On January’s Poems

Response to the Governor-elect: some of us don't think it's boring.

Back from vacation!

The only boy in third period, when faced with Baron Wormser’s poem early in the month, demanded more snow poems.  One of the girls informed him that “those were for last month.”  He said he didn’t care; he liked snowmobiling.  Such is the logic of the 17-year-old mind some days.

The reason behind the choosing of Baron Wormser’s “Carthage and Airplanes” was–I admit this freely–a bit snarky on my part.  Since Maine’s new governor, Paul LePage, so denigrated poetry and dispensed with the traditional reading by the state’s Poet Laureate, Betsy Sholl, I wanted something vaguely political, vaguely satirical.  Anything in Carthage would have done, but the opening poem is one of my favorites.  I can’t wait to see (she wrote ironically) what sort of denigration LePage will throw out for National Poetry Month–but I’m fairly certain he won’t be opening the Blaine House up for the Maine Arts Commission’s annual Poets’ Tea.


January 4, Tuesday:  “Rain in January” by Jane Kenyon.  She’s my go-go-girl.  Need a poem?  Jane’s got one.


January 5, Wednesday:  “Carthage and Airplanes” by Baron Wormser, because today is Inauguration Day, and Governor-elect LePage opted not to have an inaugural poem by the State Poet Laureate, because he wanted something less boring.  So:  snarky political poem–take that!

January 6, Thursday:  “Thoughts of a Solitary Farmhouse” by Franz Wright.

January 7, Friday:  “The Knot in the Clapboard” by Jenny Doughty

January 10, Monday: “Night Sledding” by Dawn Potter

January 11, Tuesday: “Zero Holding” by Robyn Sarah (because the boy from 3rd period is still desperately requesting snow poems, so he can snowmobile, and this one appeared on the Writers’ Almanac this morning)

January 12, Wednesday: Well, it worked.  Snow day!

January 13, Thursday: “City Scene in Snow” by Jonathan Greene

January 14, Friday: “Poem” by Christian Barter

January 18,  Tuesday:  “‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers” by Emily Dickinson, because I’m feeling very hopeful today; and surprise!  A boy in first period said, “I’ve heard of her.  I think she’s the only one you’ve read I’ve heard of.”  Well, that’s something.

January 19-21:  Midterm exams.  One of the kids asked whether any of the poems would be on the test.  No.  Assessment’s not the point of our reading these every day–I’m just doing it for the language experience and exposure, and assessment be damned (I’ve been around here long enough not to fear the administrative thunderbolt for that one.  Ha.  Assessment gods, come and get me).

January 24, Monday:  Oops!  Midterm make-ups, thanks to Friday’s snow day (we’re having quite a few of those suddenly).

January 25, Tuesday:  “A Red, Red Rose” by Robert Burns, because it’s Burns Night!

January 26, Wednesday: “To a Louse” by Robert Burns, because it’s ironically amusing, and chiefly in the Scots dialect.

January 27, Thursday: “A Simile for her Smile” by Richard Wilbur

January 28, Friday:   I was out sick today…and forgot to send in a poem with the sub plans.  I’m so ashamed.

January 31, Monday:  “Blizzard” by Bill Holm


For February, I was thinking I’d have all love poems.  Not necessarily love poems about people, but poems about anything the poet loves.  If anyone has suggestions, let me know!

1 Comment

  1. Jenny Doughty

    Oh you read one of mine! I am honoured. Or honored. You spell it your way and I’ll spell it mine, and wiggly red line be damned.


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