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Poetry Response. Fall 2011. Instructions:. Write about a one page reflection on the poem The reflection does not have to be on the literary devices, or the symbolic meaning of the poem, but it must be about the poem in some way Do not worry about grammar or writing technique

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  • Write about a one page reflection on the poem
  • The reflection does not have to be on the literary devices, or the symbolic meaning of the poem, but it must be about the poem in some way
  • Do not worry about grammar or writing technique
  • Do not worry about being wrong or not understanding the poem
  • Perhaps the poem sparks a memory, or it makes you feel a certain way, this is what you should include in your reflection
  • Reflections should be dated, titled (the name of the poem with author) written in ink, on the front of the notebook paper only
  • Reflections may be used at later date as extra credit so keep them in your notebook in the writing section
august 19 2011
August 19, 2011

I Remember by Lydia Cortes

I remember kindergarten

I remember having to say good-bye to Mami

I remember crying

I remember not understanding the teacher

I remember the English lessons with pretty Miss Powell

Who made the boxy words fit just right in my mouth without pain

I remember the teachers who said, “You don’t look Puerto Rican,”

Expecting to hear me say thank-you very much

I remember overhearing some saying Puerto Ricans

don’t care about their children, Puerto Ricans aren’t clean

I remember the heat of shame rising up,

Changing the color of my face

I remember praying no one heard what the

Teachers said, praying

No one see my hurt red as a broken heart

I remember Mr. Seidman in the 4th grade and how he chose me for a big part in the school play

I remember feeling important

I remember memorizing all those lines and Mami helping me

I remember making the audience laugh and the Applause

I remember moving to Flatbush from Fort Greene-

From a fifth floor walk-up to our very own house

I remember going from Girls High to Erasumus Hall

I remember going from smart to borderline in one day

I remember the bio teacher, Miss Nash, calling me stupid

Because I didn’t know how to use a microscope

I remember Mr. and Mrs. Hamberger

I remember how I laughed when I heard I was getting

One for political science and the other for economics

I remember being amazed when they made learning a wonder’-filled adventure

I remember working hard for them both and the faith each had in me

I remember the A’s I got in their classes

I remember being Puerto Rican in Erasums Hall High School

Because I was the only one – until my sister followed – on the academic track

I remember the guidance counselor advising me to be

A bilingual secretary because I certainly was no college material

I remember Papi, with his third grade education, saying

“Lindin, tupuedeshacer lo quequieres. Yoteapoyo en todo. Siempre.”

excerpt on i remember
Excerpt on “I Remember”

“You can do whatever you want. I will support you in everything. Always.” The last line of this poem speaks of the power of family love and support, especially in families such as was mine, that had limited material resources to give.

In 1966, when I started teaching, few books discussed Puerto Rican students in the United States – none written or edited by a Puerto Rican. When I decided to write Puerto Rican Students in U.S. Schools, I called on Lydia Cortes (my sister and a gifted poet) to write the opening piece.

I cried when I read her poem. It continues to evoke strong emotions in me. I too had my share of demeaning, disparaging, and uncaring teachers. I also remember those who made a difference. Mrs. Phillips, my fifth-grade teacher and the only African-American teacher I had until I was a doctoral student, caught me cheating and gave me the only zero I ever received – and I knew it was because she believed in me. And Mr. And Mrs. Fried, high school French teachers, who made me proud that I spoke Spanish and showed me that knowing one language can help with a new one.

“I Remember” reflects the reality of school for many children. It is about children’s resiliency and the power of family to counteract negative messages of schools and society. Most of all it is a tribute to teachers who make a difference.

- Sonia Nieto, College Professor, Massachusetts

don t quit by edgar a guest august 26 2011
Don’t Quit by Edgar A. GuestAugust 26, 2011

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will

When the road you are trudging seems all uphill,

When the funds are low and the debts are high,

And you want to smile but you have to sigh,

When care is pressing you down a bit,

Rest, if you must – but don’t you quit!

