I received an invitation from a former alumni to come in and visit his current classroom and speak on some of the joys of poetry. Wow! What an honor that is! To be sought after as almost an 'expert' or go-to guy on poetry, especially when there is currently one in the school (technically) is an honor. I can understand how the students might be getting sour vibes from his monotony relating to the same pieces again and again--some of which are his--but I can also appreciate and respect the majority of his work. So there is definitely no bad blood and no loss of respect between me and my former teacher, but there is definitely an understanding about the way he can sometimes act and be perceived by others. I remember when I took a class with him: there were few tests, there was a focus on deciphering and interpreting poetry, writing our own poetry, and group discussions. I don't remember a very high level of learning in the sense that learning took place in the other English classrooms I was in. But I digress...to each teacher their own methods to success...and he definitely has proven a record of success and intelligence both in his classroom and in his own accomplishments. I can only wish to receive the same accolades and scholarly titles he has.
Nonetheless, I am excited to come in and lecture...which brings up a good point: what will I talk about? What lesson should I teach? Poets? Books? Should we write individual poems or one together as a class? Should we proceed forward assuming they understand themes and elements, or proceed with caution assuming they have previously grasped very little? Should I incorporate my own work or work I admire? More SLAM/spoken word (which is becoming more prevalent) or more classical poetry with contemporary or modern elements? Would they identify better with easier-grasped themes or poetry of experience (war, the streets, life, etc.)?
A lot of rumination is needed in the days to come as we approach the d-day of poetry back at the good ol' Academy.