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Date: May 23, 2009

busy week photo roundup

It’s been a busy week with many activities.We had gymnastics on Saturday; visited a farm with friends Autumn and Clay Monday afternoon, and then checked out cousin Sean’s play that evening. Tuesday morning Aidan and I continued building and painting a Pinewood Derby car that we started a while back. He enjoyed working the Dremel tool. Later that day we had art class. On Wednesday, Aidan and Mom helped out at Pilcher Park in Joliet, IL with other Earth Scouts pulling garlic mustard and collecting trash. That evening we took a class on ocean life (see “Plankton, Squid, and the Imagination of Children”). Thursday, Aidan acted in Goldie Locks and the Three Bears. (He played Papa Bear.) Friday, we learned about predators and prey in our Fridays in the Forest class with Miss Anna, played with friends, and began to observe caterpillars working their way towards becoming butterflies. Finally, on Saturday Aidan helped us spread five yards of mulch and install two tons of wall stone around our planting beds. (Ok, he mostly just played on the pile of mulch.) Wow, I’m tired now that I’ve listed it all. I’m not used to all this summer fun. Like I said, it’s been a busy week. I thought I would post a few pictures with some of the highlights. (Not all the activities are represented, but you get the idea.)

reading the poetry home repair manual by ted kooser

The Poetry Home Repair ManualI’ll be teaching poetry writing for the first time in the fall, so I need to consider what I’ll ask the students to read. Beyond a collection of poetry, I wanted a kind of textbook, but not a textbook, if you know what I mean. I’m thinking about Ted Kooser’s Poetry Home Repair Manual. It comes recommended by a colleague of mine who has used it in her poetry writing class before. It seems pretty accessible, which makes sense, given Kooser’s belief that poetry need not be for only the literati, but rather that it communicates something for all people. I’ll let you know what I think as I read through the book and post some updates here. It looks pretty good–for beginning poetry writers (and me) anyway.

Update 7/1/09:
I finished reading Kooser’s book a while back and am just now getting to update this post. (Been traveling and rather busy.) I really enjoyed the book and am glad that I’ve selected it for my poetry course in the fall. Kooser has a way of making poetry feel like it’s within everyone’s reach–and not reserved for the likes of English teachers and the literati. I’m confident that my students will respond well to the text. I also like that it is not a traditional text book, as it were, and seems far from such school-like books. It is irreverent in places, funny and lighthearted, and yet filled with insight on the craft–it is Kooser afterall. He writes poetry and writes about poetry in a manner true to his statement that it is communication, that it should effect people’s lives and not pass over their heads or scare them off. This little tiny book has breadth enough for an introductory poetry course with topics ranging from the craft to the business of being a working poet. Kooser offers no delusional hopes to beginning poets about fame or fortune, and yet he does not fail to inspire. The joy or reading and writing poetry, he reminds us, is truly for its own sake. There’s no other reason that can sustain one in its pursuit.

taking a closer look

Here I’m experimenting with a little creative photography–the zoom burst. Chris was a reluctant subject here, but she’s a pretty good sport about it. I’m not sure what I think about this effect. After a little trial and error, it seems that 1/6s was the ideal exposure length to allow simultaneous zooming. I had to make minor post-processing exposure adjustments to regain some highlights due to the longer exposure at midday.

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