All posts in McPherson

So many of our students speak a second language, or at least have experience with a language other than English. In “[Let Us Gather in a Flourishing Way],” Juan Felipe Herrera delivers his message […]

We focused on collaboration for this session using a game that originates in the Dada art movement. When writing an “Exquisite Corpse,” students work in pairs and trade off writing two lines per turn. […]

Glimpsing into the complicated world of a 14-year-old girl, “Hanging Fire” by Audre Lorde articulates the thoughts and worries of a teenager on the brink. Our students chose a particular age and wrote a […]

In celebration of the imminent summer and great summer food, we read “Oda al tomate” or “Ode to the Tomato” by Pablo Neruda. We followed his example and wrote poems of high praise for […]

Reading “In a Station of the Metro” by Ezra Pound, we noticed the tiny size of the poem, and the way it uses white space by moving text around on the page. Students created […]

In “The Republic of Poetry,” poet Martín Espada describes a kind of poetry utopia. That made me interested in what my students would include in their own utopias: what constitutes paradise for you? Room […]

Pablo Neruda wrote an entire book of untitled poems based on questions, many of which don’t seem to have rational answers. We wrote our own question poems which dig into mystery. Room 314 The […]

Taking a cue from my colleague Larry O’Dean, I shared “Colors passing through us” by Marge Piercy. The students wrote such glorious meditations on color that it was hard to narrow down for this […]

“Legacies” by Nikki Giovanni describes an interaction between a grandmother, who wants to teach a lesson, and a granddaughter, who is reluctant to learn from her elder for more complicated reasons than she is […]

We took a look at a selection of the quatrains of Rumi–four-line untitled poems by the 13th-century Persian poet of immense popularity around the world. I gave the students a limitation of four lines […]


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“Writing poetry makes me feel like I can see myself, like I can see my reflection, but not in a mirror, in the world. I write and I know I can be reflected.”
-Oscar S.

“Writing poetry makes me feel free.”
-Buenda D.

“Writing poetry is like your best friend.”
-Jessica M.