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Reading Series in the Classroom

The Reading Series in the Classroom: Eloise Klein Healy

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 Eloise Klein Healy. She will read at the Poetry Center, along with Peggy Shumaker, this Thursday, March 21st at 7 p.m. Klein Healy’s reading will be best suited for high school students, but her poetry also appeals to a K-8 audience. Please print and read Klein Healy’s poem, “Wild Mothers,” with your students, and then follow the writing prompts below. Hope to see you all at the Reading!

1. The speaker begins the poem with this line: “wild kitty sneaks up my stairs with two wisps of tiger behind her.” From the get-go, what can you infer about this animal, based off the description?

2. The speaker lists a number of wild animals that live around or near her home. List at least five of these animals. Do you think these images depict wildness? Explain.

3. The speaker says, “wild mothers always find me” and “three bowls of dry food every day and their tribes in proscribed circles waiting for me.” What can you infer about the speaker, based off of these details?

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

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.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Reading Series in the Classroom: Carl Phillips

Carl PhillipsThis week, in continuation with our series, “The Reading Series in the Classroom,” we here at Wordplay will introduce your students to the writing of Carl Phillips. Phillips will read at the Poetry Center this Thursday, November 1st at 7:00 p.m. Phillips's reading will be best suited for high school students, but his poetry also appeals to a K-5 audience. Please print and read Phillip's poem, Civilization, with your students, and then follow the writing prompts below. 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, as extension activites, feel free to check out this great reading and interview with Carl Phillips on PBS Newshour's Art Beat. Also, local poet and teacher, Christopher Nelson, shares his insights about teaching the Poetry Center's Reading Series in the Classroom in this great interview on Wordplay. Hope to see you all at the reading on Thursday!

1. In "Civilization," Phillips often inserts italicized snippets of dialogue into the poem. In a journal or on a piece of paper, record dialogue that you hear throughout the day. Then, write a poem, inserting bits of the dialogue that you heard in italics.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Reading Series in the Classroom: C.D. Wright

CD WrightThis 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.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Reading Series in the Classroom: Kate Bernheimer

Kate BernheimerThe Poetry Center’s Fall Reading Series kicks off this Thursday, August 30th at 7:00 p.m., featuring writers Cynthia Hogue and Kate Bernheimer. The Reading Series is a great way to teach writing and expose students to poetry, stories, and essays that they might not encounter in the classroom. This Fall, Wordplay will be writing a series of blog posts titled, “The Reading Series in the Classroom,” which will highlight a story or poem by writers from this Fall’s Reading Series. In addition to providing a story or poem for students to read, we’ll also provide a set of writing prompts, that both parents and teachers can utilize with their students. We hope that these posts will not only get your students writing, but that the posts will also expose them to our Reading Series. Kate's reading will be most salient for middle to 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. Please modify it as it suits your classroom needs.) Check out VOCA, our audio-video library, and watch this great reading with Kate Bernheimer.

Check out her short story, A Petting Zoo Tale, which also appeals to a K-5 audience. (After you read the story, check out this fun, interactive version of the story, from Born Magazine.) Then follow the writing prompts below.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Jeffrey Yang: Global Juxtaposition

An AquariumJeffrey Yang is a poet and editor at New Directions Publishing. He received the 2009 PEN/Osterweil Award for his poetry collection, An Aquarium, and will be reading at the Poetry Center on Thursday, February 2.

Jeffrey Yang's An Aquarium makes us of facts, etymologies, and politics from around the globe to create a farily realistic two-dimensional version of the book's namesake. Using an alphabetical list of fish and characters such as Aristotle, Google, and the United States, Yang structures a criticism of the worst parts of human nature on a global scale. In the context of the idea of an aquarium, the metaphor of that policy as an aquarium's acquisition of foreign and endangered species for academic benefit is not lost, and is at its clearest the final poem, "Zooxanthellae," where Yang describes the atomic tests done in Bikin Atoll in the 1940s by the United States, and the subsequent studies done on those exposed to the radiation:

"In the following years, doctors from Brookhaven National Laboratory, run by the U.S. department of energy, carefully documented the 'most ecological radiation study on human beings...'"

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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

On the Teaching of Poetry: An Interview with Chris Nelson

Interview by Elizabeth Maria FalcónChristopher Nelson

Christopher Nelson is a master's candidate and Jacob Javits Fellow at the University of Arizona. In 2009 his chapbook Blue House, selected by Mary Jo Bang for the New American Poets Series, was published by the Poetry Society of America. He has taught composition, creative writing, and literature for several years at Catalina Foothills High School and, most recently, at the University of Arizona. His interviews with poets can be read at http://nelsonpoetry.blogspot.com.

Elizabeth: What inspired you to teach to the Poetry Center's Reading & Lecture series?

Chris: There's a history to that inspiration that goes back ten years, which is how long I've been enjoying the Poetry Center's offerings. Actually, it goes back further than that, in a round-about way: as an undergraduate at Southern Utah University I had the privilege of being in a small writing program (directed by poet David Lee) that was visited by several talented poets: Samuel Green, Joy Harjo, Robert Hass, and Leslie Norris, to name a few. During these visits I remember feeling something new to me: poetry as a living thing, as something that would inhabit the room and pass among us. These moments with living language were catalytic and quickening in a way that time alone with my favorite books was not. I remember hearing Joy Harjo sing her poems, and now when I read them, I can hear her vocal inflections and sense a poem's lilt and pulse. I remember Robert Hass's fascinating introductions to his poems; there was such seamlessness between the man and the poet that he was often well into reading a poem before I realized that he was no longer introducing it. I would draw inspiration for weeks from one such visit. So, you see, I'd caught the bug, the poetry virus.

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010
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