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in defense of poetry, with apologies to Percy Shelley

I spent about six weeks this semester teaching and talking about poetry with my students.  Almost to a person, they started the term with “eh…I don’t much like poetry,” and “I don’t get poetry,” and “what the hell is poetry even about, anyway?” All reasonable questions, I guess, for students who have grown up in a world where they almost never encounter poetry, other than in song lyrics or spoken-word …

in which teaching becomes a metaphor. or something.

Next week I am teaching Virginia Woolf’s brilliant and amazing essay A Room of One’s Own. So on my list of “to do” for the weekend is this note, jotted down while I was in a meeting: “find a way in to Room.” Indeed. Of course, what I meant (I think) was that I need to figure out how to help my students tackle this long essay. But the metaphor? …

if your dinner guests don’t behave, does that make you an ineffective hostess? (from the archives)

One story: this semester, I teach two sections of the same class. One class meets at 930AM and has sixteen students, all of whom are native English speakers.  The students are lively (probably stoked on the morning coffee); they seem to keep up with the reading. The second section meets at 2PM and has twenty-six students, seven of whom are non-native English speakers. It’s a less talkative class and I …

Malls as far as the eye can see…but what about a science museum?

Today in The National, I’m writing about the speed with which Abu Dhabi is growing: everywhere you look, there are construction sites, cranes, earthmovers.  But the construction seems dedicated to malls and apartment buildings…I’m wondering whether someone couldn’t design a children’s science museum?  When it’s 44C in the shade, wouldn’t it be great to take the kids “science-ing” instead of shopping?  Click here to read the article–and let the newspaper …

in which the godless heathens go to a wedding

image source Old Longtime friends of my husband’s got remarried this past weekend. For those of you in blogland, yes, I know, can you imagine? They got married on Blogher weekend, thus forcing me to choose between…well, between blogging and my family. My family won although frankly, it was a tough call. Not only would I miss actual face-to-face conversations with people I generally talk to only on the interwebs, …