Teaching and Poetry

The other day while doing some reading of others blogs, I came across a teacher’s blog post with poetry.

I really love it when I fnd some poetry on a blog, even a blog about teaching! Poetry is a great way to “think” about ourselves, our relationships, our classrooms, our jobs – it makes a better teacher, I’m convinced. Not to mention, so many fine poets were teachers – the two go together like coffee and donuts.


You don’t have to write it (but that’s even better), just savor it. Suck on it like a cough drop. It heals and brings a higher understanding.


Here are a couple of my own suggestions regarding poetry and “being a teacher”. Do you have any to share?


1. Charles Bukowski. When he gets it right, he gets it right. Here is him reading a great poem on “Style” – something everyone can related to. Also, my favorite poem of his and one that I hold dear to heart – “I met a genius”. Every teacher should ponder this poem while thinking of our own students…..


I met a genius on the train
about 6 years old,
he sat beside me
and as the train
ran down along the coast
we came to the ocean
and then he looked at me
and said,
it’s not pretty.
it was the first time I’d

2. Richard Brautigan. His poem – is an amazing meditation on what school is and how we might go about to fix it.

The Memoirs of Jesse James

I remember all those thousands of hours
that I spent in grade school watching the clock,
waiting for recess or lunch or to go home.
Waiting: for anything but school.
My teachers could easily have ridden with Jesse James
for all the time they stole from me.

3. Irving Layton. He taught school for decades and that seeped into his poetry from time to time. As irreverent and passionate a poet as there can be. Canada’s gift to the world.

The Lesson.
This is a finger
This is an eye
Even a small cut causes pain, afterwards soreness;
the terror comes when a bone-shattering bullet
enters the neck, the groin
or the blood rushes after the retreating knife
The thought of death
of being suddenly reduced to nothing,
make the lips go white
You must say to yourself
this is not a film, this is real
and it’s happening to a man
who was once an infant and cried in the dark
Those are real intestines
spilling out into his hand;
the pain and terror are real
Let’s begin the lesson again
This is a finger
This is an eye


4. Spoken Verse collection on Youtube. This collecton, voice overs by one person of thousands of great poems, is a must. A work of love and lots of gems for everyone. Also, PBS’s poetry page is a pretty good garden of words.


I have been writing poetry for many years. Finally began putting it online and you can find it HERE if interested. Not specifically about teaching but about LIFE and all things within.

And a bonus one … So You Want To Be A Teacher, EH?

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Teacher trainer, technology specialist, educational thinker...creator of EFL Classroom 2.0, a social networking site for thousands of EFL / ESL teachers and students around the world.

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4 Responses

  1. Tom says:

    Thank you for your contribution. I am posting a link to this page to my BLOG, above. Bukowski is favorite poet. I’ve read him and watched several long DVDs about him that I rented from Netflix.

    Folks (students, especially) don’t read enough poetry.

  2. ddeubel says:


    As you know, totally agree there too (both about Bukowski and about poetry for students/people). I have a few more Bukowski poems in karaoke on vimeo and also like this one… http://vimeo.com/3648707 Have you seen the documentary about him, “Born into this”? Lots of great footage.

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