All posts in Skinner West

In “Pokeberries,” Ruth Stone recalls members of her extended family—mostly women—and how they (positively) impacted her life. Her brief yet potent poem is packed with vivid details and initiated many lively and fascinating conversations. […]

Jordan Jace’s “I want” was the poem we examined this week. Unlike the prior selection, Jace’s effort reads as ‘normal,’ with its standard grammar and lack of blank space, and incorporates repetition as a […]

David Baker’s poem “Pastoral” evoked some interesting conversations this week. First of all, with its use of blank space, it created opportunities for various interpretative readings by student volunteers—some with pauses, others who chose […]

“Remember” by Joy Harjo was this week’s selection. After hearing it read aloud, we wondered who the speaker might be—the poet, or someone (or something) else? One of the first elements of poetry we […]

For our second week, we read “On Quiet Feet” by Nikki Grimes. Students noticed how different it looked from last week’s selection, being only a single stanza and with much shorter lines. We decided […]

As always, it was a pleasure to be back with the students at Skinner West! Everyone was excited and eager to begin. I introduced myself as well as the program and went over what […]

We had our final poetry classes this week. Since one of the initial things I mention when we begin a residency is my own status as a ‘working’ poet, I brought in one of […]

For our penultimate session, we read and discussed Emily Dickinson’s “’Hope’ is the thing with feathers.” Students have taken note of em dashes in previous poems, but not to the extent they appear here; […]

We’ve previously examined how writers use personification as one element among many in some of the poems discussed to date. On the other hand, personification is the focus of Federico Garcia Lorca’s “The Guitar.” […]

Similes were our focus this week. Students are already pretty comfortable with the concept, so something a bit different was in order. I included a note on Harryette Mullen’s “Wipe That Simile Off Your […]


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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.