Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Yesterday I spent the morning at school organizing my annual “April Poetry Madness Tournament”. It was fun to methodically put the 64 poems into a specific order so the tournament can run smoothly. I first spread the poems across the tables in the room, then read and re-read them as I strolled back and forth, and then slowly arranged them into an order than I thought might produce exciting competition. I felt like a powerful leader marshalling his forces – in this case, 64 of the best poems I could find, poems of varied styles and themes, classic and contemporary, from Shakespeare to recent U.S. poet laureate Billy Collins. When I had systematized everything, I carefully drew up my tournament brackets on a 3’ x 6’ roll of paper, lettered in all the poems, and posted the chart on the hall bulletin board for the students to see when they return to school from spring vacation. It was a good morning of sorting, ordering, and arranging, perhaps a harbinger of an orderly April in English class.

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