Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Sometimes, after a long hard day of trying to get students to wake up from the stupor of last week's binge, I feel like a failure. But tonight as I look at their poetry journals (based on Eileen's Reproduction...) I am surprised, impressed by their creativity, heartfelt and passionate works that I feel like giving everyone an A! Oh ok...not all...but most!

The glamorous Iranian student handed me a french connection shopping bag and inside were small canvasses tied together with a beautiful bow -- she had created 12 sculpted collages she created from Eileen's poems.

And a heavenly hunk of a Filipino guy (this one's for you el serenito!) handed me this big binder and I thought: what the heck! didn't I tell you to just turn in a small folder with your entries? I get home and open it and there is this beautiful wire sculpture of himself, collages, pencil drawings, lyrical poems.

The homework was to do a one-page response to one poem a week, typed, collated into a manila folder. Still many chose to buy expensive artsy journals, submit small paintings, collages...I didn't know how to carry this bulk back to my car; fortunately I had this big scarf that doubled as a wrap -- just the way my Lola use to carry all her belongings.

This is a GE class that fulfills the ethnic studies requirement for graduation. For many it will be the only ethnic studies course in their entire college experience. For them, the assignment of doing a poetry journal is daunting and intimidating at first but their final entries all reveal the catalytic or therapeutic effect of poetry reading and response. Many rediscover a love of words that they have buried with a 5th grade teacher who made poetry a scary experience. One commented that he now realizes how impoverished his education had been (and he is graduating in 3 weeks!) because he had not been exposed to poetry. One "macho" student who thought he was too tough to be affected by poems turned out to be a gentle poet...he was only pretending otherwise.

So yes, Bino, there is a poet-god...

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