Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Alan Brown, Wake Forest University, Connecting Sports and Literacy through YAL #LSUYAL2014

Professor Alan Brown of Wake Forest University is hosting one of the stellar weeklong workshops at the Louisiana State University Young Adult Literature Conference in Baton Rouge. As a fan of sports (and a teacher who saw the influence of sports on students), I instantly took interest with his seminar. In the first hour, he had us write poetically by doing an 'I am' poem in the persona of a struggling reader. I scribbled the following. YOU GOTTA WRITE! A'IGHT? It's the National Writing Project way:

I am reluctant, the reader
Alan Brown, Sports & Literacy
Wake Forest University

who listens to the mumbling of pedagogical rants,
where eyes begin to slant behind closed lids
    while I try to stay awake.
In the darkness, I wonder, I quake, at what I
will make tonight for dinner
    P   B   &   J?
      Triscuits and cheese?
This learner sitting at a desk, rubbing his knees,
   placed in another row
     of another school, jeez,
       simply to show how my thoughts are rather square.

I am reluctant, the reader
watching the slippery legs of the blonde girl
     sitting next to me,
thinking of the World Cup,
    and the way to find serenity,
while they ask me to write this poem.

My mind roams
     and I pretend that I care -
I refuse to fail English once again,
     but I have to pee
     (& scholastically I wish I was free)
but pleasing this teacher is a must,
      and I wish I could trust that what they offer matters,
I wish I could quit worrying,
       yet the the fear splatters,
       and none of this makes sense.
I understand nothing of school. Maybe I am dense,
a fool, putting faith in the Great Whatever,
wondering why I didn't bring a bag of Twizzlers
and just hoping this period will end.
I need more than they offer
   and I know I offend
their sense of intellectual superiority...
   this, my inferiority...
   this, the simple complexity and complex simplicity.

I am reluctant, a reader.

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