Thursday, February 07, 2008

Good Poetry News!

Not fish news, but heck--there's more to life than pets (and kids, and lessons in mortality, etc.)--

I just got word that A Surge of Language: Teaching Poetry Day by Day, by Baron Wormser and David Capella, has gone into a third printing. There are a number of good books about poetry out there, but none quite as inspiring as this, and precious few as chock-a-block with lessons and approaches. Not a textbook, it's the fictional journal of a grade-school English teacher who has put poetry at the center of his classroom practice.

"What if we said to any educator," the authors ask near the start,
that he or she had a resource within his or her grasp that would improve reading skills, verbal skills, and writing skills; that would require no additional outlays of money; that would make students better performers on standardized tests; that would provide daily inspiration in their lives; that would increase their self-esteem; that would help them enormously with the nuts and bolts of literacy, such as spelling, punctuation, and grammar; that would connect them with the multi-ethnic nature of democracy; that would improve vocabulary in meaningful and enjoyable ways; that would dramatically improve their listening skills; that would honor the integrity of their feelings; and that would be a solace and joy they could carry through their whole lives? Chances are any educator would say, Where do I sign?
If you're a teacher--in school, or at home--you should know this book.

But wait! There's more!

You can also study poetry and how to teach it with Wormser and other top faculty this summer, from June 30 to July 4, at the Frost Place Conference on Poetry and Teaching. I've seen Wormser and Capella in action--they kicked off my own NEH program for middle school teachers last August--and I can testify that it was a remarkable, transforming experience, not to be missed.

Good news all around.

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