Follow by Email

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Of Poetry, Students and Teachers

Like so many writers who teach writing across the United States, my semester is almost over.

And, I suppose, I could go on quite a bit about how busy, how exhausted, how demanding these past few months have been.

But I want to say something else here, I want to speak directly to the serious students of creative writing. I want to say--what I always say--to my students at the very end of my creative writing classes--

thank you. 

Thank you for trusting me with your stories.
Thank you for allowing me into your imaginations.
Thank you for your serious and considered efforts.
Thank you for speaking--which, as those of you who know me have heard me say often enough--
is not insignificant.
Thank you for giving me a job--which is also not insignificant--and I mean that in the most profound way.
I consider it a blessing to be able to speak about creative writing--with "serious intent" as Lucille Clifton used to say--to speak with passion and focus-- to those who feel that same seriousness of purpose--to those whose very presence in class constitute the "making of our contemporary literature culture."
Thank you for being brave. For taking risks. For looking--unflinchingly-- at yourselves as writers but also as human beings.
Thank you for your courage, your convictions, your passionate devotion to literature...

for all this--and more--I say thank you.

 I am a better writer--and a better person--for having you as my students.

2 comments:

Mad Coyote joe said...

I've said this before
The access that you provide changes lives. In my own case your direction and guidance changed the way I see myself. Due to your efforts I see myself as a writer and therefore an artist. As a long term student I have seen housewives, at the end of a long life, along with unstable children just coming to grips with who they are, wake the writer inside themselves and find thier voice. This is a true act of devotion and love. I am humbeled by your efforts and greatful that I walked into a classroom to find you.
best
Joe

Lois Roma-Deeley said...

Mille grazie!

The power of poetry is so often underestimated.

Moreover, I am continually amazed by my students' passion and devotion for the art--both in the writing and reading of poetry! As one publisher I brought to campus said of my students: "They are a book buying crowd." Poets who come to my campus typically sell between 15-20 books. That's an incredible number of books for the small reading series I created and run. One which is sustained by little or no funds. Yet, as you know, we typically have 25-50 people--or more--attend the "Visiting Writer Series." At the high end, we have had upwards to 75-125 students, staff, faculty and community members in attendance for a few events. You have been so some of these events and so could speak to this observation.

All this is evidence that my students take poetry seriously--they "vote" with their feet as well as their pocketbooks. They are truly the "makers of the culture of our times."

Thanks for writing this. It means a great deal to me.