Tag Archives: Mary Oliver

On Year 5: December’s Poems


  Winter, to quote Eddard Stark, is coming. There are so many poems about cold and snow and ice.  Perhaps it’s simply the hunkering down we have to do in the storm that makes poets write that storm down.  Imagine them, if you will, huddled next to the wood fire, blowing on cold hands before …

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On Year 5: August & September’s Poems


This month marked the beginning of the fifth year of reading a poem a day to my students.  All of them.  Every period, every day.  Such a simple thing to do–and yet.  We don’t do it.  We live in a school culture which devalues poems, calls them “hard,” and makes students frightened of them.  That’s a …

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On Year 4: January’s Poems


Happy New Year! It’s cold.  Really cold.  Polar vortexes taking over and everything.  Pipes freezing.  Cars not starting.  Wind chills in the -30s.  And two and a half months until spring.  It’s hard to read, let alone write.  Still, there are cold poems out there for the harvesting, and I’ve been delivering them to the …

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On Year 4: December’s Poems


December has been cold and snowy.  It is snowing now as I write this, in fact, and is due to snow and sleet all weekend–but it’s no matter, as now it’s closing in on winter break.  Fortunately, there’s something about snow that inspires poets:  there are many many choices for snowy poems to read.  And …

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On Year 4: September’s Poems


Of course, the school year actually started in August–doesn’t it always?  So there’s a bonus poem.  I faced the usual resistance among some of the kids who have never been in my class before:  do we have to listen to every poem?  Yes, I told them–every blasted one.  That pretty much answers that question, came the …

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On Year 3: April’s Poems


April is the cruelest month, and the coolest.  April is, of course, celebrated as National Poetry Month.  In April, just like Chaucer’s pilgrims, I always feel restless when the snow recedes and the flowers begin teasing, when the birds come back, when the mud oozes forth.    In the poetic realm, I am not, by …

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On Year 3: January’s Poems


January!  What a hard month.  The cruelest one–don’t you believe anyone who tells you that’s April.  The big come-down off the holiday high, the wind howling down from the north, freezing everything it touches…and then suddenly, a day with a warm south wind that gives you a hint of what you’ve been missing, before yanking you …

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On the Second March’s Poems


March, in public school, is the longest of months, and frequently the dreariest, because March is bipolar.  That whole schtick about coming in like a lion and going out like a lamb?  Well, not exactly.  On March 21st the temperatures were in the 80’s–so warm that I broke out sandals to wear to school.  Here.  …

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On the Second January’s Poems


I can’t begin to tell you how much I hate winter.  It worries me terribly.  Everything is so much harder, and darker, and more expensive.  Twice this month I’ve taken a header, once in the driveway, once in the parking lot at the Indian Island School on the way to a basketball game.  Winter hurts.  …

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On the Second December’s Poems


This has been a distinctly odd month, weather-wise:  warm when it should have been cold, rain when there should have been snow.  As always, we plug along to the death of the old year, the days growing shorter, the darkness stretching.  This month, though, some of the boys have been asking for poems with hunting, …

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