Divider Graphic

adoten's blog

Sarah Kortemeier on Poetry Performance

Two factors contribute to the quality of your student performance:

#1: Energy - your voice energy should be coming from your gut and be physically pushed out to the audience.

#2: Close attention to the text - You have to listen to the text as you speak it. 

When you listen to the text, you are in the moment.  Do NOT ask your students to memorize the delivery of the performance; it won't be honest or believable. The performance shouldn't be exactly the same each time. Rather, by listening to themselves in the moment, they will respond organically and discover the poem anew each time.

When you are doing a close reading with the text, make sure you don't ask them to generalize the mood of the poem.  A generalized mood will make for a generalized performance. Instead, take the poem line by line, figure out what the most important words are in each sentence and how they should be spoken.

Created on: 
Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Big Sky Lessons

by Elizabeth Maria FalcónCotton

Kimi Eisele's blog, "Big Sky Lessons: Reflections from a traveling teaching artist in rural Arizona" is a fantastic site for teaching inspiration. A recent blog post, "Lessons in Softness" reflects on a teaching experience she had near Safford on the San Carlos Apache reservation. Students had been asked to write an animal fable in one week, and Kimi was there to guide them through the writing process. She discusses the struggle she experienced between getting students to write and allowing students to discover what they have to say through creative movement and play.

Here is an excerpt from her blog post from one of the class periods where they explored animals through creative movement:

Created on: 
Monday, December 6, 2010

Joshua Marie Wilkinson's Exploratory Imagery

by Julie SwSelenography by Joshua Marie Wilkinsonarstad

Joshua Marie Wilkinson is the author of five books of poetry, including Lug Your Careless Body out of the Careful Dusk (2005) which won the Iowa Poetry Prize, and Selenography (2010).  He has edited two anthologies for University of Iowa Press, including Poets on Teaching (2010), and his first feature-length film--a tour documentary about the band Califone--has just been completed.  Wilkinson is an alumnus of the University of Arizona Creative Writing MFA Program.  He lives in Chicago where he is an assistant professor at Loyola University.

Joshua Marie Wilkinson will read at the UA Poetry Center on Friday, Dec. 3 at 8 p.m. along with fellow UA alumna Kate Bernheimer.

Wilkinson will also be teaching an afternoon seminar on ancient images and threads at the Poetry Center on Saturday, Dec. 4th from 1-3 p.m.

Created on: 
Thursday, December 2, 2010

Re-Appropriated Text: Kate Bernheimer and the Potential of Fairy Tales

Kate Bernheimerby Julie Swarstad

Kate Bernheimer is the author of two novels, The Complete Tales of Ketzia Gold (2001) and The Complete Tales of Merry Gold (2006), as well a short story collection titled Horse, Flower, Bird (2010).  She has also edited several fairy-tale anthologies, including My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales (2010). Bernheimer is an alumna of the University of Arizona Creative Writing MFA Program.  She founded and edits the journal Fairy Tale Review and is Writer in Residence at the University of Louisiana in Lafayette each spring. She spends the rest of the year in Tucson.

A reading and discussion of "The Contemporary Fairy Tale" will take place at the UA Poetry Center on Wednesday, December 1, at 8:00 p.m.

Kate Bernheimer will read at the UA Poetry Center on Friday, December 3 at 8 p.m. along with fellow UA alum Joshua Marie Wilkinson.

Created on: 
Tuesday, November 30, 2010

POL #4: A Difficult Poem

These are responses from our Poetry Out Loud professional development discussion on the POL rubric category "Difficulty." Please comment with your own ideas about what makes for a difficult poem! This is #4 in our POL series. Other POL discussion threads include subjectivity of judging, what makes a good poetry recitation, and choosing a poem to recite.

Poetry Recitation: What makes for a "difficult" poem?

  • Length
  • Are we talking about difficult to memorize or difficult to perform?
  • Irregular meter and lack of rhyme (to memorize) 
  • Regular meter and rhyme (to perform)--for example, "The Jabberwocky"--how do you perform this poem well?
  • How inaccessible the the poem is. Related question regarding inaccessibility: Are you talking about diction and syntax? Or do you mean a 15-year-old girl trying to get into the mind of a 70-year-old man?

Please comment with your ideas about what makes for a difficult poem.

