Wednesday, March 01, 2006

We Real Cool.

It's poetry week in my eighth grade class and today we read Gwendolyn Brooks' "We Real Cool." Which, if it's been a while, goes like:

We real cool. We
Left school. We

Lurk late. We
Strike straight. We

Sing sin. We
Thin gin. We

Jazz June. We
Die soon.

"The poeple in this poem are gangsters because they dropped out of school and aren't afraid to die." "My brother is like this because he thinks it's cool to die but I don't think so." "I think this is about African-American kids because a lot of us drop out of school." "I think these people must be old because they drink gin. That's an old people drink."

We talk about what makes a poem a poem, and how words have to be carefully chosen. One girl, with whom I got into an argument yesterday about whether poetry has to rhyme, liked the word "lurk" especially. I saw her later in the day waiting around the corner so that her science teacher wouldn't see her as the class filed in. I said, "Why are you hiding back here?" and she said, "I'm not hiding, I'm lurking."


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