Dada in Our Hearts: teaching French Surrealism and Dadaism to children

Last week, I introduced the class to French Surrealist poetry and Dadaism. This sounds very highbrow, but actually this poetry is right up the kids’ alley. Why? Because it’s totally nuts. Basically, these poets were responding to the insanity of World War One by deifying nonsense. But lots of it is very lively, wondrous nonsense.Continue reading “Dada in Our Hearts: teaching French Surrealism and Dadaism to children”

Teaching Great Poetry to Children: Gerard Manley Hopkins

Gerard Manley Hopkins is pretty much my favorite poet. That’s kind of a silly thing to say, since having a favorite poet is like having a favorite food, and how could I choose between ice-cream and fresh blueberries and the perfect hamburger and my boyfriend’s tom kha soup? Poetry is delicious in at least asContinue reading “Teaching Great Poetry to Children: Gerard Manley Hopkins”

Writing to Music

Once or twice a year, I bring my mp3 player into class, and we write to music. We write to things like Tchaikovsky, Bach, Buena Vista Social Club, Edith Piaf, fiddle tunes, Tuvan throat singing, and a seven year old’s piano compositions. I avoid English lyrics, just to let everyone’s imaginations be free of aContinue reading “Writing to Music”

The Busy City: Playing with Noise in Poetry

¬†I want to share something really cool that formed in class today. We had been talking¬†about noises in poems — noisy things, words we liked the sound of, onomatopoeia — and decided to write a group poem about a crazy, noisy city night. Everyone, including me, was given a small slip of paper. We eachContinue reading “The Busy City: Playing with Noise in Poetry”