Created on: 
Tuesday, November 23, 2010

POL #3: Choosing a poem to recite

These are responses from our Poetry Out Loud professional development discussion on how choosing a poem can determine the success of a recitation. Please comment with your own ideas! Other POL discussion threads include subjectivity of judging and what makes a good poetry recitation?

How does the poem chosen reflect or determine the success of the recitation?

  • There seem to be waves of students choosing similar poems each year.
  • But it's really important to let the students choose their own poems; they have so little choice about what they read at school, and this is a chance for them to select something to which they might really connect.
  • It's important to expose kids to a whole range of poems so they know what's out there.  Also, they need to see the difference between poems on a page and spoken poems.
Created on: 
Monday, November 15, 2010

Poetry Joeys: Heroines

Two heroine stories from Poetry Joys this fall.

Poetry Joeys is a Saturday morning reading and writing activity group for children ages 4-10. Teaching artists inspire participants to develop their flexibility with language through creative movement and reading and writing poetry. Upcoming Poetry Joeys on Nov. 13 and Dec. 4 at 10 a.m.

Photo Credit: Cybele Knowles

Heroine
by Emberly

I Dr. Savdenarow have a story to tell you, a story that is beyond a story, to be worth telling. Some people that watch cow documentaries know about me but not many. I save cows and buffalo. Some of my favorite cows and buffalo are Gopi and Ayapahsah. Well one day I decided to take a trip to Ghana. I'd heard of a new ibex hunter named Jospeh Demelo. When I arrived I started off to a national park where many ibex were and lured about three packs with my wheat. I traveled back the next day with my ibex for soon I'd be going back.

Created on: 
Tuesday, November 9, 2010

POL #2: Judging and Subjectivity

These are responses from our Poetry Out Loud professional development discussion on judging and subjectivity issues. Please comment with your own ideas!

How do you and your students grapple with issues of subjectivity in the judging process?

  • The performances you like aren't always the ones that win--the numbers on the rubric dictate who wins.
  • Conflict of interest--teaching/coaching vs. judging.  It's much easier to just be a teacher and coach than have to be a teacher, coach and judge.
  • The judges struggle with the subjectivity of the rubric categories--each can interpret differently, for example, "Level of Difficulty"--what makes for a difficult poem? Is it length? Is it irregular meter and lack of rhyme? Is it how inaccessible the writing of the poem is? 
  • This issue of subjectivity often is an adult conflict rather than a student conflict.
  • The new required categories of poems help increase the level of sophistication of the poems chosen. (Make sure to check the list--POL has retired many poems this year!)
  • The judges may need time to "warm up" - the people who went first consistently didn't didn't do as well.  Maybe this year we should have a few past winners start first to warm up the judges?
  • There needs to be diversity on the judging panel.
  • First time judging is really hard.
Created on: 
Tuesday, November 9, 2010

HOWL: A review

You would think that "starving, hysterical, naked," the most iconic phrase of Allen Ginsberg's poem "HOWL" and perhaps even of the Beat Generation, would come to describe the film built to represent it. Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman's film, however, is a nontraditional docudrama soaring through windows of courtrooms, coffeehouses, and Ginsberg's immaculate apartment, searching for cohesion with audience in tow.  At first it seems that Epstein and Friedman may have missed the mark with adorable Franco, his trendily decorated apartment, smoothed-over CGI (computer-generated imagery) sequences, and such a higher-ed slant on obscenity trials that university affiliates whooped during the screening. But then you realize what happened: The writer/directors hit their mark just fine, missing Ginsberg's by - dare I say a generation? - without so much as a nod to the distinction.

Created on: 
Tuesday, November 2, 2010

POL #1: What makes a good poetry recitation?

These are responses from our Poetry Out Loud professional development discussion on what makes a good poetry recitation. Please comment with your own ideas!

  • Having [the POL] rubric is very helpful.  There are clearly lineated guidelines and categories for which students can practice.
  • Students have to have a connection to the poem.  It can't just be any poem.  The student understanding the poem is really important to the performance.
  • The student has to "own" it--tell it like their story.
  • Poetry recitations very different than poetry readings (by poet).  The student has to bring it to life but can't over-do it (with gestures, etc.)
  • You have to break down the line to discover where the emphasis feels right
  • Force yourself to stand still in front of a mirror and pay attention to where your body wants to move--then work in the (subtle) gesture later.
Created on: 
Monday, November 1, 2010
Arizona Board of Regents