Today was the first day of the English Workshop at Al Bashaer High School in Sakhnin, Israel. There were four classes of 7th, 8th, and 9th graders. The classes only last for 45 minutes and that seems too short The time went by quickly. We barely got started talking about Emily Dickinson’s poem “I’m Nobody!” when it seemed the period was over.
Each of the kids decorated the cover of chapbook I gave them, and only a couple of them decorated it with the cover on the back (the back, if the book is to be read in English.) Their grasp of English is impressive.
Talking about “I’m Nobody!” led to discussions about using comparison’s in poetry, about rhyme, lines, and stanzas. I was amazed at how deeply the students were able to think about various elements in the poem. They were able to express many complex concepts in English. One young man commented that it didn’t seem Emily Dickinson was a very happy person if she called herself a Nobody. We talked about the idea that the poet is not necessarily the “I” in the poem. We also talked about the variety of ideas that might be present in the poem.
Martha Moody, program organizer talked for a few minutes about art with a focus on the idea of line. That fit nicely into our discussion of the concept of a line of poetry. The students seemed to enjoy the discussion.
I am looking forward to the coming days. One young man held up his book to me and said, “I love this.” I know he will love it even more when he has filled it with his own wonderful poems.