I had forgotten about the way I kept “teaching shoes” in my car after this year-and-a-half in virtual classrooms. It’s so good to be with students, in living presence, and there’s no equivalent for it.
Now that the school semester is fully underway, most of my thought and energy is in the lectures, discussions, assignments. I hope to share some of that here on my blog, but forgive me if I neglect this space a bit this fall. The transition back to in-person teaching has been wonderful and full of challenges.
So maybe I will just give a taste of what goes on in my class. An essay by Mark Strand that I shared this week with my creative writing students, “Notes on the Craft of Poetry,” covers many facets of a poet’s working experience. It is a call to the moral high ground. It encourages a humility in the not-knowing. It is an explanation of the impossible task of teaching anyone to write poetry.
We only know afterwards what we have done. Most poets, I think, are drawn to the unknown, and writing, for them, is a way of making the unknown visible. And if the object of one’s quest is invisible or unknown, how is it to be approached by predictable means?”Mark Strand, The Weather of Words
So, instead of saying “write a poem,” I might say make a list rather than set up two stakes in the ground. Balance comes from the connection of points, like an equinoctial sphere. There’s a seed, and it does the rest of the work on its own.