How Poetry Saved My Pedagogy

Most of my students did not like poetry. I don’t remember what prompted the realization—probably something banal like analyzing a poem by Dickinson, Keats, or Frost—but I remember the crushing sensation of disappointment and dismay, even despair, that settled over me. Many of them actively disliked it, a few of… Continue reading

Things To Do in Wivenhoe; Or, So Going Around “The Basketball Diaries”: A New York School Travelogue

“Wake up high up / frame bent & turned on,” begins Ted Berrigan’s iconic “Things to Do in New York (City),” a lyric list poem that shows Berrigan moving through the literary landscape of the city in timeless style. Berrigan was fond of this genre, also writing poems like “Things… Continue reading

Teaching in All Seasons: Poetics, Ideal Tendencies, and Food Literacy

SUMMER   “Once I remember looking into the freezer can the next morning and finding the leftover ice cream had all returned to milk. It was like the disappearance of Cinderella’s new clothes.” (Lewis 53) Midway through my Spring composition course, “Food Literacy of Atlanta,” my students and I had… Continue reading

Sonnets @ Tech: The Pedagogy of Writing as Making

When modernist poet William Carlos Williams antagonistically announced, “To me all sonnets say the same thing of no importance. What does it matter what the line ‘says’?”, I wonder whether or not he’d approve of poet and punk rock singer Matt Hart playfully directing students to arrange and rearrange pieces… Continue reading

Why Not?: On Punk and Pedagogy

Not long before the Primitives changed their name to the Velvet Underground, the band’s singer, Lou Reed, wrote to his Syracuse University professor, poet Delmore Schwartz, I decided that I’m very very good and could be a good writer if i work and work. i know thats what ive got to… Continue reading

The Office Hour, Chapter 23: “Crisis!”

In this episode, Toby draws on his professorial pedigree and Nick on his experience in the creative writing world in an attempt to find the source of the current crisis in the humanities. Have the humanities always been in crisis? Is there any other way? Our hosts do their best… Continue reading

Bodies and Body Language: How Poetry Can Teach Us to Communicate

Bodies, a personal yet strangely distant subject matter for most students to discuss, provide a ripe lens through which to hone the skills that composition classrooms aim to foster. As mediums of communication, bodies afford us multiple ways to express ourselves: through gestures, facial expressions, vocal tone, and body language… Continue reading

Putting Lux in the Darkness: Remembering Poet and Professor Thomas Lux

Editor’s Note: When I first had the idea to teach an English 1102 course about the The New Yorker magazine, I had hoped that Thomas Lux, who has published five poems in the magazine, would come speak to my students. Vijay Seshadri, former editor at The New Yorker and frequent contributor to the… Continue reading

The Doubleplusgoodspeak of Newspeak: Poetry and Orwell’s 1984

Two days after President Trump’s inauguration, on January 22, 2017, the newly-minted Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press with Chuck Todd. She discussed White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s first press briefing the night before, in which he claimed, despite the existence of much… Continue reading

The Office Hour, Chapter 20: “Britt History II (The Present)”

In this episode, the second of a three-part series on the history of the Marion L. Brittain Postdoctoral Fellowship, Toby and I talk to former Brittain Fellow and current Associate Director of the Writing and Communication Program, Andy Frazee, about where the fellowship is now, where it’s going, and where… Continue reading