them and their responses. Or they write to one another for advice?
I think the band one is my favorite. They're a sort of love poetry supergroup, like Blind Faith, after all. So: who plays what? Lorca on guitar, natch. Gluck on bass, with Entwistle cool? Or maybe they're a Fleetwood Mac arrangement, with Rich as Stevie Nicks (tee-hee!).

In any case, a fun way to spend the morning--