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Jeannie Wood is a junior at the University of Arizona studying poetry, astronomy, and Latin. She’s from Northern Arizona and spends her time writing for the Daily Wildcat, playing rough with UA’s Derby Cats, and biking. She enjoys disappearing into different areas of the state, and parts of California, on weekends.
I often hear in the academic world that science and poetry no longer intertwine -- that we have split off into completely different disciplines and not many mix the line anymore. We all have a natural assumption that the Humanities hate the Sciences and vice versa. But already in my classes, I’ve studied just the opposite: it seems the language of science is making a comeback, if it hasn’t just always been lurking around.
Two science-poets that I’ve studied together are the wonderful Katherine Larson and Jeffrey Yang. What is neat about reading these two next to one another is how opposing they are. Sure, they both incorporate science in their writing, but they do it differently. Larson’s poems are emotional, warm (even when they’re devastating), and very human. Yang’s work is more detached, quick, and has sharp undertones; his work always remind me of deep sea fish: small, odd, and effective.
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 C.D. Wright. Wright will read at the Poetry Center this Thursday, September 13th at 7:00 p.m. Wright's reading will be best suited for high school students, so we're including this Extra Credit Worksheet and this great interview with local poet and teacher, Christopher Nelson. (Teachers: feel free to download the worksheet and interview, which are both designed to help students reflect on our Poetry Readings and modify it as it suits your classroom needs.) Check out this introduction and short reading by C.D. Wright, part of the Poetry Foundation's "Poetry Everywhere" project. Check out her poem, Flame, which also appeals to a K-5 audience, then follow the prompts below.
Ben Wallace is a creative writing major at the University of Arizona. He's also a teaching artist at Sam Hughes Elementary.
Before class, one of the students calls me over and says, "Mr. Ben, I wrote a poem all by myself this morning."
"Awesome," I say. "What was it about?"
The girl smiles at me with her two front teeth missing, giggles, and says, "The Toothfairy!" I was so proud to hear that. I was able to see in her poems that she saw writing not as schoolwork, but as a way to document and enjoy life.
Zaza Karaim is thirteen years old and will be entering eighth grade at St. Michael's Parish Day School this coming fall. She loves writing poetry and playing guitar. Zaza volunteered this past summer at the Poetry Center's Creative Writing Camp. Below are a selection of her poems that she has graciously shared with Wordplay. Keep an eye out for more blog posts and poetry from Zaza in the next couple months.
the ocean is calm
but the waves are crouching tigers
waiting to spring and slap the shore
Below is a collection of writing from this past summer at the Poetry Center's Creative Writing Camp. Enjoy!
A Super Hero
A super hero steps out into the world. A gift from the heavens to protect the land from uninvited foes. A burglar runs. Black mask and soul. A large sack trails behind. They fight and the sack pops open and a child runs out. The burglar remains behind bars.
Thoughts and Dreams
Thoughts and dreams fill my head.
All the words that have been said.
My life seems like a fantasy
without you there would be no me
I wonder each day what I would do
If I did not have you.
I was wandering
I was wandering helplessly through the desert. I was blind and using my sense of touch to find my way. Suddenly a paper bag blows towards me and I stick my hand inside. When I feel a heavy-ish metal typed object that has a handle that turns. I wonder what it could possibly be and how it got this far out in the desert. I focus on the object and describe it to myself as a smooth, cold, object that is curved at the end almost as if that was a handle. All the way to the other end there was another part that was similar, only not as curved, and you could twist it and crank it. What a mysterious object. I marveled at it once more before it blew off, and I continued on my journey.
Jeevan Narney is an MFA candidate in poetry at the University of Arizona, and was a writer-in-residence at Sam Hughes Elementary.
I think the Family Days event was the highlight out of all the field work that I did this semester. I saw the children of Tucson come out of the community to the University of Arizona Poetry Center for one purpose: poetry. The November wind blew, and the morning sun lit the roof of our hair. It was a great day. The air was soon populated with the voices of laughing children, whose ages ranged from infant to high school. The parents smiled like children themselves. They were happy to be here with their children. It's been a neat semester of seeing how the Poetry Center provides poetic opportunities to learn more about poetry to our youth in the Tucson community.
Joy Acey, the Princess of Poetry, has won many prizes for her poems and has published in several small journals and anthologies including HIGHLIGHT'S High Five magazine. She is a performance artist and conducts writing workshops for children and adults. She's hopped a freight train and rode in a boxcar over the world's second largest wooden trestle bridge. She was on a TV game show and won enough money for a trip to Australia. She has lived in England and Japan. She has walked across a volcano in Hawaii and a glacier in New Zealand. She has gone swimming with iguanas in the Galapagos and was in Ecuador during a revolution. She recently returned from a trip to Peru where she visited the rainforest. Always looking for new adventures to write about, she currently lives in Tucson, Arizona with her husband and a welsh springer spaniel named Spot. She has a blog www.poetryforkidsjoy.blogspot.com where she daily posts an orginal poem for children and a writing exercise.
10 books of poetry...
Jeevan Narney is an MFA candidate in poetry at the University of Arizona, and a writer-in-residence at Sam Hughes Elementary.
Nothing gave me greater joy this semester than waking up on Friday mornings, knowing that I was going to be teaching poetry to a fabulous, energetic group of 2nd graders at the Sam Hughes Elementary School. It was so much fun working with Ben as my team-teaching partner. Ms. Dunn, their teacher, was incredibly supportive in helping us out when we needed it. The students' enthusiasm warmed my heart! They were so eager to read their poems out loud in class to their classmates. I will miss the children's smiling faces and reading their adventurous poems! I enjoyed being part of their creative world. I learned so much about teamwork and creating poetry lessons which have inspired my own writing. The children of our community rock!
Hilary Gan is a teaching artist at Hollinger Elementary, an Education Intern at the Poetry Center, and an MFA candidate in Fiction at The University of Arizona.
I wrote with 17 first and second-graders on Friday afternoons. It was consistently the best part of my week. Not only were the kids able to relax and take a break from normal school work; I was, too. My favorite lesson caught me by surprise--I had learned that this class had never read any of Shel Silverstein, so I picked up my favorite Silverstein poem, "Whatif," which talks about the whatifs which crawl inside your ears at night and whisper things that could go wrong the next day. I had my students read it to me, and then draw pictures of what they thought a whatif looked like; finally, I had them write poems of Ihopes, which crawl into your ears and tell you about possibilities. When Katie came up to read her poem at the end of the class, my eyes went a little leaky. Her poem was so full of the juxtaposition of small, childhood things, and the big hopes that everybody has, even adults, and she said it all so baldly and without hedging that I was very touched.
Last week, our beloved Field Trip Intern Timothy Dyke conducted his very last field trip at the Poetry Center, and also hosted a special guest, poet and Tucson mayor Jonathan Rothschild! Here are some photos and book-spine poems generated by the students (and teacher) of Miles Learning Center on Tim's last day.
What is Found there
the night of stones
the shallow end of sleep
Elephants and angels