05 October 2005

Is a monkey the same as a gorilla?

Woke up exhausted this morning, thought I was getting sick. Headed off to my first gig of the day, three back-to-back readings/talks for Grade 8's at St. Joe's high school here in Yellowknife. Adrenaline kicked in, and sicky symptoms subsided. The classes were each very, very different -- great kids, though. The third class I visited was amazing; I felt I could read them works that might not work with other Grade 8's, and they responded so well. A lot of kids in that class who "write poetry that isn't for school assignments."

But in one of the classes, after I read my poem "Monkeys," one of the kids asked if monkeys and gorillas are different. Gosh, I really wasn't sure. So we talked a bit about alligators and crocodiles, and figured it was a similar situation. I suggested asking someone aside from a poet.

It's really strange to make these quick connections with young writers, then never see them again. I want to know what happens to them, whether they keep writing. One girl rushed up to me as one class ended and said, "I've got to talk to you!" She rushed her words, because she had to get to next class. "I want to publish my poems, but not in a school magazine or anything, in a real magazine, I want to get my poems out there!" I wished I could sit and chat with her for a bit. I just encouraged her to contact me through my Electronic Writer in Residency through Toronto Public Libraries. She's a smart kid, and sometimes you can just tell that a kid *needs* to write, and you have to give the quickest encouragement. It can be a bit frustrating.

Heading off now to wander around downtown and old town. Then my public reading at Javaroma tonight.

Over and out.


At October 05, 2005 7:44 pm , Anonymous rox. said...

any good thrift stores in yellowknife?

At October 05, 2005 7:45 pm , Anonymous rox. said...

did you know a dolphin is a whale but obviously, not all whales are dolphins?

At October 06, 2005 12:22 am , Blogger gary barwin said...

why is the knife yellow? why is it called that?

I've found that even when I had a year to teach a class of writers, I feel that still it isn't always enough -- I still wanted to be able to help them. And the kids wanted me to.

No wonder -- my son just had an English teacher make him make the theme of a really cool story that he wrote explicit -- he had to have the character explicitly express his feelings of alienation instead of this really great trope of having the protagonist imagine he is/become a fly. So..this writer in the school thing is important. Too important to leave to many English teachers unassisted.

At October 06, 2005 11:27 am , Anonymous rox. said...

Q: is a monkey the same as a gorilla?
A: you wouldn't call it "the gorilla tree" now,
would you?

At October 06, 2005 6:53 pm , Anonymous lynn said...

some gorilla's are monkeys, as are some children, but not all monkey's are gorillas.


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