In One Poem to Rule Them All I wrote about the process of selecting one powerful poem designed to serve double duty. While I have woven in some wonderful new poems to my already amazing poetic roster this semester, I once again find myself in search of the perfect poem to help my community of writers through this transition point in the semester as we move through midterms as well as into a new unit of work.
I wanted a poem that would both inspire students to think about what they value in the world, but also reflect on writing itself.One Poem to Rule Them All
I want this week’s poem to help my students reflect three times about their journey as writers, students, and humans over the course of this unit and the first half of the semester, but I also want them to write to me and/or the powers that be (from English Department to the administration of our institution or state or country) about how we helped or hindered or just informed that journey.
In the past I have used my poem, The Oath of the Writing Teacher, and A Writer’s Oath by Miguel Clark Mallet to inspire that reflection process, but there are so many amazing poems to inspire reflection on my list I need to explore all my options:
- On Finding My Father’s First Essay
- Carrying Our Words
- Eventually / One Point Where We Arrive
- After the Reading
- Don’t Say Love Just Signal
- Someday, Again
- Traveler, your footprints
- Hearing Wolves Through The Dark Pines
- Stone Duplex, 2022
I love each of these poems and know that there is much inspiration to be found in their lines and questions, but I also know from student responses to our writing ritual as well as my status check on our current work-in-progress that some of these poems demand too much for the exercise I have in mind and so I quickly whittled my list to two poems:
It may all come down to how I want my students to think about their journey. While I want them to feel the care I have taken when preparing their map for that journey, ultimately I know it is not about me at all.
Yesterday my students and I wrote in response to On Finding My Father’s First Essay first finding connections with the themes, images, and questions raised by the poem, then as a guide to reflection on the impact of our work on our writing and humanity, and finally as inspiration for a message aimed at those who have supported or hindered our journey. While I love the writing my students craft in response to their passions, it is their reflections that always stir me the most. Even though I have long loved poetry and used it to inspire other writers for many years, I continue to be amazed by its ability to unlock doors.