Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Poet Paola Corso's interview with me has just been posted on the CavanKerry Press blog. The focus is "Authors in the Community," so most of the questions circle back to that theme. Community, of course, is a mutable label, and I dislike the way it's so often reduced to a synonym for trade group. I tried to concentrate on the more amorphous, and perhaps more ambiguous, aspects of communal engagement; and I hope I was able to give you at least the flavor of my thoughts.

In other teaching news, yesterday I was invited to lead a January workshop at Smith College on teaching poetry in the K-12 classroom. It's part of an interterm class on "The Art and Business of Poetry," and other sessions deal with first drafts, translations, and so on. I'm especially pleased that the faculty specifically asked me to present a class on teaching outside of academia. So many young graduates end up teaching in K-12 situations, and so many of them flounder, despite their intelligence and their eager commitment to an art. I know I floundered when I was 21. I was overwhelmed by teaching's demands and responsibilities. I had no idea how to transfer what was inside my head into the lessons I was proffering; I had no idea how to structure a lesson to keep student attention and interest.

I ran away from teaching so fast . . . only to find myself back in the stew after my own children started school. By then, though, I had a few mentors and guides--local teachers whose classroom-management skills I admired, opportunities to serve as Baron Wormser's sidekick during his teaching gigs. And my seven years as a K-8 music teacher was a good launch into teaching writing classes. Music is physically active for both teacher and student. I had to learn how to manage noise and chaos and movement, and those skills transferred remarkably well to managing, say, a revision workshop because both venues require intense attention to group dynamics, body language, spoken and unspoken comforts and anxieties.

Anyway, my spring semester is getting busier and busier, and I'm so happy about it.

1 comment:

David (n of 49) said...

"Community, of course, is a mutable label, and I dislike the way it's so often reduced to a synonym for trade group." - Yes!!!