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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.
by Elizabeth Maria Falcón
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:
by Julie Swarstad
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.
by 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.
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?
Please comment with your ideas about what makes for a difficult poem.
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?
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?
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.
These are responses from our Poetry Out Loud professional development discussion on what makes a good poetry recitation. Please comment with your own ideas!
by Julie Swarstad
Born in 1941, Billy Collins was Poet Laureate of the United States from 2001-2003. He has published eight collections of poetry, including Sailing Alone Around the Room (Random House 2001), The Trouble with Poetry (Random House 2005), and most recently Ballistics (Random House 2008). Collins is the recipient of numerous awards including Poetry's 1994 Poet of the Year Award and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts. He is currently a Distinguished Professor at Lehman College at the City University of New York.
Collins will be reading for the UA Poetry Center's 50th Anniversary Celebration at Centennial Hall on the University of Arizona campus on Sunday, November 7th at 3 p.m. Tickets are available through UA Presents.
Billy Collins has been called "America's Most Popular Poet" by Time Magazine, reflecting the enormous appeal his work has for a variety of audiences. Ballistics, his latest collection, is a great choice for introducing students to this former Poet Laureate's work.