On a beautiful fall November morning, about 60 WPWP friends, family members, and teacher and student authors gathered in Posvar Hall to celebrate the publication of The Poetic Classroom. WPWP Fellows Cj Coleman, Christine Wolfe, and Ella Macklin shared the story of the poetry workshops, research process, and teachers’ and students’ creativity that produced this valuable book of poetry lessons, reflective narratives, and student samples. Christine Stroud, Autumn House Press, described the design decisions in creating the just right cover and book formats.
Christine Wolfe, co-editor, and coordinator of this successful book launch, shared how teachers of art, science, and English language arts from Kindergarten to higher education developed teachable and engaging lessons that inspired students to write in revealing and original ways. Matt Luskey, co-editor and WPWP Director during the Poetic Classroom project, sent greetings and remarks from his new home in California. In a moving tribute, Matt wrote,
If one had to distill the experience of hundreds of writing teachers to a few lines, they might read the last stanza of our dear friend Bobbie Bates’ poem, “To Forget,” which she produced at one of these workshops:
Remember summers when bougainvillea laces your trellis
and larkspur thrusts among the rowdy phlox,
Times when you crop the hollyhocks for seed, spreading pips
across the soil.
Along with our dear friend’s poetry, I am inspired by the teaching innovation evident in these pages. The lynchpin connecting the wheel of firsthand writing experience with the axle of teaching is adaptation. You can’t simply reproduce a Jan Beatty poetry workshop. Who could? The Poetic Classroom is a book of student and teacher poetry housed in narratives of adaptation.
More than 20 WPWP teachers wrote lessons and poems for the book and 50 students contributed poems. Email wpwp.pitt.edu if you’re interested in contributing to WPWP in order to receive the new WPWP book, The Poetic Classroom.