I am so happy to be a part of Artworks this summer! We have had a great first week.
I love these kids! So far, they have all shown amazing abilities, both in terms of work skills and artistic skills.
We have been writing intensely this week, as well as reading poems by professional poets and the poets from Gallery 37 in Chicago.
The apprentices have been focusing on identifying uses of metaphor, line breaks, and sound in their own and others' poetry.
They have been using and developing their creative and imaginative skills, as well as their reading, analyzing, speaking, and collaborative skills. They have been practicing giving and receiving artistic feedback, and applying all these abstract skills to their own work.
They all have a lot to say! There are great surprises in store, so say tuned for our doings in the next seven weeks!
Below, I've posted my most recent poem. I've told my apprentices about how I came to write it: from a picture posted in the New York Times showing a Communist Party boss down on his knees to the parents of the children killed in May by an earthquake. Many of the parents' only children were killed because of the shoddy construction of their schools.
Here is the picture:
Here is my poem:
One year into the wild chaos of puberty
she vowed to strive for perfection in all things.
The backyard’s smooth expanse of grass seemed
faultless except for the large weed in the
exact center. She’d never liked rhubarb anyway,
that nasty surprise when she was expecting cherry.
So one spring day she sat down on
the warm grass and pulled off all
its fat leaves, which wasn’t hard. But then she saw
the wrist-thick, yellow cord plugged
into hard prairie clay. Had she been
younger, she might have thought she was digging
longer harbored such fantasies.
Yet, had she been more attuned that
day, she might have felt her trowel quiver
from the earthquake at Chongquing, might
have screamed with the thousands of only children
just her age crushed in make-shift schools.
She might have felt the rage of tens of thousands of stunned
parents whose perfect children were buried alive,
found dead, then buried again:
parents who jeered at the Communist Party Boss on his knees
before them quaking in fear of their uncontrollable,
rudimentary wrath. She was learning
something about the strength of determination
as she dug, about the fixed, tenacious belief
in perfectability, yet still
it was too early for her to know about hidden
faults, the sudden tectonic shift of a force,
how things that seem to submit if their leaves are never
allowed to gather light will still hunker,
vestigial stems, and through the thickest matter put
forth even thicker, even greener shoots.*********************************
Long live freedom, creativity, and strong, well-supported schools!