Gillian Jerome is a poet, essayist and instructor of literature in the Department of English at UBC. She teaches Canadian and American poetries of all historical periods, as well as poetries from other parts of the world. She has all kinds of experience teaching poetry to high school students and would be very happy to lead a writing workshop in your classroom and even share a lesson plan!
I sure did! I loved all kinds of poems from Lord Alfred Tennyson’s “The Lady of Shallott” to Gwendolyn Brooks "the kitchenette building" to The Clash’s “London Calling.” For a long while, I’ve known by heart the poems “Wild Geese” by Mary Oliver and “The Emperor of Ice-Cream” by Wallace Stevens.
In grade six, I won a poetry contest for a poem called "The Sea Queen" about a woman who lived under the sea. Ooooh, I wish I knew it well enough to quote its zinging lines for you!
As teenager, I loved the work of ee cummings, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Gwendolyn Brooks, Leonard Cohen and Wallace Stevens, but wasn't until I read more widely at university that I really understood poetry as a craft, not just a machine of feelings. I suppose I thought of myself as as poet when I published my first book of poems in my 30s.
I can’t say what a poet's “job” should be other than writing poems because I don’t think about poetry in transactional terms. (It's worth looking into what the average poet earns from their poetry!) Maybe a poet's work is to pay attention.
If I were asked about my desires in poetry, I might say that my desire as a poet is to read widely, write well, and pay close attention to what's going on.
Leanne Simpson's “i am graffiti”!