Welcome to The Font poetry page. Here you will find a wide range of poetry relevant to the interests of language teachers.
To illustrate the range of poetry we publish in The Font, this inaugural edition opens with two pieces by writers (one present, one past) who provide hope and inspiration to all teacher-poets who would much rather put down the chalk for good and pick up the quill full time instead: Taylor Mali (What Teachers Make) and D H Lawrence (Last Lesson of the Afternoon). We then take wry look at modern lesson plans with Taylor Mignon. See what he has to share in Haiku, Hacky Sack and Fluxus Synathesia. We close with Almighty, a 'poessay' by English student Ryosuke Saeki.
We hope you enjoy this edition. Please comment on any of the poems if you wish. We also hope you are inspired to submit to The Font yourself.
Glen Edmonds (poetry editor) & The Font team
WHAT TEACHERS MAKE ~ TAYLOR MALI
In this rousing performance piece, Mali explains with passion the importance of the underpaid, underrated job of teaching. This is a spoken word poem that all junior high and high school teachers in particular will relate to. Check it out on YouTube:
Mali, an ex-teacher, is one of the impressive few who succeed in making a living out of poetry and associated work. Find out more at http://www.taylormali.com/
LAST LESSON OF THE AFTERNOON ~ D H LAWRENCE
At the other extreme from Mali's What Teachers Make is Lawrence's 1913 poem Last Lesson of the Afternoon. Here, Lawrence nails burn out. Some things never change.
Last Lesson of the Afternoon
When will the bell ring, and end this weariness?
How long have they tugged the leash, and strained apart,
My pack of unruly hounds! I cannot start
Them again on a quarry of knowledge they hate to hunt,
I can haul them and urge them no more.
No longer now can I endure the brunt
Of the books that lie out on the desks; a full threescore
Of several insults of blotted pages, and scrawl
Of slovenly work that they have offered me.
I am sick, and what on earth is the good of it all?What good to them or me, I cannot see!
So, shall I take
My last dear fuel of life to heap on my soul
And kindle my will to a flame that shall consume
Their dross of indifference; and take the toll
Of their insults in punishment? – I will not! –
I will not waste my soul and my strength for this.
What do I care for all that they do amiss!
What is the point of this teaching of mine, and of this
Learning of theirs? It all goes down the same abyss.
What does it matter to me, if they can write
A description of a dog, or if they can't?
What is the point? To us both, it is all my aunt!
And yet I'm supposed to care, with all my might.
I do not, and will not; they won't and they don't; and that's all!
I shall keep my strength for myself; they can keep theirs as well.
Why should we beat our heads against the wall
Of each other? I shall sit and wait for the bell.
HAIKU, HACKY SACK AND FLUXUS SYNASTHESIA ~ TAYLOR MIGNON
In this entertaining, surreal work, Taylor shares an idea for an innovative, humanistic lesson, and leaves readers wondering how much serious lampooning is wrapped within the whimsy.
Haiku, Hacky Sack and Fluxus Synathesia
If only i could teach the favorites
Haiku and Hacky Sack
Combine both for a special seminar
Each time you kick the bag
You say a line: haiku sack
Hacking and haiku lecturing
Surliest Paul what's his name Eluard
Wrote haiku like verse in French
The wind rolls a spliff, woah dude
Or simpler, each member calls out
Random concrete particulars
If you can do a rainbow
Kicking the footbag over yr head
Back and forth with each foot
While uttering a yugen laden image
Then yr Dr. Haiku Hack King
Conduct as Fluxus performance
Use heavy balloons instead
for a light classroom workout
ALMIGHTY ~ A POESSAY BY RYOSUKE SAEKI
'Poessay' is a neologism coined by its inventor, English teacher John Pereira, to denote a short form of writing which combines elements of the poem and the essay. The poessay has generated a lot of discussion, and although it has its critical detractors, is popular with students. My own view is that the best poessays are epigrammatic, and exploit rhetorical features common to that kind of poetic expression. In Almighty, for example, student Ryosuke Saeki deploys basic grammar and vocabulary in parallelism that is impressive from an elementary learner.