All posts in Skinner West

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 […]

The two elements we examined most closely for this week’s poem were imagery and line length. William Carlos Williams’ “Spring Storm” is intensely focused on its title event. I asked if we removed “spring” […]

At the halfway point of our residency, it was time to introduce a poem unlike any we’ve seen so far. “Living in Numbers,” by Claire Lee, is an example of a list poem. As […]

This week, we read “maggie and milly and molly and may” by E. E. Cummings. For starters, I said we could discuss how the poet uses personification as well as rhyme and similes in […]

“The art of losing isn’t hard to master” is one of four repeating lines in Elizabeth Bishop’s poem, “One Art.” Villanelles include repeating rhymes and two refrains, the other here always ending with the […]

After a week off, we were back for our second session at Skinner West. This week’s poem was “The Pen” by Jean Valentine. Among the various issues discussed in classes, we noticed the poet’s […]

Great to be back with the students at Skinner West! Everyone was excited and eager to kickoff poetry. I introduced myself as well as the program and went over what to expect for the […]


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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.