Teaching with Fire: Poetry That Sustains the Courage to Teach

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Those of us who care about the young and their education must findways to remember what teaching and learning are really about. Wemust find ways to keep our hearts alive as we serve our students.Poetry has the power to keep us vital and focused on what reallymatters in life and in schooling.

Teaching with Fire is a wonderful collection of eighty-eightpoems from well-loved poets such as Walt Whitman, Langston Hughes,Billy Collins, Emily Dickinson, and Pablo Neruda. Each of ...

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Those of us who care about the young and their education must findways to remember what teaching and learning are really about. Wemust find ways to keep our hearts alive as we serve our students.Poetry has the power to keep us vital and focused on what reallymatters in life and in schooling.

Teaching with Fire is a wonderful collection of eighty-eightpoems from well-loved poets such as Walt Whitman, Langston Hughes,Billy Collins, Emily Dickinson, and Pablo Neruda. Each of theseevocative poems is accompanied by a brief story from a teacherexplaining the significance of the poem in his or her life’swork. This beautiful book also includes an essay that describes howpoetry can be used to grow both personally and professionally.

Teaching with Fire was written in partnership with the Centerfor Teacher Formation and the Bill & Melinda GatesFoundation.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Intrator (education & child study, Smith) and Scribner, an editor and program evaluator, have organized this book simply but powerfully to capture the relationship between educators and the poems that have become their inspiration. Text on the left-hand side of a spread explains where and why an educator teaches, while the facing page offers a poem that has sustained him or her through long droughts in the classroom. The diversity of poems is impressive; the poets represented in this book range from British, white, classic, and dead to recent award winners from all over the globe. The educators also come from diverse backgrounds, and they have multifarious reasons for choosing their profession. Although many traditional teachers from public school settings are represented, the educators also come from parochial schools, urban charter schools, Teach for America, and colleges and include artists in residence, principals, and curriculum directors. It is the pluralistic, inclusive approach this book takes that makes it such a worthy read. Highly recommended for all school and college libraries.-Maria Kochis, California State Univ., Sacramento, CA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780787969707
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 10/3/2003
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 166,721
  • Product dimensions: 7.18 (w) x 7.38 (h) x 0.93 (d)

Meet the Author

Sam M. Intrator is assistant professor of education and child studyat Smith College. He is a former high school teacher andadministrator and the son of two public school teachers. He is theeditor of Stories of the Courage to Teach and author of Tuned Inand Fired Up: How Teaching Can Inspire Real Learning in theClassroom.
Megan Scribner is a freelance writer, editor, and program evaluatorwho has conducted research on what sustains and empowers the livesof teachers. She is the mother of two children and PTA president oftheir elementary school in Takoma Park, Maryland.

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Table of Contents


A Note to Our Readers by Sam M. Intrator and Megan Scribner.

Introduction by Parker J. Palmer and Tom Vander Ark.

Hearing the Call.

Bob O’Meally’s “Make Music with YourLife” submitted by John J. Sweeney.

Marge Piercy’s “To be of use”submitted by Katya Levitan-Reiner.

Pablo Neruda’s “The Poet’sObligation” submitted by William Ayers.

Gabriele D’Annunzio’s “Ipastori” submitted by Susan Etheredge.

Emily Dickinson’s “The Chariot”submitted by Judy R. Smith.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s “Crossing theBar” submitted by Marj Vandenack.

William Stafford’s “The Way ItIs” submitted by Lisa Drumheller Sudar.

Walt Whitman’s Preface to “Leaves ofGrass” [Excerpt] submitted by Lori Douglas.

Langston Hughes’s “DreamDeferred” submitted by Heather Kirkpatrick.

Marian Wright Edelman’s “I Care andI’m Willing to Serve” submitted by LindaLantieri.

Cherishing the Work.

Billy Collins’s “First Reader”submitted by Sandra Dean.

Gary Snyder’s “Axe Handles”submitted by Curtis Borg.

David Whyte’s “Working Together”submitted by Jani Barker.

Marcie Hans’s “Fueled” submittedby Betsy Motten.

William Carlos Williams’s “The RedWheelbarrow” submitted by Sarah Fay.

George Venn’s “Poem Against the FirstGrade” submitted by Theresa Gill.

Jeff Moss’s “On the Other Side of theDoor” submitted by Lamson T. Lam.

Lydia Cortés’s “I Remember”submitted by Sonia Nieto.

Robert Frost’s “Nothing Gold CanStay” submitted by Troyvoi Hicks.

Gary Blankenburg’s “The Mouse”submitted by Ellen Shull.

Lewis Buzbee’s “Sunday, Tarzan in HisHammock” submitted by Dan Mindich.

On the Edge.

John Milton’s “Paradise Lost, BookVIII” submitted by John I. Goodlad.

Stephen Sondheim’s “Children WillListen” submitted by Don Shalvey.

Al Zolynas’s “Love in theClassroom” submitted by Ron Petrich.

Billy Collins’s “On Turning Ten”submitted by Chip Wood.

Li-Young Lee’s “The Gift”submitted by Kelly Gallagher.

Mary Oliver’s “The Journey”submitted by Marian Mesrobian MacCurdy.

Yehuda Amichai’s “God Has Pity onKindergarten Children” submitted by Shifra Schonmann.

Jellaludin Rumi’s “The LameGoat” submitted by Michael Poutiatine.

