Classroom Strategies

After a preliminary discussion of the poem, I showed my students a Youtube video of Mark Doty reading this poem (after sharing with his audience a brief explanation of the context under which he wrote it). Afterward, some of my students noted that his performance of the poem had not been identical to the text in their anthologies. This led to an interesting class discussion of the fixity of texts (or lack thereof). Just because something is published in an anthology doesn’t mean it is the authoritative text. Is a poem still the same poem if the author has intentionally, or accidentally, changed some of the words? Where is the heart of the poem located? It was a new direction for our conversation, and one I hadn’t anticipated. Later in midterm reviews, many of my students commented that one of their favorite elements of the class was “watching or listening to authors reading their own work”. Here is the link I used. [Ariel Lewiton]