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The Reading Series in the Classroom: G.C. Waldrep

This week, in continuation with our series, “The Reading Series in the Classroom,” we here at Wordplay will introduce your students to the writing of G.C. Waldrep. Waldrep will read at the Poetry Center this Thursday, November 15th at 7:00 p.m.  Waldrep’s reading will be best suited for high school students, but his poetry also appeals to a K-5 audience. Please print and read Waldrep’s poem, “Apocatastasis,” with your students, and then follow the writing prompts below. Hope to see you at the Reading!

1. What does the word “apocatastasis” even mean? Before you look the word up in the dictionary or online, write up your own creative definition for this word.

2. In this poem, Waldrep uses many nature images. Using the following images from his poem, write your own poem: spring, stone, sycamore, smoke, sky, and stem.

3. Wow! All those words from the last question start with the letter “s.” What is the poetic term called when you repeat a particular sound in the first syllable of a series of words or phrases? Hint: the word starts with an “a.”

4. In “Apocatastasis,” Waldrep says, “there is no winter but the winter of the heart.” What does this line mean to you?

5. Waldrep often uses repetition in his poem. For example, "as steel, as smoke, as the sky," and "Perhaps this cold will pass. Perhaps that bridge was not a harp at all." Write a few lines of poetry in which you imitate a similar repetition. Explain how repetition can be a useful poetic tool in writing.

Also, to encourage your students to answer the writing prompts, we’ve included this Extra Credit Worksheet, which you can download, print, and hand-out to your students.

Finally, feel free to check out this great interview on Wordplay with local poet and teacher, Christopher Nelson, who shares his insights about teaching the Poetry Center’s Reading Series in the classroom.

G.C. Waldrep is the author of four poetry collections: Goldbeater's Skin (Colorado Prize, 2003), Disclamor (2007), Archicembalo (Dorset Prize, 2009), and most recently the collaborative Your Father on the Train of Ghosts (with John Gallaher, 2011). His work has appeared widely in journals, including Poetry, Ploughshares, APR, New American Writing, Boulevard, New England Review, Threepenny Review, Harper’s, and Tin House, as well as in The Best American Poetry 2010. He has received a Gertrude Stein Award for Innovative Writing, a Pushcart Prize, and a 2007 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Literature. His selected poems in German, Goldschlägerhaut: Ausgewählte Gedichte, is forthcoming from LuxBooks in Germany. He has co-edited two anthologies: with Ilya Kaminsky, an anthology of critical, creative, and personal responses to the life and work of Paul Celan (Homage to Celan, Marick Press), and with Joshua Corey, an anthology exploring the postmodern pastoral (The Arcadia Project, Ahsahta, 2012). Since 2007 he has lived in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, where he teaches at Bucknell University, edits the journal West Branch, and directs the Bucknell Seminar for Younger Poets. He also serves as Editor-at-Large for The Kenyon Review.

Created on: 
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
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