Linda McCarriston’s “Hotel Nights with MyMother” submitted by Wanda S. Praisner.

Lucile Burt’s “Melissa QuitsSchool” submitted by Leslie Rennie-Hill.

Holding On.

Denise Levertov’s “Witness”submitted by Robert Kunzman.

Octavio Paz’s “After” submittedby Catherine Johnson.

Mary Oliver’s “Wild Geese”submitted by Elizabeth V. V. Bedell.

William Butler Yeats’s “Everything ThatMan Esteems” submitted by Betsy Wice,

May Sarton’s “Now I BecomeMyself” submitted by Amy Eva-Wood,

Annie Dillard’s “Teaching a Stone toTalk” [Excerpt] submitted by Libby Roberts.

David Whyte’s “Sweet Darkness”submitted by Jeanine O’Connell.

Rubin Alves’s “Tomorrow’sChild” submitted by Sarah Smith.

Donald Hall’s “Names of Horses”submitted by Laurel Leahy.

Judy Brown’s “Fire” submitted byMaggie Anderson.

Margaret Walker’s “For MyPeople” submitted by Tracy Swinton Bailey.

In the Moment.

Elizabeth Carlson’s“Imperfection” submitted by Glynis WilsonBoultbee.

David Wagoner’s “Lost” submittedby Fred Taylor.

Wendell Berry’s “A Purification”submitted by Rick Jackson.

Marge Piercy’s “The seven ofpentacles” submitted by Sally Z. Hare.

Pablo Neruda’s “Keeping Quiet”submitted by Catherine Gerber.

Gary Snyder’s “What Have ILearned” submitted by Perie Longo.

Wislawa Szymborska’s “There But for theGrace” submitted by Lesley Woodward.

Derek Walcott’s “Love AfterLove” submitted by David Hagstrom.

William Stafford’s “You Reading This, BeReady” submitted by Lucile Burt.

Edgar A. Guest’s “Don’tQuit” submitted by Reg Weaver.

Making Contact.

Charles Olson’s “These Days”submitted by John Fox.

Donna Kate Rushin’s “The BridgePoem” submitted by Debbie S. Dewitt.

Seamus Heaney’s “The Cure at Troy”[Excerpt] submitted by Jim Burke.

Virginia Satir’s “MakingContact” submitted by Dennis Littky.

John Moffitt’s “To Look at AnyThing” submitted by Angela Peery.

Jellaludin Rumi’s “Two Kinds ofIntelligence” submitted by Marianne Houston.

Adrienne Rich’s “Dialogue”submitted by Adam D. Bunting.

Galway Kinnell’s “Saint Francis and theSow” submitted by Libby Falk Jones.

Maxine Kumin’s “Junior LifeSaving” submitted by Thomasina LaGuardia.

Gary Soto’s “Saturday at theCanal” submitted by Steve Elia.

Adrienne Rich’s “Diving into theWreck” submitted by Penny Gill.

The Fire of Teaching.

Wislawa Szymborska’s “A Contribution toSatistics” submitted by Elizabeth Meador.

E.E. Cummings’s “You Shall Above AllThings” submitted by Mark Nepo.

Mary Oliver’s “The Summer Day”submitted by Caren Bassett Dybek.

Ranier Maria Rilke’s “Archaic Torso ofApollo” submitted by Rob Reich.

Robert Graves’s “Warning toChildren” submitted by Ali Stewart.

Wallace Stevens’s “The Poem That Took thePlace of a Mountain” submitted by Samuel Scheer.

Langston Hughes’s “My People”submitted by Mary Cowhey.

nikki giovanni’s “the drum”submitted by Sam Grabelle.

nila northSun’s “moving camp toofar” submitted by Tom Weiner.

Czeslaw Milosz’s “Gift”submitted by Suzanne Strauss.

T. S. Eliot’s “East Coker”submitted by Stephen Gordon.

Naomi Shihab Nye’s “Shoulders”submitted by Marcy Jackson.

Bettye T. Spinner’s “HarvestHome” submitted by Linda Powell Pruitt.

Daring to Lead.

Rabindranath Tagore’s “Where the Mind IsWithout Fear” submitted by Tony Wagner.

Barbara Kingsolver’s “BeatingTime” submitted by Susan Klonsky.

Thomas Jefferson’s “Passage from a Letterto William Charles Jarvis” submitted by Theodore R.Sizer.

Robert Herrick’s “Delight inDisorder” submitted by Edward Alan Katz.

Rainer Maria Rilke’s “I Believe in AllThat Has Never Yet Been Spoken” submitted by Tom VanderArk.

Langston Hughes’s “Mother toSon” submitted by Joe Nathan.

nikki giovanni’s “ego-tripping”submitted by Janice E. Jackson.

Anne Sexton’s “Courage”submitted by Wendy Kohler.

William Stafford’s “Silver Star”submitted by Jay Casbon.

Walt Whitman’s “Crossing BrooklynFerry” [Excerpt] submitted by Sandra Feldman.

Vaclav Havel’s “It Is I Who MustBegin” submitted by Diana Chapman Walsh.

Marge Piercy’s “The low road”submitted by Parker J. Palmer.

Tending the Fire: The Utility of Poetry in a Teacher’sLife by Sam M. Intrator.

About the Courage to Teach Program.

The Contributors.

The Editors.

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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2004

    Very inspirational

    I love this book and use it as a source of inspiration for myself and fellow teachers.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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