Advice for President Elect Obama on using poetry in education
Max’s advice for January 4, 2009
Dear President Elect Obama,
Max grew up as the son of a man who knew ‘ALL’ the answers to the problems of the world. Max’s father said so! Many times, his father let everyone know that anyone who didn’t know that he had the answers was a turkey or a knucklehead.
The famous Ma Bell, the second most powerful force in the world (next to God of course), thought so much of Max father’s opinions, that the made him ‘Supervisor of Troubles’. This is true!
The advice Max promised you, Mr. President Elect.
You should use your love of poetry to improve school goals.
When you do your weekly radio address you should end it with a poem from a school child. By selecting poems from a different school and age group each week, you could provide an incentive to learn how to write well.
To prevent the process from becoming egalitarian, you could provide a government site for ALL submissions so that everyone could see their work published.
Except for the normal no profanity rules, the site could show true freedom of expression.
Visibility of the child’s name should be limited to the first name and state. Extra information, such as school, age and teacher could be gathered so that the students could be made aware of their selection for the radio address. Perhaps a certificate of merit could be sent to the school district and school the student comes from.
This would address one key question every child asks when they are in school. Why is it important to learn this? To write a poem that might be read to everyone by the President himself would be a great answer for the teacher to have in the tool bag.
Reading poetry that is more than one type would go a long way in showing that you believe that everyone is valuable. Poetry from different places and cultural backgrounds may say the same thing in totally different ways. The poetry may also describe totally different situations using the same words given the differences in meaning to the writer.
Your example of reading to the nation, coupled with some explanation from time to time of the poet’s interpretation, could help the whole nation understand better.
Having noted scholars do their own readings for your address is fine and should be part of the process. Including the future citizens who have not made a mark yet is a way of expanding the size of the pool of talent we will need to manage what is coming.
There is a beautiful poem by Lone Star College, North Harris, Texas by Emma Zarate. The poem, by North Harris 2009 Poet Laureate, is called ‘the Earth’. The poem is beautiful in the way that it uses both words and the form (a circle). It also demonstrates that more than one form of presentation of poetry is necccesary if it is to be understood.
(To see the poem: http://northharris.lonestar.edu/152222/)
Max wishes you well in all your efforts.
Max writes about greenways, rare diseases, timely topics, places to eat, travel and other issues of interest. He encourages you to add your comments.
Link one following is on poetry at the inauguration.
Link two following is on Obama and Lincoln poetry.
Link three following is on the first U. S. Poet Laureate. (consultant)