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The Reading Series in the Classroom: Ilya Kaminsky

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 Ilya Kaminsky. Kaminsky will read at the Poetry Center this Thursday, April 11th, at 7:00 p.m. Kaminksy’s reading will be best suited for high school students, but some of his poetry also appeals to a K-8 audience. Read Ilya Kaminsky’s poem “Her Husband Dreams,” which can be found here (scroll down to #5).

1.      Kaminsky writes about “glass miniature horses on each street” as being “confusion as sweet as I can bear.” What does that mean to you? Have you ever felt that way?

2.      Using Kaminsky’s glass miniature horses as an example, brainstorm some different types of material that evoke that “sweet confusion” feeling in you—for example:      

                               ivory, teakwood, marble, velvet, pencil lead, grass, silk, obsidian, oak

3.      Next, brainstorm some words related to size:

                        vast, tiny, shrunken, expanse, average, limitless, infinite, miniscule, molecular

4.      Make a third list of animals or objects that also give you the “sweet confusion” feeling:

vases, ships, panthers, elephants, teacups, fishbowls, chopsticks

5.      Choosing a word from each category, make 5 combinations you like (you can add words like “of” to help it make sense if necessary):

vast teakwood elephants

teacups of shrunken velvet

silk expanse of ships

grass infinite fishbowls

miniscule obsidian elephants

6.      Choose one or two of your favorites and write a poem about the image you have just created.  Is it alive? Does it belong to you? Does it have any special powers? How does it make you feel? Where do you see or experience it?  Did someone give it to you?  Did you lose it?  Is it only pretend?

Hilary Gan is an MFA candidate in Fiction at the University of Arizona, and the Education Intern for the Poetry Center.

Created on: 
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Arizona Board of Regents