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Random Is as Random Does

This week, I began my residency with the 4th graders. I had a majority of these students back when they were in 2nd grade, and it was amazing to see […]

Ars Republica

Last week was our final (!?) classes for the 4th grade poetry residency. To celebrate, I brought in “The Republic of Poetry” by Martín Espada, and five different students from […]


Last week, we read and discussed Carrie Fountain‘s “Theory of Perfection.” One of the first things we did was define theory; I then asked if it was really possible to […]

Get Back

This week, we read Jack Spicer‘s poem, “Any fool can get into an ocean…” It begins: Any fool can get into an ocean But it takes a Goddess To get […]

All a Bored

“Life, friends, is boring.” So begins John Berryman‘s “Dream Song 14,” which was the focus of our poetry classes this week. My initial question was “who is speaking?” and while […]

Home, Run

When I read Sandy Florian‘s poem, “House” to Skinner’s 4th graders, I paid special attention to the poet’s odd use of periods and capitalization. Afterward, I asked why she might’ve […]

Halve a Heart

Classes fell on Valentine’s Day this week, so I brought in Lorna Dee Cervantes‘ wonderful poem, “Valentine.” Before I even read it, students acknowledged its unusual format, resembling half-a-heart. I […]

Oh, Guitar!

Personification is when you treat non-human things as if they were people. “The weeping of the guitar begins” opens Federico Garcia Lorca‘s “The Guitar,” and one of the first questions […]

Shadow of a Doubt

This week we read “The Wings of Daylight” by W. S. Merwin. It’s a seemingly straightforward poem word-wise, which a number of students pointed out; but while it uses simple […]

Picture This

We settled into our groove for the second week of poetry by reading and discussing Afaa Michael Weaver‘s “Self-Portrait.” There’s a lot of sophisticated language in the poem, and I […]