a girl and her boy

. daily life : wool obsession : bibliomania : living on purpose .

Tag Archives: poetry

Are we not of interest to each other? Reflection on a poem.

What a gorgeous winter day yesterday was! I got out of my neighborhood yesterday and went walking out on Boylston. Sunshine. People. Shops. The Boston Public Library. Stimulation. I need to get my butt out of the house more often like that.

Read more of this post


Phoebe in Wonderland

One of my favorite things to do is knit and watch films or anime. This past week I saw a film that had a profound effect on me:  Phoebe in Wonderland.

Phoebe in Wonderland tells the story of a girl who, later in the film, is diagnosed with Tourette syndrome. She uses her imagination to cope with her differences. The film is rich in visual color and script. This film hit me on several levels. One, as an educator, I have worked with students with Tourette syndrome, and although I knew the signs, I didn’t really understand how it changed a person’s world view. This film taught me that. Second, the mother struggles to balance her hectic home responsibilities with writing her PhD dissertation which she hopes to publish when complete while watching her husband get book deals.

At one point in the film, after some family strife where the father says something hurtful, but true, to Phoebe, the mother says to the father (and I’m cutting out some of the earlier bits in this dialogue):  I’m mad that I blame myself for the way she acts. I’m mad that I think of mothers as just mothers. And I’m mad that I care if I’m a good one. I’m mad that when you said that I knew you were right. I couldn’t take another one like her. I’m mad that I’m not writing. And I’m mad that some day I will be seventy and going on about my kids because I won’t have anything else because I didn’t do anything important. And I’m mad that sometimes I’m not scared of that at all. Because my children make me live. They make me live.

I paused the film at this point. The mother hit a nerve. Her words echoed my own struggle. This is exactly how I have been feeling about my relationship with writing lately. I’m so upset that I’m not writing (anything that I feel is worthy of being called “writing”) and at the same time, I’m not.

T. S. Eliot, one of the poets that has inspired me over and over, said, “Any poet, if he is to survive beyond his 25th year, must alter; he must seek new literary influences; he will have different emotions to express.” And that’s really where I’m stuck. My internal landscape has altered, my influences have altered, but I haven’t allowed the expression and the tone of my writing to alter. I still expect that my work will look and sound like it did in the “peak years” and I shouldn’t! My voice and my influences have matured, my writing should, too.

Back to the film. This film evoked the essence of childhood, the necessity of creativity, and the delicate and changing nature of family relationships. I highly recommend it to all. To go back to Eliot, “A play should give you something to think about. When I see a play and understand it the first time, then I know it can’t be much good.” I’m still digesting this one.


One of the many things I enjoy when I am not planning lessons is to knit while listening to podcasts. I’ve been doing this for about a year now. During this time, I’ve whittled down the list of literature-based podcasts to a few favorites:

  • alt.NPR: Poetry off the Shelf – Weekly Podcasts from PoetryFoundation.org
  • Epic Poetry
  • LibriVox Audiobooks New Releases (this is where I get the scoop!)
  • NPR: Books Podcast – NPR book reviews, news, and author interviews
  • Poetry Magazine Podcast – The editors of Poetry Magazine discuss the current issue.
  • Weekly Short Stories from LibriVox
  • World Literature Podcasting – Conversations about novels and plays from the world of western literature

What I love about literature podcasts is the availability of it. Podcasts are done through iTunes, which is software that can be obtained free through Apple’s website. Once the software is installed, simply go to iTunes Store and look around. All of the above podcasts are free! There are a lot of great podcasts out there that are completely free.

The Reading List

This post is all about books, baby! I’ve regained some of my energy for free reading this break and I picked up two new books from Fogler Library on the University of Maine campus:

Teaching the Art of Poetry: The Moves. Baron Wormser and David Cappella.

I read most of the introduction to Teaching the Art of Poetry while at the library and it sounds fantastic. The focus is on teaching what the structure of poetry is and allow students to develop meaning on a personal level. They liken understanding poetry to playing basketball. There are certain rules, movements, and positions and it is a combination of all these things that make up the game of basketball. The poem is like making the basket. It takes a whole series of steps along the way to get to the ball into the basket. And each person is like a basketball player: everyone has different skill levels. Not everyone is Michael Jordan, but that doesn’t stop you from playing! This book approaches a function or structure of poetry and discusses it in a conversational, modern tone directed towards secondary educators. And each section is complete with a week’s worth of lessons to try out. Not bad, huh.

Studies in Poetry: The Visionary. J. M. Beach.

I peeked through Studies in Poetry but didn’t really get anywhere because my attention was focused on the first book I listed. It sounds interesting though, for a poetry geek like me. 🙂

I’m looking forward to digging into these books.

P. S. I changed up my reading list page on my blog. It now contains a link to my Google Spreadsheet with all my book lists.