Guess what word doesn’t appear on the word cloud…TEST! I have been liberated. All it took was poetry! Oh wait there it is…And white is a little too big. Oh and first world is also prominent. Man, I gotta get my act together next week.
I have been trying to scheme my way to the end of this month of writing. How am I going to write 11 more poems about testing, education, our youth and my world? A few days ago I brainstormed some ideas of how to play with form to help guide my writing. Today, I toyed with the form of a ghazal. The most genuine structure of a poem of this sort is grounded in disparate couplets connected by a refrain or word at the end of each couplet. Some words within the couplets should be rhymes or slant rhymes before the refrain. In this effort, the rhymes and slant rhymes correspond mostly to the refrain test scores. And though a true ghazal is unrelated and the couplets exist in their own meaning, my ghazal is connected thematically throughout. Our country’s Poet Laureate, Natasha Trethewey, composed an impressive ghazal in her collection Native Guard.
My poem is dedicated to Bill Gates who is fueling the capital behind education reform in our country. If you are on Twitter, I suggest searching the hashtag #TestHearingsNow for a primer on the broiling fervor against an education of tests and Mr. Gates.
So there ya go! Context, creativity and deviance. Enjoy the weekend.
Here is the completion of the alphabet experiment. I have written a poem every day this month of March while maintaining my integrity as a teacher to plan and instruct at a high level. Each poem has been composed on the day I have uploaded it to the blog. Very little revision, very little hesitation. Much like the students have x-minutes to complete their test, I have the afternoon or evening to complete a draft of the day’s poem. Then I release it into the world, and wake up the next day ready to have a great day with my students. The poem arrives spontaneously through writing exercises, free writing and debriefing my school day. I hope to have time to more fully explore the process of how these poems were created, but for now I wanted to address a bit of my reality. Because, in some ways, between yesterday and today, I wrote 26 brief poems about education. And I might be going crazy!