I shared one of my favorite e e cummings poems here in a Mixtape post earlier this winter, and today I shared it with my students in an unusual way. I wrote each individual word or word fragment (along with each parenthesis and ampersand) on a separate Post-it. Then I gave each of four groups of students a set of every piece of the poem – scrambled. I gave them 15 minutes to try to make their own sense of the pile before sharing the real poem with them. Here are some of their attempts (click to see the slides individually if you don’t have time to read them as they pass):
They impressed me with their choices and also with their willingness to dig in and be playful, doing things like turning the “No” upside down to make an additional “on,” and first insisting on, then abandoning, the idea that the capitalized words had to come first. So much fun – and today’s line for our collection? Youth goes right on growing old.
As for my own writing today, I took Molly Spencer’s advice from this wonderful post on revision where she shares her advice on “NaPoRevMo”, or national poetry revision month. I used a newer piece that I had drafted in late March and did some cutting and rearranging. Here are the last two stanzas:
Our lives teem with moments
like rabbits crowding springtime.
We must decide which ones
to trap and keep as pets. We
must decide which ones to kill.