Poetry Out Loud regional competitions scheduled for this week:
Tuesday, 2/10 at Onondaga Community College (Storer Auditorium) 6pm
Thursday, 2/12 at SUNY New Paltz (Lecture Center) 6pm
Friday, 2/13 at SUNY Plaza Courtroom, 1pm
The Poetry Out Loud event scheduled for tonight at The College of Brockport has been postponed to March 3, 2015 at 6pm.
With this new version of the magazine, Teachers & Writers Collaborative (T&W) continues the conversation we began in 1967, when the first Teachers & Writers Collaborative Newsletter was published. In this latest iteration, our discussion of the work and joy of "educating the imagination" and teaching creative writing will go on, but through this new format that discussion will be expanded.
Putting the magazine online allows us to reach a wider audience and provide readers with greater accessibility to the fantastic resources we've accumulated over the last five decades. We are excited to share new content from current literary artists and educators, along with treasures from our archive of articles and lesson plans.
One new feature we are especially excited about is the Exploded Lesson Plans, which offer a detailed lesson on a specific theme, author/poet, literary era, or other focus, along with links to a variety of resources to enrich and provide context for that lesson.
We hope that you'll take advantage of the opportunity for exchange that the online format offers by posting your own questions, suggestions, and ideas in the comments section at the end of each article. We also hope that you'll take a look at our submission guidelines and consider writing for the magazine.
In short, we hope that you will find our online presence inviting, inspiring, and useful to your writing and teaching practice.
The Winter 2014-2015 issue of Teachers & Writers Magazine online features articles, essays, and lesson plans focused on "Artivism." Highlights include:
Our featured content will change on a regular basis, so we please visit us often! And let us know what you think about the digital magazine by e-mailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Teachers & Writers Magazine Editorial Board
Olivia Birdsall Bushra Rehman
Matthew J. Burgess David Andrew Stoler
Jordan Dann Amy Swauger
Susan Karwoska Jade Triton
The final print issue of Teachers & Writers Magazine arrived a few weeks ago, with a wonderful cover image by Chicago photographer Paul Octavious, and a great lineup of articles offering innovative approaches for teaching creative writing. We are now hard at work designing the new, online incarnation of T&W Magazine, due to launch later this fall. While we are sad to say farewell to the print version, we are excited to take advantage of the possibilities a digital format will offer, including expanding our content, allowing full access to the magazine's archives, and reaching a much wider audience. We think you’ll like what we have planned, and hope you’ll continue to follow us online. In the meantime, we hope you enjoy the inspiring resources and reports from the field in the current issue, including T&W teaching artist Joanna Fuhrman's wonderfully creative abecedarian of writing exercises inspired by art.
Image to Word: An Abecedarian List of Games and Experiments
Last year, I was asked to be part of a pedagogy panel on teaching students to write poetry in response to visual art at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) writing conference. For years I have been asking students to respond to images, so it was useful for me to have an excuse to think about my own methodology. I came to realize that the use of images in my writing and teaching practice is part of a larger approach that employs “chance” as a way to spur creativity. My goal is to create the experience of surprise for my students, and for myself, so that we can be pushed into the parts of ourselves that are the most strange and irreducible. As Hans ( Jean) Arp wrote, “The law of chance, which embraces all other laws and is as unfathomable to us as the depths from which all life arises, can only be comprehended by complete surrender to the Unconscious.” In other words, the surprise of the unknown forces us to access part of our imagination that would otherwise remain dormant. To pick an image to write about “at random” forces one to be open to the possibilities of the world, to say “yes” not only to the image at hand, but also to all the conflicting voices stirring within.
So, in the spirit of Bernadette Mayer’s “List of Experiments” and as a response to the AWP invitation, I created my own list of favorite image-based writing activities. I have structured my piece as an abecedarian, a list from A to Z, because I wanted the form of my writing to mirror the idea of chance and random constraint. To read the full article, click here.
by Caron Levis
The classroom phone rang as Mrs.Pearson’s first-graders tumbled in, pulling off coats and scarves, shoving backpacks into the overstuffed closet along the wall. As Mrs. Pearson excused herself to answer the call, a small girl swimming in a large, red sweatshirt offered me a plastic flower that she’d made, “because you’re the author.” I watched her walk to her desk and join the other kids who were gripping crayons and coloring in their morning letters, yawning, fidgeting, daydreaming, chatting as students do. Mrs. Pearson hung up the phone with shake of her head. “That was Kayla’s mom, and so along with everything else I told you before, you should also know that Kayla’s favorite chicken died this morning.” She sighed. “She really loved that chicken.” Mrs. Pearson was doing everything she could to provide salve and a sense of safety to her classroom. Her first-grade students in Newtown, Connecticut, had experienced more death, loss, and sadness than any child should ever face because of the recent shootings at the nearby Sandy Hook Elementary School. Kayla, like many of the children, had been suffering from severe mood swings and exhibiting regressive, clinging, and at times despondent behaviors since December. She was one of eleven of the eighteen children in the class who, as Mrs. Pearson told me, “knew someone who had perished in the tragedy.”
Mrs. Pearson had contacted me last winter, thinking that the author workshop for my book, Stuck with the Blooz, might be helpful to her students’ healing process. Since the book’s release I had been visiting elementary schools to read the story and to explore the emotions it presents through writing, drawing, and acting activities. I was honored to be invited by Mrs. Pearson, but as I passed the Blue Colony Diner with its windows full of letters and signs of solidarity and support, I worried I might be bringing an umbrella to somebody caught in a hurricane. I had written Stuck with the Blooz in the hope of validating experiences and fostering explorations of sadness, but I had certainly not been considering events like the Newtown shootings, or Hurricane Sandy, or the Boston Marathon bombings when drafting it. I’d already visited students in a wide variety of places: in low-income public schools and top-tier private schools; in urban and suburban areas; in special education and gifted and talented programs. In all these places children had seemed to relish the opportunity to explore, as one child put it, “this sad blue way of feeling that everybody feels sometimes,” through reading, writing, and drama. But I had not visited a group with a shared tragedy so devastating and fresh. As Kayla trudged through the door, her head hanging like a snowdrop flower (the flowers that Shakespeare used to symbolize sorrow) I wondered if it was truly wise for me to ask these children to tell me what sadness would look like if it walked through the door...
Excerpt from Teachers & Writers Magazine, Winter 2013-2014
Read the complete article by Caron Levis here.
Caron Levis’s picture book, Stuck with the Blooz (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2012), was listed as one of Bankstreet College’s Best Children’s Books of the Year. She teaches social/emotional, communication, and literacy skills through creative writing and drama to kids of all ages. She is a T&W teaching artist, and the advisor and adjunct faculty for the New School University’s Creative Writing for Children mfa program, where she earned her degree. You can find free activity sheets and more information at www.caronlevis.com.