"WHATEVER SHIRLEY OR NICK TELL YOU-BELIEVE THEM."
- Naomi Shihab Nye
How do we read a poem? What can we teach from a poem we love? How can we name what poets do in order to inform our writing, our teaching?
In their staff development work with teachers, Nick Flynn and Shirley McPhillips have often encountered these and similar questions. This book invites preservice and inservice teachers, staff developers - anyone who wants to make a lasting place for poetry in their own and their students' lives - into many of these same primary through middle school classrooms for an up-close look at several thoughtful, rigorous, poetry inquiries.
Each chapter begins with a mentor poem as the centerpiece for discussion, followed by a short narrative of ways the authors view their world through that chapter's particular poetic "lens." The authors then walk the reader into a classroom writer's workshop where, through vignettes, conversations, and carefully designed mini-lessons, that chapter's key element of poetic practice is being studied over time.
Other aspects that will help teachers in designing and conducting inquiry around mentor poems include:
A Note Slipped Under the Door will show how you might help your student writers let the poems they love teach them what they need to know, and build a writing life that includes finding and crafting their own.