Wednesday, January 28, 2015


I'm looking forward to teaching a poetry class at the Sidney Albert Albany Jewish Community Center in April and May, 2015. The four-session class will feature four traditional poetic forms that students will learn by understanding their patterns. Each week I will introduce a new form and a writing prompt designed to illuminate it. Students shall have an opportunity to understand and practice the villanelle, the pantoum, the sonnet, and the very short tanka. 

Writers will discover that although these names may sound new or daunting, the patterns inherent in each form can help them create the best work they have ever produced! We are planning an adventurous course with gentle sharing and easy models to follow.

We will also start with some ice breakers to help students think like poets. The following poem (with Spanish original) by the Mexican poet, Alberto Forcada, is an example of one that pushes the imagination to new heights.


The trees are birds bewitched.
They can't lift their feet from the ground.                                                                                  
Again and again they beat their wings
furiously, pluck at their feathers, weep.

How can I break this spell?
What words should I say?

How many times must I kiss them?



Los árboles son pájaros hechizados.
No pueden despegar la pata del suelo.

Una y otra vez aletean con furia.
Se arrancan las plumas, sollozan.

Cómo romper el maleficio?
Qué palabras deberé pronunciar?

Cuántas veces tendré que besarlos?


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