April 12, 2016

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

NPM 50 State Tour: Ohio

Ohio does not have a poet laureate. Never has.

That makes me cranky. Especially when the Buckeye State proudly claims former U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove as one of its own. No wonder she wants to take a vacation.

A writing prompt follows the poem.

by Rita Dove

I love the hour before takeoff,
that stretch of no time, no home
but the gray vinyl seats linked like
unfolding paper dolls. Soon we shall
be summoned to the gate, soon enough
there’ll be the clumsy procedure of row numbers
and perforated stubs—but for now
I can look at these ragtag nuclear families
with their cooing and bickering
or the heeled bachelorette trying
to ignore a baby’s wail and the baby’s
exhausted mother waiting to be called up early
while the athlete, one monstrous hand
asleep on his duffel bag, listens,
perched like a seal trained for the plunge.

The rest of the poem is here.
Look for Ohio on my Wall of Shame tomorrow, 4/15. I will be urging Ohioans,
on Tax Day, to demand their poetic rights and get themselves a poet laureate.
But first, we'll visit Louisiana. 
While we're traveling south, try this writing prompt based on Dove's poem.
Writing prompt: In the poem "Vacation," by Rita Dove, the poet juxtaposes
our positive connotations about the title word, "vacation," with reality.
Try it out. Choose a word for your title about which readers will have 
strong assumptions, beliefs and feelings. Use observed details to show
that those connotations don't jibe with reality. 


Mary Lee said...

Boo, Hiss, Ohio! How dare you!?!? I'm raising up generation after generation of poets in my classroom and you can't be bothered to pick one for your laureate?

Author Amok said...

Hi, Mary Lee. My thoughts exactly. It's an appointed position with a measly stipend. How much effort can that take?

Maybe your students could write a persuasive letter to your governor. In verse :-)