Monday, June 29, 2015

Grand Theft Poetry

That writing summer institute from my last post, I'm going to keep talking about it. 

 Each morning we started with nibbles (breakfast) and scribbles (a writing prompt).  Seriously, there was sooooo much food at this thing.  This was our nibble on the final day:  kolaches from Hruska's.  Still warm.  They're like Danishes but without the glaze, just a fluffy, flaky, squishy roll with jam in the middle.  Or cream cheese.  Or both.  I may or may not have gone to this bakery several times since institute ended to buy more of them.  And it only ended last week.

But anyways, we start each day with a nibble and a scribble.  The scribble on our last day was an activity that I am definitely stealing next year for my classroom:  Grand Theft Poetry.  It's like a more structured version of found poetry.  Start by giving all of your students a poetry book (thank you public library).  Open up to a random page in your book, write down a random line, and pass your book to the right.  Continue doing this until you have amassed a good list of stolen lines.  Then revise for seven minutes or so, taking words out, rearranging lines, adding things, playing around with line breaks.  Viola.  Instant poem.
I love this activity for a number of teacherly reasons that I won't get into at the moment because that's not the point of this post.  Instead, I will share the poem that came out of this scribble.  I'm rather proud of it.  It's certainly not perfect, but I like the way it came out. 

Let Me Be Not Mad

I may be mad,
for I am sick of love.
Love is the same at different times to different people,
a timepiece out of sync.
Love is a new heaven begun,
a new hell to endure.

Into the dangerous world I leapt,
full of folly,

I think we are all mad.

Spotty Posts

Hello, world.  Things have been a little dry here lately.  A post here, a post there.  This is for a number of reasons.  I've been teaching and thus have less time than I used to.  I also got a bit burned out on book reviews. I felt like I was saying the same thing about every book, and I wasn't saying anything that other reviewers weren't already saying.  So I stopped for the most part.

But all of that is about to change, sort of.  I just spent the last three weeks at the Central Utah Writing Project's summer institute.  For three weeks I wrote, read, taught, talked about using writing in the classroom, ate (seriously, so much delicious food), and read some more.  Seriously, if you are a teacher, you have to go to this thing.  Look up the National Writing Project for your state and just go.  It was the best three weeks I've spent in a summer.

And the best thing about it was that it taught me to be a writer again.  To write what I want to write.  To write every day.  To get feedback from other writers.  To publish.  I'm still on a post-CUWP high, and I want to keep this up.  I want to keep writing.  So, the plan for now is to use this blog as a place to put my writing.  Not all of it, as some of it makes no sense, some of it is meant for a very specific audience, and some of it is not yet polished enough for publication.  But some of it will show up here from time to time.  Some will be poetry, some fictional prose, heck, maybe even a book review now and again when I read something I really like and actually have something substantive to say.  The point of this blog was always to write what I felt like writing, so that's what I'm doing.  Because I am a writer.  Welcome back.


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