November 4, 2011
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One of the greatest classroom rewards of merging “teacher” and “poet” identities is infusing instruction with surprise: infusing a poetic quality to assignments that lead the instructor and her students to end up in new, unanticipated spaces. Kapow! I learn endless pedagogy lessons from poets and then, lucky me, I adapt these lessons for my own use. Recently, one of my poetry mentor-goddesses, Dorianne Laux, came to town and discussed her use of “visual broadsides” with students. This assignment asks students to engage with a poet’s work under study in a visual manner–lifting the words from the poem and landing them in a new, perhaps three dimensional, visual/literary context.
Inspired by her facebook album of students’ work, I studied Anne Waldman’s poetry with my students this semester through both performance and visual broadsides. I regret I did not video record their marvelous performances, but I do have photos of the broadsides. They are stunning works of art in response to art.
I am humbled by what I am learning alongside students in this class and that they rose above any expectations I might have set for the activity. Thank you to these students for sharing their work. Shortly I plan to match the slideshow picture order with the student-poet name. Meantime, see the show!