Image from Rexlace Club http://www.rexlaceclub.com/default.aspx; used with permission
I don’t read poetry because I don’t get it. I wish the poem would just say what it means – too often I don’t know what the poet is talking about and then I feel stupid and then resentful that it made me feel that way and so I don’t read poetry. I realize I am not supposed to take this view or at least not supposed to voice it, but I can’t help it. Reading poetry reminds me of trying to do crossword puzzles – I hate those cutesy hints – just ask me what you want to know! It feels passive-aggressive…
Why then do I find listening to poetry to be so different? I often hear The Writer’s Almanac on my morning commute. In it Garrison Keillor (who by the way along with Jim Dale is one of the two best read-alouders in the world) reads a poem. I almost always appreciate it, and oftentimes I really like it. I heard the poet Billy Collins read his poem The Lanyard on the radio program A Prairie Home Companion and have cherished it ever since. [Use RealPlayer to listen to segment 2 of the show.] And years ago I heard Robert Bly read his work and loved it.
I don’t know why hearing a poem makes it more understandable to me, but when I hear a poem it says exactly what it means, way better than if it just said what it meant. And once I have heard a poem read well, I can go back and read it myself and enjoy it. So I am led to conclude that this all has to do with voice. I need to hear a literal voice before I can hear the figurative voice. (The inverse of this is that I cannot bear to listen to a recorded book if the voice isn’t “right.” Which is why I appreciate Keillor and Dale so much.)
The poet Robert Browning is said to have remarked: When I wrote that poem only God and I knew what it meant. Now only God knows. Points for honesty, Bob. Maybe it would have helped to hear it read aloud?
When asked how to help the children and families in Haiti, one recommendation from the panelists at yesterday’s Half Year Program was: do your homework. Learn about the people and the place, the culture and concerns.
Here are a few resources to help you build your background knowledge, and learn more about relief and development efforts and service opportunities that could be of interest.
Global Issues in Context
Earthquake in Haiti
“Haiti” in The World of Child Labor: An Historical and Regional Survey
“Haiti” in New Americans: A Guide to Immigration Since 1965.
Cadet, J. (1998). Restavec: from Haitian slave child to middle-class American. Austin : University of Texas Press, 1998.
Kidder, T. (2003). Mountains beyond mountains: The quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a man who would cure the world. New York, Random House.
Haiti Fund at the Boston Foundation
Haiti Fund – Resources
International Rescue Committee –Haiti, One Year On
Helping Children Cope with Stress
Coping With Traumatic Events
Resources on the Web
Boston Haitian Reporter
Boston Haitian Reporter – Community Resources
Haitian Health Institute at the Boston Medical Center
CCHER (Center for Community Health, Education & Research)
CCHER – List of Boston Haitian Resources
60 Minutes videos
Haiti: Frustration and Anger
The Lost Children of Haiti
Thanks to your donations of unwanted books at the end of last year, over $70 was donated to the National Center for Family Literacy. The Library also received a commission which will be used to purchase additional materials to support you in your coursework. Instead of your unwanted books ending up in a landfill, they were sent to Better World Books to be resold or recycled.
Last year we sent them 334 books; 288 were reused and 46 were recycled. By reselling and recycling these books, we had a positive environmental impact. Your book donations saved 6 trees, 4028 gallons of water, and 481 lbs of greenhouse gases. The moral of the story is, if you have unwanted books at the end of the semester, place them in the Better World Book bins located in the Library foyer, the CCSR, the old Student Center, and at Hawes. We will send them to be recycled and the environment, the literacy foundation, the Library, and ultimately you will all benefit.
I love September – new beginnings, cooler weather, beautiful colors. I always loved to read and maybe that’s one reason I chose education as my profession. I grew up in a community that was open to different points of view. While in school I learned that there were books that we read that were not allowed in other schools throughout the country. Here are some of my favorites: Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman, Lord of the Flies by William Golding, Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Sneak a peek of these wonderful books – with a flashlight, under your covers.
Have a productive and good year,
Director, Wheelock College Resource Center