We are discussing the poetry here, seminar style.   The emotion of the poetry, the passion, is connected to the teacher making a personal reference, very vague, of youthful passion– and it is so remarkable to see how much the students rise in their attention and fascination by that connection having been made.  Now this topic matters, now it is real– it is about lovers and relationships.
As we discuss the poetry, Eavan Boland’s poetry, we are discussing gender roles, “taking the quotidian, taking a woman coming home, and we are showing a larger context and deeper insight from that.”  Students respond; gender roles are significant to adolescents, and the teacher knows that.    The students again rise with interest when we read a poem of a couple’s argument, and the possibility that the man cheated on his partner.   Again, these are real issues to these kids.

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