Life is queer with its twists and turns,

As every one of us sometimes learns,

And many a failure turns about,

When he might have won had he stuck it out;

Don’t give up, though the pace seems slow,

You might succeed with another blow.

Success is failure turned inside out

the silver tint of the clouds of doubt

And you can never tell how close you are,

It might be near when seems afar;

So stick to the fight when you are hardest hit

It’s when things get worse that you mustn’t quit!

vegetarian physics by david clewell september 2 2011
Vegetarian Physics by David Clewell September 2, 2011

The tofu that’s shown up overnight in this house is frightening

proof of the Law of Conservation: matter that simply cannot be

created or destroyed. Matter older than Newton,

who knew better than to taste it. Older than Lau-tzu,

who thought about it but finally chose harmonious non-interference.

I’d like to be philosophical too, see it as some kind of pale

inscrutable wisdom among the hot dogs, the cold chicken,

the leftover deviled eggs, but I’m talking curdled soybean milk. And I don’t have that kind of energy.

I’d rather not be part of the precariously metaphorical

wedding of modern physics and the ancient Eastern mysteries.

But still: whoever stashed the tofu in my Frigidaire had better come back for it soon. I’m not Einstein but I’m smart enough to know a bad idea when I see it taking up space, biding its time.

Like so much that demands out imperfect attention

amid the particle roar of the world: going nowhere, fast.

The poet Robert Frost once wrote, “Unless you are at home in the metaphor, you are not safe anywhere.” Although he makes his point somewhat playfully, he reminds us that making sense of our lives and world requires going beyond a surface understanding. We must be able to infer meanings that may only be suggested, to understand the significance of symbolic gestures, to comprehend not just what has happened but what it means.

the sacred by stephen dunn september 9 2011
The Sacred by Stephen DunnSeptember 9, 2011

After the teacher asked if anyone had

a sacred place

and the students fidgeted and shrank

in their chairs, the most serious of them all

said it was his car

being in it alone, his tape deck playing

things he’d chosen, and others knew the truth

had been spoken

and began speaking about their rooms,

their hiding places, but the car kept coming up,

the car in motion,

music filling it, and sometimes one other person

who understood the bright altar of the dashboard

and how far away

a car could take him from the need

to speak, or to answer, the key

in having a key

and putting it in, and going.

calypso s song september 16 2011 by suzanne vega http www youtube com watch v xiz liofm3m
Calypso’s Song September 16, 2011by Suzanne Vega http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XIZ_LIOfm3M

My name is Calypso

And I have lived alone

I live on an island

And I waken to the dawn

A long time ago

I watched him struggle with the sea

I knew that he was drowning

And I brought him into me

Now today

Come morning light

He sails away

After one last night

I let him go.

My name is Calypso

My garden overflows

Thick and wild and hidden

Is the sweetness there that grows

My hair it blows long

As I sing into the wind

My name is Calypso

And I have lived alone

I live on an island

I tell of nights

Where I could taste the salt on his skin

Salt of the waves

And of tears

And though he,pulled away

I kept him here for years

I let him go

My name is Calypso

I have let him go

In the dawn he sails away

To be gone forever more

And the waves will take him in again

But he'll know their ways now

I will stand upon the shore

With a clean heart

And my song in the wind

The sand will sting my feet

And the sky will burn

It's a lonely time ahead

I do not ask him to return

I let him go

I let him go

making contact september 23 2011 by virginia satir
Making Contact September 23, 2011by Virginia Satir

I believe

The greatest gift

I can conceive of having

From anyone


to be seen by them,

heard by them,

to be understood


touched by them.

The greatest gift

I can give


to see, hear, understand

and to touch

another person.

When this is done

I feel

contact has been made.

the drum by nikki giovanni september 30 2011
the drum by nikki giovanni September 30, 2011

daddy says the world

is a drum tight

and hard

and i told him

i’m gonna beat out

my own rhythm