Sunday, July 7, 2013

Because I Love E. E. Cummings

There has been a lot of discussion about what the Common Core will do to English classrooms.  The big fear is that it will force out fiction and poetry based literature.  I try to hold hope that it will not happen.  I know I will be fighting to make sure that fiction and poetry are a vital part of my American Literature class.  I have and will continue to look at essay and non-fiction writing, but you will have to pry some of the great literature from my cold, dead body.

Diane Ravitch posted an entry about the connection of one of my favorite e.e. cummings poem "since feeling is first" and its connection to the common core.  It got me thinking about my own class.  I love much of the modern/contemporary writing for its ability to force students to think.  They are already happy with reading something and having the answer given to them in the text.  They want to be able to copy a text book and regurgitate what they have read (or so they think).

When I put on of an e. e. cummings' poem in front of them, they struggle seeing some of the connections. It is tough to force yourself to open up to all of the different ideas and getting past that which is implied and not present.  That which we have to bring to the text.

I am going to make sure this year that I don't give into some of the simplistic non-fiction material that seems to be pushed by some.  I am going to make sure that my students will be exposed to Langston Hughes, Mark Twain, Hawthorne, and of course e.e. cummings.  With that, I would like to share one of my favorite cummings' poems:  "my sweet old etcetera"

my sweet old etcetera
aunt lucy during the recent

war could and what
is more did tell you just
what everybody was fighting

my sister

isabel created hundreds
hundreds) of socks not to
mention shirts fleaproof earwarmers

etcetera wristers etcetera, my

mother hoped that

i would die etcetera
bravely of course my father used
to become hoarse talking about how it was
a privilege and if only he
could meanwhile my

self etcetera lay quietly
in the deep mud et

cetera, of
Your smile
eyes knees and of your Etcetera) 

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