Saturday, November 15, 2008

hey howdy and hallelu!

well bloggerissimo, since i've posted the election did be happening. here in ireland, people congratulate me on the election. 'congratulations on your new president' strangers smile. i have not met one person abroad who has supported the bush presidency.

many irish people are relieved that bush is gone but are also concerned about the abortion issue. that obama will make it possible for women to have late-term abortions again in the safest possible way.

i had a long talk with a woman in bewley's cafe about this. she is a nurse who says she has participated in a many abortions and is against them in all cases. she said that 'it's against natural law'. i asked her where she saw this natural law. she asked what i meant. i said in the natural world, animals literally eat each other alive. she said they just didn't know it was wrong. i told her i thought it was a cultural difference. that americans are often more pragmatic and the irish idealistic. but she wouldn't have any of that. anyway, it truly is different here from the states, ireland has a constitutional amendment asserting the 'personhood of the unborn', something that in the states seems quacked out from the right but here is the central pov.

meanwhile, my partner and i went to one of the poorer parts of dublin and saw the blown out apartment blocks and decimated world of those living in ballymun. john will be teaching creative writing to some youth there. what about the rights of these kids to some reasonable expectation for a bit of happiness in the wake of the economic boom?

i've started teaching creative writing at the central mental hospital, the national forensic hospital. and am due to begin teaching at another maximum security facility arbourhill prison, where i'll be working with people who have committed sexual offenses. have been reading up on bibliotherapy and such.

was silly with terribly nervous before the first day of teaching at the central mental hospital. fretted over shoewear. i decided on docs. until my partner pointed out that the police here wear docs. finally, i tied on my green runners.

we wrote self-poems which are cinquains composed from five lists we brainstormed. then, we read william stafford's 'poetry'.

we talked about poetry. about how we expect it to rhyme and order us into analysis. then we talked about how this poem has no rhyme scheme and seemed freer than many would have expected. some folks weren't actually sure what the poem was about. then one fella said, 'it's basically just a poem about poetry. i don't like the last line.' then someone else said she loved the last line. that she was going to use it on people. instead of 'speak to the hand' in arguments, she was going to say, 'hey, i don't eat that bread.' then we wrote our own definition poems.

finding poetry that felt useful and appropriate for the situation in which these people are finding themselves proved remarkably difficult. what would you teach in such a setting?