I am a teacher-activist in Austin, TX trying to become more intentional about what I read. I've gotten really good at balancing fiction and nonfiction, social justice readings and fluffly young adult novels, books by men and women, people of color, queer authors, as well as the classic canon. This variety means I've been able to introduce my students to a variety of authors and ideas. Our favorites from the past year include Sandra Cisneros, Howard Zinn, Majora Carter, Naomi Shihab Nye, Malinda Lo, Walter Dean Myers, Rudolfo Anaya, Sharon M. Draper, Zoe Weil, Michael Pollan, and David Levithan. I've also worked really hard to compile text sets that address many of the greatest social justice issues of our time -- my classes are especially interested in environmental justice, human trafficking, and immigration.
I believe that to be a good teacher of reading and writing, I must also be a reader and writer in practice; I must read widely and reflect on that reading to better foster conversations about literature with my students.
Sifting through the list of books I've read in 2012, I noticed one genre that was ostensibly missing: poetry. In fact, I'm positive that the only poems I read in 2012 were the same poems passed down to me last year for curricular use during our poetry unit. Most of those poems are well-established in the canon of literature -- Dylan Thomas, William Shakespeare, Edmund Spenser, etc. Although several poets of color were included (Langston Hughes and Maya Angelou were heavily featured), I remember being upset with the lack of diversity in the resources given us to share with our extremely diverse student body -- but I also remember being totally distracted by my first year of teaching to do very much digging.
This year, I plan to be prepared. After creating a list of poets and a collection of poems, starting January 1st I'll be sharing one poem a day on this blog, along with my thoughts and reflections. Your suggestions for poets and/or poems to add to my list are welcomed and appreciated!
Thanks for your support and readership this year! Looking forward to exploring some beautiful poems together.