Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Manifesto Day, Part One

Hepatica buds in the early morning light on Munger trail. 
Toward the end of each year in my AP class, and then usually a bit later in my English 12 classes, I have students read a selection of contemporary American poetry, including a number of poems that are, essentially, manifestos

We discuss them, and then I ask the students to write their own poetic manifestos. They are often a bit nervous about this assignment, as there are almost no guidelines, no limits. They also have to read them aloud to the class on the due date, no excuses, no exceptions. (They practice in small groups first, and then read them to the whole class.) It's always pretty intense and emotional. 

Someone usually starts crying while reading or while listening, and before long almost everybody's tear-ducts are working a bit harder than usual. 

Morning dew on mullein leaves, Munger Trail.
At the best of times, people really say what they want to say, not what they think others want to hear. This year, I asked the students to post their manifestos on their blogs as well, so here are some links from the AP class:  Mary B, Meggan G, Cara H, Natasha K, Jake K, Calvin K, Catherine M, Asher N, Ian P, Erin P, Gunnar R, and Maddie S. (Stay tuned for links to English 12 manifestos!)

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