Saturday, December 3, 2022

Holiday Shopping- Links to My Books


     I get interesting responses when I ask someone passing by my table at a festival if they like poetry. Some of them are downright rude, like the "No!" accompanied by a smirk. When someone politely says they do not like poetry, I smile and say, "I bet you know someone who does! It's a good gift."

   In that spirit here are links to my books, including the novel. Thanks!

Saturday, November 26, 2022

On the South Carolina Teacher Shortage: Part 2 

     When COVID hit, I was an adjunct at a local two-year technical college ( that's what a junior college or community college is called in these parts). We went virtual and got through the second half of the semester reasonably well.

     In /August 2020 I offered to return to my old school district and contacted two others nearby to see if they needed an experienced teacher.  For the records, I have 25 years of experience and am HQ- Highly Qualified- in English, German, and Social Studies. 

     My old district proved hard to contact. I finally got to the person handling personnel, but I never heard back. From the other two, nothing at all. In August 2021 my old district contacted me. I was willing, but nothing face-to-face, no parents, no meetings. The person who contacted me, a friend in fact, said she would be in touch, Nothing, I sent more e-mails, left more phone messages,, then stopped. A few retired friends had similar experiences.

     Why did I say no face-to-face, parents, or meetings? I live in an area where the pandemic was worsened by people who listened to FOX News and a former president than reason. I was not risking my health. Too many parents act as advocates for their children. and undermine teachers. And the meetings! Created by mid-level staff to justify their positions. Been there, done that.

     What would I say if I were called again? I would say they had their chance. Now is the time for my family, myself, my writing, and so forth.

Links to my books:


Monday, November 21, 2022

On the South Carolina Teacher Shortage- Part 1 

     In the first of several posts (who wants to read a long one, right?), I discuss problems within the school itself.

     Discipline stands as the largest problem. That was not always the case. While I do not advocate corporal punishment, students should have a sense of dread when sent to an administrator. That is not the opportunity for them to rant about the teacher, how boring the class is, and so forth.

     Administrators are told to keep the discipline cases down. Usually, that comes from the district office or building principal. Sometimes it comes from an individual's desire to move up the ladder to something bigger and better. As a result, problems persist and learning is slowed down, perhaps even stopped for a time.

     A parent can call and demand a particular teacher be called on the carpet and made to conform to his or her needs. The student then sits smugly in class and thinks he or she has power. What I wish would happen is that the other parents contact administrators and ask why their child's learning is interrupted by one or two people acting up. 

      Teachers also need to uniformly enforce school policies. At my last school (where I was 12 years, almost half of my career)  students needed to display their IDs. If they did not have one in their first class, they needed to obtain one. When I had a student later in the day without an ID, I told them to get one no matter how many of my colleagues let them slide. At times it got tense, but usually, it did not, Were those lax colleagues told what to do? Likely, but without improvement. 

     I will close by saying that the use of phones has created a raft of problems with respect to discipline. More importantly, students lose opportunities to actually learn. In courses that have several levels *Mathematics and Wolrd languages especially), if there is not a solid basis on which to build, subsequent classes will be harder. That paves the way for remedial classes in college.

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

50th Anniversary of Ezra Pound's Death- And Thoughts on Neo-Fascism

     Had I been an English major instead of a German major, I would have remembered this. Actually, I was in my sophomore year at Penn State and could not declare a major yet. I was thinking for a bit about being a Journalism major that Autumn.

     Yet I was reading poetry and was even writing some them. If I remembered anything about Pound, it was his treason. The link above contains examples of how he spoke against the United States and praised the Axis during the Second World War. That is worse than anything done or said by Jane Fonda or the Dixie Chicks. 

     Yet Pound was an excellent poet, the leading Imagist, friend and mentor to T.S. Eliot, Hilda Doolittle, and many other literary giants.  In addition, he was a translator of poems.

    Read more about him and some of his poems at the link above.

     Until a few years ago I thought that Fascism had been defeated once and for all in 1945. In the wake of the USSR's breakup, I began to notice rising nationalist, right-wing movements in Eastern Europe blaming Jews and Gypsies for all woes. But I did;t think the USA would be infected by this, especially after Barack Obama's election in 2008.

     I was wrong. Were Ezra around today, he would be on FOX News, likely hosting his own podcast and writing odes to Trump, Putin, and such like them.

     Shortly before his death, Pound gave a sort of explanation about his anti-Semitism to Allen Ginsberg. As far as I know, there was no more public statement given.

     Even when expressed in good poetry by a gifted poet and scholar, the content is still vile and cannot be separated from who Ezra Pound really was. 

Monday, October 31, 2022

From a Friend and Former Colleague's Class Page 

     Jennifer Rivers Bentley gave me permission to post her comments about the incredible insights her AP Lit class at River Bluff HS in Lexington, SC, had recently. They have an excellent teacher, which helps, but it is impressive that young people have good insights into poetry. I have found that to be true in other classes that are not AP (which is college level).

     So read, enjoy, and be happy that young people are engaging with good literature!


Holiday Shopping- Links to My Books

            I get interesting responses when I ask someone passing by my table at a festival if they like poetry. Some of them are downright...