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Erin Yaremcio

001185125

ED 3601

Dr. Robert LeBlanc

Ms. Jana Boschee

January 21, 2019

Professional Journal Article Analysis

ARTICLE TITLE:

“Using the Author-Out Workshop to Counter Students’ Assumptions and Anxieties about

Reading and Writing Poetry “

AUTHOR: Laura Apol and Kati Macaluso

JOURNAL: English Journal

YEAR: July 2016

ISSUE/VOLUME: 105, No. 6

PAGES: 31-36

SUMMARY:

Apol and Macaluso’s article on “Using the Author-Out Workshop to Counter Students’

Assumptions and Anxieties about Reading and Writing Poetry” provides insight into the Author-

Out Method that has been created specifically for poetry. The writer moves out of the discussion

of the text after it has been presented and watches as others try to analyze the intent. Poetry is
regarded as being very introspective and personal and when shared, students and teachers alike

are able to make assumptions about the student’s life. I believe that this view of poetry is why

many students (especially male students) are hesitant or stubborn when it comes to poetry, for

fear of appearing as “other” to their peers. This method gives students a way to examine and self-

reflect upon their own creation and allows the student to write knowing that what they are

writing will be analyzed and can choose how they want to be perceived. On the other hand, as

students believe that poetry is so personal, they are unable to analyse another person’s poem as

they believe that poetry’s meaning comes from the reader or reveals something about the writer

and do not wish to make assumptions or offend. The Author-Out Method not only extracts the

pressure from students about presenting and analyzing their peer’s poetry, but teachers are also

able to extract ourselves from making these assumptions and grading accordingly and are

therefore able to mark the actual content, structure and creativity of the poem. (ex. Student writes

a small acrostic poem on football, teachers can assume that student does not care about poetry

and cares more about sports. Or, student writes deeply personal poem and teachers view with

empathy, and thus is reflected in the grading). Apol and Macaluso wrote this article for pre-

service teachers specifically which I believe is a huge draw of the article itself. Not only does the

article call into question and examine how students are fearful of poetry, but it also examines

how teachers (and specifically pre-service teachers) can gain confidence about poetry.

CLASROOM TAKEAWAYS AND INSIGHTS:

-“One solution that educators propose as a means to instill in students a comfort with and

enthusiasm for poetry is to provide them with more experience reading and writing poems.

However, studies show that even when students are provided numerous in-school
interactions with poetry, those interactions seldom result in poetic passion; most often they

are muddied by students’ misperceptions about poems and result in reinforcing rather than

undoing a pervasive sense of negativity toward poetry.” (31)

-“Often students have had little practice engaging with poems in more meaningful and

accessible ways, in part due to a paucity of poetry included in the curriculum (Duke), and

in part due to teachers who work al- most exclusively within the formalist tradition.

Faced with what feels a daunting task of navigating “correctness,” our students express a

lack of confidence when asked to read and write poetry, going so far as to characterize

their encounters with poetry as “nerve-wracking,” “nauseating,” and “anxiety-inducing.”

(33)

- “Our students often hold two simultaneous and conflicting beliefs that result from their

perception of poetic interpretation and expression as deeply personal: as readers they

believe that poetry means whatever a reader wants it to mean, while as writers they

believe that poetry means whatever a writer wants it to mean.” (33)

- “The idea is not for the writer to correct what he or she sees as an “incorrect” reading,

but rather to notice where there is a mismatch between what readers see and understand

in the poem and what the poet wishes to convey.” (34)

-“Speaking about the poem rather than to the writer al- lows readers to shift from

focusing on how their response might be affecting a classmate to imagining how their

response might be improving the poem, and minimizes the chances that the writer will

feel compelled to jump in to explain or answer or defend.” (35)


POSSIBLE CONVERSATION QUESTIONS:

-What was your poetry experience like in high school? After high school? Before high

school? Do you feel like your experience with poetry thus far has helped/hindered your

ability to teach poetry? Why?

-To what extent do you feel like you “understand” poetry? Is it necessary to “understand”

in order to teach poetry? Does poetry have to be understood or in a set form (ex. Rondo,

limerick etc.)?

-What are your fears when it comes to writing poetry? Reading poetry? Presenting

poetry? Teaching poetry?

-How do you plan to incorporate poetry into your classroom? What kinds of poetry do

you plan on using and why? What will be expected from your students?

TOPIC OF SEARCH:

-Poetry

-Motivation to create poetry

-High school poetry

SEARCH TERMS:

-High school poetry + motivation

-Writing poetry

-Strategies for writing poetry


SIMILAR ARTICLES:

Simmons, Amber M., and Melissa Page. “Motivating Students through Power and Choice.” The

English Journal, vol. 100, no. 1, 2010, pp. 65–69. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/20787693.

This article demonstrates how to motivate students by giving students the power of

autonomy. Using both theoretical and methodological arguments, Simmons and Page argue

that not only does choice give students motivation, but also allows opportunities for the

student to gain crucial critical thinking skills. Further along in the article, the authors

examine different types of projects (like self-directed projects, or group work) and

freedoms (collaboration, creative, equality, surveys) and how they are best suited as

motivational tools for students. I particularly like the rubric that they provided, as it not

only marks the essential components of a project, but also keenly marks individual

participation in a group project.

Ruggieri, Colleen A. “Poetry, Schmoetry! A Potpourri of Resources to Generate Enthusiasm for

the Genre.” The English Journal, vol. 96, no. 1, 2006, pp. 114–114. JSTOR,

www.jstor.org/stable/30046676.

I particularly enjoyed this review as Ruggieri gives quick annotations about a variety of

poetry resources available for teachers. Mixing in personal anecdotes, the review is

touching and highlights the importance of poetry and expression. I have looked over a

few of the resources that are suggested already, and I highly recommend this list of
resources for anyone (whether they be struggling or passionate) interested in poetry in the

classroom.