The trial run of my long-awaited March Madness Poetry Tournament is finally here!
I spent a good portion of this weekend, with the help of my Facebook friends, assembling a list of 32 outstanding poems that will compete against each other in head-to-head battles during each of my three freshmen English classes, beginning Tuesday and continuing as long as it takes to reach a final winner. These three final winners will battle it out in front of our entire upper school sometimes in April at one of our morning meetings.
Want to see the competitors? I’ve uploaded the booklet here, though some of the formatting seems a bit wonky. I managed to squeeze in some of my favorites (Pablo Neruda, Mary Oliver, Walt Whitman) and also some poems that are new to me. This project has been gestating for over a year, so I’m also just feeling very satisfied that I finally am getting to see it in action.
I’m so excited to see how my students respond, and to see which classes vote for which, and most of all, what poems will rise to the top. I’m hoping my students enter into the spirit of the tournament, casting aside any notions that poetry is only about the classroom exercise, the fumbling dissection that leaves most of them feeling uncomfortable and awkward in the presence of a poem. Reading poetry should sometimes just be about that gut reaction, that moment when a line or two resonates with you deep down where only the right word can reach.
- The Summer Day – A poem by Mary Oliver – Poetry Connection (poetryconnection.net)