Poetry Friday: On Returning to Attend Poetry Class Ten Years Later

September 30th, 2011

We have a special treat today by a local Maine teacher/poet, Anne Tommaso. She teaches  Junior English at Yarmouth High School in Yarmouth, Maine and she recently finished a MA degree at the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College.”Poetry demands you return when you are different.” Take that thought with you on this Poetry Friday.

On Returning to Attend Poetry Class Ten Years Later

This coming back softens me like the worn curbs, filled in with sand,
below the torn clapboards and listing porches of this town.
I’ve had to follow signs to get here.  The new building feels like an airport;
our room is carpeted and busy. There is cider in the corner for later.
The students make room before delicately scratching their notebooks,
following their professor’s quick and quiet cadence,
which only I know is unchanged in pitch and pattern.
“Poetry demands you return when you are different,”
he has said.

Which is why, the next day, I feel farther from my own
students as I maneuver between desks, looking
more at their hunched backs than their vacant pages.
Sometimes they peck and shrill like crows, leave dirt behind them in clods,
plug themselves into machines that fill their head with clamor
and then leave the room empty in detached silence.
How to get them to come back to this human pleasure of words?
To be alert and pungent, like onions?

Entry Filed under: Poetry Friday

8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Sara Lewis Holmes  |  September 30th, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    Oh, to be a pungent onion. 😉

    Love the ideas and imagery here. Poetry is indeed about returning. I will be thinking about this long into the weekend, I believe.

  • 2. Linda Baie  |  September 30th, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    How wonderful to write this memory and question the today after that beautiful yesterday. I love ‘How to get them to come back to this human pleasure of words?’

  • 3. Joyce Ray  |  October 1st, 2011 at 10:07 am

    Like Sara, I love the last line. And how true, this challenge to reach detached students and inspire them to fill their vacant pages with words unique to them.

  • 4. Alice Barr  |  October 4th, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    ”Poetry demands you return when you are different.” I love this quote and very much enjoyed your poem Anne!

  • 5. Suzanne Hamilton  |  October 4th, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    How to inspire them to love what we love; but isn’t that why we teach?

  • 6. Do you believe in Magic? &hellip  |  October 5th, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    […] for you to find out. Somehow, it reminded me of one of the Poetry Friday contributions last week by Anne Tomaso who noted that “Poetry demands you return when you are different.” Perhaps the same is true […]

  • 7. Poems Out There | Writing&hellip  |  October 15th, 2011 at 8:04 am

    […] Stenhouse Blog Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. This entry was posted in Collaborative Inquiry, Media Literacy, Poetry, portfolio2011.2012, Uncategorized and tagged Poetry, portfolio 2011-2012, Professional Development, reflection, writing. Bookmark the permalink. ← Performance Learning with Much Ado About Nothing (my final Bread Loaf paper) […]

  • 8. Poetry Friday: Studio Art&hellip  |  October 21st, 2011 at 6:36 am

    […] to share another lovely poem by Maine teacher and poet Anne Tommaso. We recently shared her poem “On Returning to Attend Poetry Class Ten Years Later,” and this week she once again takes us back to her school […]

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