Disciples of Abbey

they should have been more specific
when they said teachers need to be teaching
readers with more rigorous texts. so even though Edward Abbey
is not a writer
from their preferred canon,

I teach the books about a world of blowing up
different Keystone XLs
beer-blurried and Vietnam-shocked
in the red hot Southwest. my students like it.
the desert is already their heartbreak

landscape. we delve into the coal seam
metaphors; the Moloch roiling
beneath the surface, where uranium lives
an American dream is bulldozed
into the quiet places of the indian rez,

Moloch, the radioactive forever-lit cathedral.
do the testmakers mind if I reshape these
close readers into environmental acolytes? are they ready
for the next generation of wilderness folk,
hellbent Leopolds? sparking wildfires

of mind
from this public education imperative,
a teacher can make a mighty fine monkeywrencher
out of these standards.

2 thoughts on “Disciples of Abbey

  1. towardbeginnersmind says:

    Ned, this is so lovely. I taught MWG at Chamisa Mesa many years ago now and it’s amazing how its relevance is still so important. Of course it is, right? It was one of the more fun projects I had as a high school teacher. I love how you put it all into perspective. You are great!!

    • Thank you Anicca, good to know someone else was teaching this book at some point. This year I am really going to up the stakes and make it more of a case study than a book study incorporating poetry from Ginsberg and Simon Ortiz, politics about the Keystone Pipeline, and many other perspectives. Thank you for always supporting me.

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