Writing in the Asylum: Student Poets in City Schools / Edition 1

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Jennifer McCormick opens a fascinating window on the lives of young women, showing how poetry can create a sense of security and self-esteem in the often sterile, violent, and oppressive environment of an urban high school. The students' poetry is at once disturbing and beautiful, hopeful and bleak, and McCormick's depiction of the increasingly institutionalized nature of urban schools is riveting. The author crafts a compelling argument that shows the power of poetry as a response to the depersonalization that students face in many urban high schools, and shows readers how it flourishes both despite and because of the violence and "criminalizing institutional routines" of many public schools.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807744895
  • Publisher: Teachers College Press
  • Publication date: 7/25/2004
  • Series: Teaching for Social Justice Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword ix
Acknowledgments xiii
Introduction 1
Background 2
Poetry Is Not a Luxury 6
1. She Gave Me a Poet's Name 8
Memories of a School 8
The Poets 11
Nikki: "She Taught Me Who I Am" 12
Tanzania: "I'm All Lines" 13
Nessa: "What's Wrong with Being Haitian!" 14
Jhoy: "That's How it Was Back Home" 16
Relationships, Writing, and Rewriting 18
2. Discard and Permanence in Postindustrial New York 35
Further Down the Block 36
Contexturalizing a Throw-Away Society 42
Hypersegregation and Public Disinvestment 45
Images of Permanence 52
3. Drag Me to the Asylum 57
From Training to Containment 59
"We Need More Security" 60
"The Cult of Efficiency" 62
Subordinating Assessment 66
The Architecture of Schooling 72
The Thing Around/The Thing Within: Images of Armor and Sanctuary 76
4. Escape Routes 82
Don't Hurt Me Anymore 86
When I Walk Down the Hall: Profiling and Other Performances 90
The Distance Between Violence and Language: Logging and Tagging a Dangerous Persona 96
Beyond Monolithic Labels 99
5. Conclusion 105
Violence in Schools: "You Have to Go Deeper to Change a Person" 110
Internalizing a Guiding Voice in School 116
The Purpose of Poetry 121
References 125
Index 133
About the Author 143
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