Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pounding the Pavement for Poetry

55º ~ the high today only 57º, always struck by those days when the temperature begins near its high and sinks, rain in the offing, 'spooky' weather

Yesterday, I was not at the desk of the Kangaroo because I was 'pounding the pavement for poetry' as I told my boss.  One of my goals at school for this year has been to increase our creative writing program. 

These are not my feet.  Courtesy of creativecommons.org
 Program may not be the best word here, since we are a community college and do not have an official program in creative writing per se.  However, our school has grown in leaps and bounds in terms of numbers enrolled and we have about a 70% base of students who plan to transfer to one of our state's four-year institutions.  Creative writing fits into their plan as a humanities elective that will help them in that transfer.  However, many of our students have had little experience with creative writing and are unaware of what an introductory workshop class entails.  I really believe that a lack of knowledge leads many of them to choose Intro to Music, Intro to Theatre, Intro to Visual Arts, etc. instead of Creative Writing I.  Notice that even the title of the class is "different."  (Caveat:  I love all of those other intro classes and mean no disrespect!)

Our entire division (fine arts & humanities) set out on a quest to increase our visibility on campus last year (2010 - 2011) and to increase the knowledge among students about the electives we offer.  With the transient population of a community college what this means is an on-going information blitz.

In doing my part yesterday, I went to the different ENGL classes (Comp I, Comp II, and World Lit) being offered on MWF between 9 and noon to spread the word about my offerings for spring 2012.  I'm on the schedule to teach Intro to Poetry and Creative Writing I on MWF, and I want those classes to make.  If history is any indicator, the creative writing class should be fine; however, we need to get some buzz going about the Intro to Poetry course.  I taught it online last spring and had a great time but want to see if we can make it work as an on campus class as well.  Technically, this is an 'academic' course involving the study of poetics and including a research paper; however, I also allow students to workshop their own work if they would like.

It was fun to get to pitch the classes, and I am thankful my boss groups all the ENGL classes on the same floor of the same building so I wasn't running up and down the stairs/hills of campus.  As one might expect from gen-ed classes, the majority of the students were underwhelmed by my presentation.  Yet...yet, in each group there were those two or three people whose eyes lit up, whose body language changed, whose hands reached up for the offered fliers I brought.  All this makes me eager to see what waits for me in the spring!

And tomorrow, I have a blissfully clear calendar for drafting day!  Wahoo!



6 comments:

Kathleen said...

Cool!

Sandy Longhorn said...

Thanks, K. Trying to grow this literary community any way I know how!

Justin Evans said...

Thank you for doing this, Sandy. Sometimes all that's needed is to make the offer.

Sandy Longhorn said...

Yes, Justin, I sometimes forget that once upon a time, a teacher went out of her way to introduce me to the magic of writing. :)

Molly said...

Sandy, so often I think there would be many more readers and writers of poetry if poetry were taught a bit differently, and weren't so sequestered (at least, that was my experience of poetry during my school years). So heartening to hear of you pounding the pavement to invite more people in.

Sandy Longhorn said...

Thanks, Molly!