Anatomy of a Political/Personal Poem

radical eyes for equity

Politics, succinctly stated, is the negotiation of power among agents (humans, mostly, but one could argue along literary lines, humans versus nature, etc.). As a critical educator, I argue we cannot avoid being political; to claim you are not being political is being political—as expressed in Howard Zinn’s observation that you cannot be neutral on a moving train.

Below, I want to annotate a new poem of mine, as it represents the inescapable intersection of the political and the personal. As a writer, I occasionally bring my own writing into the classroom in order to be a witness to investigating a text.

My high school English students always felt very skeptical of English-teacher-as-text-authority holding forth about Writer X or Writer Y using this metaphor or symbol. Students often asked, How do you know Writer X did that on purpose?

So with my own work, I can truly reveal…

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