Friday, April 1, 2016

Celebrating The Rhythm: A National Poetry Month Challenge

by Dan Bruno

It is that time again. Time for the literaphilic world to get their moment in the "----- Month" sun. You guessed it, it is NATIONAL POETRY MONTH. Not that I am too excited, but I decided to throw down a challenge to myself this year. For everyday of this month, I am going to write some verse. Most likely it will be terrible, but that is not the point. I am doing this, as always, for my students.

Maybe you know what I mean when I say my students are often mystified by poetry as though it were some alien language scrawled in ancient hieroglyphs on the walls of a pyramid at the bottom of the Marianas Trench. What kills me is that poetry should be the most accessible language because of its focus on physical and emotional experience. Students should be able to wrap themselves in the lines of a poem and feel the comfort that comes from understanding human warmth and connection. A poem should be a hug, not a beating.

So, every day this month, I will write some verse. I will publish it here, but also share it with my students, letting them see me struggle with the language and form I clearly love too much. (The scientist in me also loves this project because it feels like a lab experiment. I sorely miss dissecting specimens, making new substances, and blowing up fairly expensive glassware.)

So, to kick it off, here is what I wrote for today:

"Hunger"
When considering the lives I hold in my hand,
Daily meting out parcels of essential knowledge,
Rationed to the size of an individually calibrated educational appetite,
I begin to wonder if the intellectually hostile environment
That greets our eager and impressionable students every day
Hasn't taught them that familiarity with the
Pain of hunger is far better than the longing
For something out of reach, something long ago
Forgotten; because someone, considering another
Room of lives, allowed the shade of ignorance
To choke the roots of their curious joy.

3 comments:

Stephenie said...

I think I'll take up your challenge. Bad poetry, here I come--Stephenie

Dan Bruno said...

I look forward to writing with you.

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