Talking to the Texan Basho

I was fortunate to spend several hours Wednesday and Thursday visiting and discussing poetry (virtually, that is) with Heather Curran’s English classes. What impressive students! And of course their teacher is incomparable.

Poetry, journals, vents, and musings of a distracted woman

For the last two days, my students have metaphorically sat at the feet of Robert “Bob” Okaji and learned and learned and learned some more.  Last week, I gave them five poems and a handful of directions:  what are the poems’ topics?  What are the poems’ meanings?  Why are those meanings important?

They broke up into small groups,  clusters of four or five (for the most part).  Several students hunched at their desks by themselves.  In one class, I had a mini-board meeting.  They lined up colored pens and colored pencils and dove headfirst into diction, symbols, metaphors, and language, such beautiful language that I would tie myself to the phonemes and feel myself lift like a kite.

I flitted from group to group, gave encouragement, a little insight.  I saw a bridge where none existed.  I confirmed analysis of the concept of zero and the importance of etymology.  I…

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8 thoughts on “Talking to the Texan Basho

  1. Oh, so terrific – what a gift you’ve given! What an endorsement of modern technology … VERY different hearing poetry read by the poet vs the teacher whose voice has associations with authority! (Not to mention that you indeed have a very stirring voice.)

    Liked by 4 people

    • We’ve done it for three years in a row, and I learn as much from the students as they do from me. While I generally avoid explaining what I “mean” in the poems, we discuss elements of the poems, and will talk about various techniques used, and how and/or why they might be used. Great fun.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks, Ken. I didn’t have this sort of opportunity when I was in school, until late in my college life, when a short story instructor took the class through a draft and revision of one of his stories. It was illuminating, to say the least.

      Liked by 2 people

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