a quote from my favorite author

“The most solid advice, though, for a writer is this, I think: Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive, with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell, and when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.”

-William Saroyan, The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze

Monday, March 21, 2011

Trying Poetry

“I could feel that swarm of feelings buzzing in my chest day and night.  I needed some kind of container to hold all of them.  Poetry became that container.”
-Ralph Fletcher, from Poetry Matters: Writing a Poem from the Inside Out

I have been feeling that swarm of feelings buzzing inside my chest day and night.  I want poetry to be my container too.  My apologies to Sylvia Plath who wrote the lines I borrowed:

You ask me why I spend my life writing?
Do I find entertainment?
Is it worthwhile?
Above all, does it pay?
If not, then, is there a reason? …
I write only because
There is a voice within me
That will not be still.

My attempt at filling a container...

independent reading

you ask me to justify
why I allow my students to

is it worthwhile?
do they enjoy it?
above all, does it raise test scores?

I allow my students to
simply because there is a voice within me
that will not be still

it is the voice of an educator
who longs to inspire
lifelong readers
to feel
to hope
to participate
to communicate
to grow
to read
their way through this world

it is the voice of a citizen
who wants to inhabit a world
of people who know what
it is like to walk in someone else’s shoes

it is the voice of an educator
who longs to inspire
it is a voice—
my voice


  1. This is wonderful! It shares such passion for what you do! And keep giving your kids independent reading time. Kids will read if given the time and books! Eventually, it helps them in every aspect of their life!

    Happy Writing

  2. Yes, this is a great follow up to the passion about wanting to maintain independent reading at school.

  3. Love this! I wasn't familiar with Plath's words until I read them (loved them too) and what you did with them was amazing! Using poetry to reflect on why we do what we do...great idea.
    Your word choice and line breaks help convey the passion you feel for this topic. Nicely done!

  4. We teach them bunches of things with independent reading and some of those you have outlined in your poem. But we also teach them to concentrate--to carry a thought--to indulge themselves in a good way--to fall into someone else's creation.

    I'm all for independent reading. Kudos to you.

    P.S. You're welcome for my fan mail to you. We all need a little attaboy, someone in our corner once in a while. And I'm in yours.

    Elizabeth E.