Thursday, July 10, 2008

Week One: Reflections from Lead Artist

[This is me with my adopted dog, Elliot!]

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:

Wild Rhubarb

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


to China, but her growing prefrontal cortex no

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!


Kathleen Dale
Lead Artist

1 comment:

Louisa said...

what a wonderful program and Kathleen Dale is one dynamite poet and teacher. I look forward to seeing some of the group's poems. Wow. Louisa Gallas