Recommended Reading: Why Teaching Poetry Is So Important,
by Andrew Simmons
Review by Julie Carpenter
I have recently started tutoring. Whereas teaching is more like preventative healthcare, tutoring is surgical. Students are preparing for specific tests or trying to catch up in a specific subject. The teaching styles can be somewhat different. Still, I like to keep up with ideas about classroom teaching, and I find that some students need to wake up different parts of their brains before they can focus on the immediate skills they are trying to acquire.
While I was perusing the educational landscape, I came across this article: Why Teaching Poetry Is So Important, by Andrew Simmons. The article is thought provoking, and I recommend reading it even if you’re not currently in school, or you don’t have children in school; everyone is affected by the results of our education system.
The Scent of an Iris
by Julie Carpenter
Today I was surprised by the scent of an iris. Tall and elegant irises don’t attack you with scent, like their slightly tawdrier friends, the gardenias. There aren’t a million perfumes that advertise iris in the scent. They seem too classy to spend a lot of time branding or hiring PR firms, but I would like to note on their behalf that they do have a lovely scent. In fact, if you don’t have irises yourself, your neighbors might. Dash out and give them a sniff. (Most gardeners I know would probably forgive your sneaking into their yards to place your nose in an iris - if you think to compliment them about the garden- but for your safety, please ask first.)
by Jarad Johnson
I have been trying to force myself to get through a book for nearly two weeks, and I’ve come to the realization that what I am reading is boring me. I’ve been on a fantasy/fiction kick for some time now, and I. Am. Bored. Unstimulated. Unmotivated. Banging my head against the wall.
I was going to attempt to get through it so that I could review it, but it’s not possible. I need to find something else and get out of this rut. This is something that happens to me, and I assume most readers, about twice a year or so. I just get stuck reading basically the same book and genre, and I get to a point where I need some variation. You’d think that I would learn from my mistakes year after year, but sadly that has yet to happen. Typical.
Here is a piece Mekayla wrote concerning the Yellow Wallpaper and its theme of postpartum depression.
“The Yellow Wallpaper” is traditionally considered a feminist text, with scholars reading feminism in the way the narrator rips down the wallpaper that is symbolic of the heavy expectations on nineteenth century women. However, Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s work also explores the experience of a mother suffering from what we now call postpartum depression; it reminds us that mental illness has always been a legitimate problem and it makes the story relatable even today. Gilman’s narrator experiences the pariah-hood that mothers experienced before the discovery of postpartum depression, and still often experience today.
A few rambling thoughts
by Julie Carpenter
We seem to live in a world of sound bites and memes. Every day on Facebook we see pithy sayings and joke pictures that try to sum up complex matters with a single quote (often enough attributed to someone who never said any such thing.) Sometimes the meme pretends to state a fact. Sometimes these facts are true, more often they are not. On rare occasions, if I feel that person posted the meme in good faith and would want to know if they are spreading a lie, I will double check and let them know.
It's that time of year now where spring colds are rampant. Oftentimes, when you're sick you can feel too miserable to bother picking up a book. However, Jarad is sharing his thoughts on why you should bother. Happy reading!
I think I get sick every single spring. My sinuses go crazy, my nose stuffs up. In short, I always feel miserable around March and April. And it's around this time that reading becomes the most challenging for me. It's very easy to wallow in my misery and just watch Netflix all day.
Infinity Standing Up
Written by Drew Pissarra
Review by Julie Carpenter
In this short collection of sonnets, Drew Pisarra ruminates on the birth and death of a love affair destined to end, and all the stages in between. The poems are by turns touching, passionate, vulgar and hilarious.
Jarad is sharing his thoughts on boxwood hedging today!
Boxwoods annoy me. There, I said it. They’re everywhere, in every yard and garden in America, it seems. They’re even in front of my house! And I don’t like them; to be frank, they’re boring, but since they’re living plants, I would feel bad taking them out of the ground. I prefer things with colorful blooms to form hedges or to put in front of a house: hydrangeas, butterfly bushes, even forsythia is preferable to the bland, green foliage of the boxwood. And people want to use them in every part of the yard, a decision that still baffles me every time I see it. The structural upkeep required to keep them in that square, even shape is, to me, overtly contrived and far too high maintenance. But really, what irks me about them is that they’re a representation of a mentality shared by most of the developed world. That is, dominion over nature, molding it to our desired shape. People like to think that they own the earth, the land they live on, and the soil they garden in. This is not true, a false idea perpetuated by a need to own everything. We are stewards of the earth, caretakers even, but not owners. But before I get too far into my Eco-Feminist rant, let me say that to a certain extent, all gardens are in a sense a crafting of nature. You’re not going to just let the weeds take over a carefully planted bed of flowers or fertilize the dandelions that spring up everywhere. However, boxwoods and topiaries are far too artificial for my taste. I like to let plants do what they want, and the most maintenance I do is pruning and deadheading. I cannot be bothered to shape these evergreens into their desired shape. The boxwoods in front of my house are overgrown and would likely grow to great heights if I didn’t desire to see out the window.
Every reader has a ritual. Some of us listen to music, drink tea or coffee. Some of us skim paragraphs, some of us read every word. Here's some of mine! Let us know what your reading rituals are!
If you’re a ravenous reader, the way I am, you’ve probably developed some sort of reading process, you’ve either consciously or unconsciously worked out a series of customs and traditions that help you get deeply into a book and leave the world outside. I’ve been thinking about this question quite a bit today, in between the chaos that the end of the semester always brings, and I realize that I’m pretty committed to reading no matter what. However, I do have certain rituals or methods to my reading process.
Written by Jeff Weddle
Review by Julie Carpenter
Jeff Weddle’s new book of poetry, Citizen Relent, is the poet at his most prophetic, calling out the inevitable at the cliff’s edge. As always, Jeff finds caches of hope and beauty as he feels the long sure pull of death. The poems consider the material realities of the present, the possibilities for hope and despair in the future, and the images and stories of the past from which we construct our own narratives.