What happens off camera. . . stays off camera

What happens off camera. . . stays off camera. Mostly. As video conferencing becomes normative so also does the occasional crumb-cruncher intrusion. One article put it this way, we are all the BBC dad now.

Another dynamic that manifested itself with business and education now primarily being conducted virtually, is the reality of economic inequities among employees and students. We are now looking into our co-workers’ living rooms, kitchens, home offices, or ceilings. As one Twitter user stated, “financial inequities in the classroom are on full display. . .”

 

Co-workers and classmates may not know that you do not have internet at home. That you go to the public library for internet usage. Or that you drive to the Dunkin Donuts eight miles away when the library closes in order to use free WiFi to finish a project.

Maybe you do have internet at your apartment. But it is really slow, because you cannot afford a larger internet package. Or that you live in a rural location and high-speed internet is not available.

Or there is a hardware issue. The computer laptop you have does not have the capability to run the latest video conferencing software application.

The COVID-19 pandemic appears to be an equalizer of sorts. We are all vulnerable. During this season when we all feel unsafe, exposed it presents opportunities to show compassion and understanding. My hope is that when we are on the other side of this crisis we will show empathy towards each other.

How did you come to poetry?

Over the weekend, an editor made a comment on Facebook that got me thinking about the question, how did you come to poetry?

My response is not an academic reply. The mechanics of poetry make the art good and great. But the best way to ruin poetry for young minds or new readers, is to have people study the architecture of a poem–its meter, rhyme, enjambment, stanzas, etc. Is this the way you learn about a new home? When you enter a friend’s home for the first time, do you inquire as to house’s foundation (is it a slab foundation?), framing (stick frame or post and beam?) or roof (you get the point)? So why do educators insist on destroying poetry for young readers? Make the home inviting. Make poetry inviting.

As a poetry reader, I approach a poem (or body of poems) as I would a new home of a friend I just met. I enter the door, look at the paintings on the wall, run my fingers along the spines of the books on the shelf, scan over the vinyl collection beside the stereo and sit on the futon near the front window. This is how to see what the poet sees through the window of the poem. This is when I see what the poet says about love, injustice or various other subjects and topics.

Not all poems are created equal. Sometimes I get the impression that someone or something is shouting at me from an open door. I tend to quicken my steps along the street and find a more inviting home–a more inviting poem.

Poetry is not something I studied in school. There were, of course, the required literature classes, and some teachers that opened the landscape of great poetry and prose. But for me, someone left the back door to the house of poetry open and I slipped in to explore. A house doesn’t seem so intimidating or formal when you enter, casually, from the backdoor.

Wikipedia is not the beginning and end of research

…students don’t consult enough sources. Wikipedia is so easy and accessible that it stands out from all other reference works. Thirty years ago, students might check several encyclopedias…. Now, it’s Wikipedia first and, too often, last.

Mark Bauerlein, via The Chronicle of Higher Education. Link.