Thursday, October 14, 2010

MY AWESOME INTRO-TO-LIT CLASS

I really shouldn't be playing with poetry right now; I should be grading. Serious. The stack is off the chain, at least five inches high.

But I had to show everyone this great surrealism exercise my Intro to Lit class did on Tuesday. We were starting a poetry unit and discussing Andre Breton's "founding" of surrealism when I decided to try out an exercise from the text. In the last ten-ish minutes of class, each student wrote one line of verse on a page, folded over their line so the next student couldn't see it, then passed it on. I collected the sheet before we dispersed (we HAUL out of there at 9:45am, most of us caffeine-starved and desperate) and I typed up the results last night. Tom was in the other room watching Mythbusters and having a scotch. I really wanted to join him. But once that poem came together on my screen-- I didn't change the order at all, only small additions of punctuation-- I couldn't stop reading it. I was proud of this group working together. The musicality of the second section is lovely, and the last line of the first section makes you re-read the entire piece differently.

I'm failing to mention that this group has some awesome in-class discussions. They aren't afraid to ask questions, and even though some of them are new to poetry, each of them appears to enjoy it. So, when I presented them with a handout of their collaborative work, their first question, naturally, was "Where should we publish it?"

Enjoy!


Intro to Surrealism: A Collaborative Poem (Lit 115)

1.
I'm drowning in a sea of doubt,
(if nothing at all, don't let yourself fall)
the everlasting grip of a daughter's hug,
over, under, around and through the hoops we wander.
Red roses fall from above.
Walking along the crooked path
a man strode down the road.
Drift on the ocean,
and the leaves finally fall to the ground.
I love dogs the same.

2.
I woke up this morning hungry and thinking,
when the sun is setting for some it is rising for one.
How now, brown cow. How now, brown cow.
The sun shines brightly through the window
and the waterfalls cry from the mountains.
Yesterday I found a horse who didn't want to play.
Swiftly, take me away! Into the night!
Random thoughts and hampered iron dens atop the troughs of lending pens,
I'll be in outer space, but I got inner peace, to say the least.


...

Saturday, October 2, 2010

AUTHORFEST OF THE ROCKIES

A friend of mine was kind enough to give me a free ticket to this year's Authorfest of the Rockies, an annual conference hosted at the Cliff House in Manitou Springs. So, off I went, to break up my day of grading. I sat in on a craft talk held by Art Goodtimes and Rosemerry Trommer, and Rosemerry had several three minute prompts for the audience to do while we picked up the discussion on writing and discovery. I thought I'd share my poem from one of those prompts, mostly so I could tell you how fantastic Rosemerry is (and Art! though I didn't get to chat with him as much), how tuned in to discovery, intellect, theory, and spirituality she is (or, at least, that's my opinion after a forty-five minute discussion). And the Sanskrit she chanted at the beginning? She's even got a lovely voice. The whole package. Check out their stuff.


Anyway. The group was prompted by the first line of Cavafy's "Ithaca" (which reads "When you set out on your journey to Ithaca..."). Art and Rosemerry both the read the piece to us, lending it two contrasting personalities. Rosemerry's was artistically cautionary and full of awe (you better see all the beauty) and Art's was excited and almost shocked (dude! you've GOT to see all this beauty!).


We had three minutes to write, something I think I'll use in the future; by having such a small amount of time, your mind doesn't focus on its familiar, favorite obstacles. It gets to the point. Also, it lets you get more done, which means you can go home with a notebook full of possibilities. Go!



JOURNEY TO ITHACA: SOME EXTRA ADVICE


Men, do not bother packing extra clothes.

You will not wear even your traveling gear long,

nymphs line the path like lanterns

with no one to chase their gold shadows.


Women, wear all the clothes you own in layers.

Unfastening one button pulling one string

can mean the difference between drowning

and crossing the flood on the shoulders of a Cyclops.



...