Exploring the world one word…and one mile…at a time

Archive for April, 2013

It’s National Poetry Month…and We’re Headed to NYC!

L to R: Manhattan as seen from the Empire State Building in April 2011; Beer & Books...the new PB&J; and one of my favorite quotes from NYC's "Library Way," the sidewalk on E 41st Street.

L to R: Manhattan as seen from the Empire State Building (during an April 2011 visit); Beer&Books…the new PB&J!; one of my favorite quotes from NYC’s “Library Way” project (embedded in the sidewalk on E 41st Street).

As you might know, April is National Poetry Month, 30 days during which we remind each other (and ourselves) that art and beauty and rhythm and rhyme and lyrical acrobatics and words that move us to tears are generally good things, good things that should be read and heard and experienced and celebrated.  Unlike run-on sentences.  And fragments.

As you also might know, M is one of 85 poets participating in the Pulitzer Remix project sponsored by the Found Poetry Review.  He’s crafting one found poem per day based on the source text of a Pulitzer Prize winner in fiction—in his case, Conrad Richter’s The Town (from 1951)—and posting them on the Pulitzer Remix website.  You can access all of M’s poems here; new ones will be added daily through April 30th.  By the end of the month, the 85 poets will have created 2,550 new poems from old text…art begetting art in a funky-fresh way. (more…)

Choosing Joy

Soccer shenanigans (c. 1986) and grown-up joy (c. 2012)

Soccer shenanigans (c. 1986) and grown-up joy (c. 2012)

M and I emerged from winter hibernation to attend a writing conference in Boston last month.  One of the seminars we attended was on the topic of teaching writing at community colleges, and one of the panelists, in sharing his personal experience, said that many students arrive in the classroom having had negative experiences with writing.  Specifically, in students’ pasts, writing frequently had been used as punishment.  So beyond having no current “relationship” with writing, many of them had a well of negative emotions associated with the topic.

Unexpectedly, my own latent writing memories rushed forth, strange elementary school flashbacks of writing the same phrase over and over again until I filled a piece of lined paper or writing an essay explaining why our class misbehaved for a substitute teacher.  For many students who have similar experiences, writing becomes permanently associated with negative events or emotions.  They never return to writing freely or for their own interest or benefit.

Fortunately, I had a pre-existing positive relationship with writing, even as a kid.  (more…)