I will be spending today dreaming of king cake and St. Charles Avenue and wishing I were in New Orleans. I have so many great memories of watching the parades from uptown, catching the best beads at Muses, sipping frozen drinks out of neon plastic glasses, and trying to find anywhere that would let us use the bathroom without paying $10. Oh New Orleans, I miss you! Especially at your most festive.
Back to San Quentin. Despite my borderline crazy schedule right now, my poetry class at San Quentin on Monday nights is totally the regular highlight of my week. It's so funny/heartwarming to see the guys watching from their dorms for me to arrive and the guard to announce, "Attention all dorms: Poetry is good in the Education room . . . Poetry is good in the Education room." (Is good = students are allowed to come out of their dorms and head toward the classroom). So far, I haven't had a single student show up without his homework. Impressive, right? And you should see how psyched they are to learn about complex poetic form next week. Two of them even compiled a list of poems they want me to hunt down and print out for them, just based on their own interests (and since needless to say, they don't have access to an extensive poetry library).
Tonight, after I handed back their homework from last week (which I'd scribbled all over with a red pen), I was yammering on about how I want them to start focusing on the form/aesthetics of their poems, as well as to zero in on the sensual images & concrete details. And one of my students said:
"See, I always thought that poetry was supposed to be abstract. That you were supposed to use abstract language. That was my thinking. But then I came to your class, and I learn that I should use concrete images, and that too abstract is bad. Which wasn't what I'd been thinking. But then again, my thinking landed me in prison. It landed me right in West Block."
HAHA! See why I love them so?
and p.s., this past Friday I had a delightful blogger lunch date with this girl! I promise to post pics as soon as she sends them to me (I left my camera/phone in the car). Hint, hint Leeann! :)