Session 3: Practicing Craft

This session starts off with introducing The Writer’s Notebook. This is one of the most crucial steps for participants to transition into poets. And its astonishing how ownership of a writer’s notebook can inspire writing.

This greater part of this session brings together a vareity of activities allowing participants to explore and practice the use of sensory imagery, similes, metaphors. Some of these activities are done orally and collectively, and some individually on paper. Feel free to mix methods around depending on the comfort and confidence of your group.

This session also includes a new activity which we’ve never done before – the writing activity “Five ways to Look at a Dead Crow.” This is activity is of course inspired by Wallace Stevens’ “13 Ways of Looking at Black Bird.” Other poetry groups and writer’s workshops often use this poem in different ways to instigate writing. Through this activity we hope to further practice metaphors, particualry uncommon metaphors. We wonder if this activity may be a little challengeing at this early stage, but lets see. It will be interesting to see how it goes with the group of boys in Don Bosco.

For Session 3, click on Session 3: Practicing Craft

Explore posts in the same categories: Craft, Sessions

5 Comments on “Session 3: Practicing Craft”

  1. jcs23 Says:

    I saw a dead crow on the balcony of the municipal building. I am a juror today. Two fiesty seagulls squaked, persuading me to leave them alone as they picked at their meal. I went back inside to wait for my calling from the court.

    I don’t know if its alot of formatting hassle, but it would be cool to have access to the session without having to open the word attachment. Good stuff SR.

  2. Sahar Says:

    Dead crow during jury duty. I’d love to read “5 Ways to Look at Dead Crow” by Joe Sullivan 🙂

    Do you find it easier to access the session on the blog itself? My rationale of the link to the word attachement was twofold: 1) Yeah, easier in terms of format and readablity (wouldn’t have to scroll as much). 2) Also, I thought it would be easier for educators to access because they would have a printable version. But I hear you.

    Let me think about it.
    You always get me thinking in new ways Joe. And I like that.

    Bishan, thoughts?

  3. jcs23 Says:

    I think it would be cool to have one page that is an index with word and pdf versions of each lesson. That way educators could easily access any/all of the lessons. Personally however, I’m enjoying reading them in the blog…sure there’s some scrolling…but it’s not worse than opening a word doc.

    Part of the challenge is to think of the blog as an ongoing conversation. (Which is super cool for those of us interested in participating (to a degree) in your work, even though we can’t be there. The documents are artifacts to be printed on paper.

    On the “eating crow” metaphor, I think the seagulls might be attorneys…but I don’t know…it just kinda came out;)

  4. Sahar Says:

    Conversations versus Artifacts.
    Insightful persepective Joe.

    Kalam likes fludity and participation, hence conversations. I think i’m going to follow up your suggestion and go back to posting sessions as blogs, and keep the Word link as well for printer-friendly reasons.

    Keep talking Joe — its helpful.

  5. queer3779 Says:


    it’s great to hear from joe. it’s so cool that he is always forthcoming with ideas.
    i must confess that i do not understand much about the technicalities of the postings. word, pdf… whatever… doesn’t really matter to me that much. so i will comment on the session itself.

    this sessin went down well with the bosco boys. they are mature imaginative thinkers, so, they immediately got the hang of the exercises. the warm was a hit. although the circle could not be formed at the end, it was the process that everybody enjoyed. the discussion regarding the writers notebook wasn’t bad either. i am wondering however if we should add some other metaphors to explian the journey of a poet. let’s think.
    the first writing exercise was good too. but with everybody living in the same place, the description of the gali in front of their house would have been repetitive. that’s why one of the boys suggested that we give them a few choices of subjects regrading the five senses activity: some chose a summer morning, a rainy night, a winter aftrenoon. some chose to write about their gali-s too, especially the gali-s they have left behind around their original homes. but i have seen that seasons kind of work well in this activity. perhaps because they are easy to access. sensory records of seasons are although quite commonly found in poetry and prose. that may also be a reason for these school-going kids to choose to write about them. but what they produced was really quite original, and very realistic and “everyday” in the Kalam sense of the word.
    the “5 ways of looking” was a comparatively difficult activity. to make the youth understand what the poem would look like was a challenge. also, our poems were not printed in bengali. that might have helped. we should always have vernacular copies of all possible model poems. but even then, this exercise is a leap that maybe difficult for weaker groups to undertake successfully. the concept of looking at a glass of water as white underwear is really sophisticated even by poetic standards. we should rethink this. perhaps our examples should be less ambitious, and we should definitely avoid abstractions like “dishonest eyes”. we should stick to more sensory imagery for the youth grasp the concept better. the bosco boys howver did understand what we were talking about, but it took a while. they came up with wonderful (and detailed) metaphors for a dead crow. but they are in general averse to writing things down. it is still a very oral culture for them. that needs to change.
    but the session was really long and exhausting. and that is fine. we had to do a warm-up in the middle, after the first writing activity: the one where we divide the group between two opposites, which i see we have used in the session plan 8. it was needed at that time, because the boys were really working their minds to look for sensory images, and were smewhat de-energised by the end of the activity.

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