happy bday j-dilla.
your music continues to grow and shape new realities, as we celebrate your life and work. (and check out the symbolism and imagery of the pharcyde's "runnin'" prod by Dilla)
february is a month that is built for poetry in some ways, and information in others. it's my husband's birthday, jdilla (my favorite producer)'s bday, there is much to celebrate, especially this year! but i have traditionally always been depressed in february - i used to say that february was my nemesis because i suffer from seasonal affected disorder. i think that all of humankind has this diagnosis and that we are healthier when we are in temperate climates and eat fresh foods. i have lost a few close friends in february, so it is a time of extreme joy and reopening wounds.
yet i love the winter, even when the wind bites my face in half and pushes my numbness around like salt on the sidewalk. it pulls poetry out of me, because there is a harshness to winter that electrifies my keyboard. i feel inspired, which is why it's a month for poems. i have a love hate relationship with the news, because i crave the knowledge of "what's happening" in the world, but will read an article and only double the number of questions on my tongue. i read and then i think about it - who wrote that? what were they trying to say? do i really understand the message? what are their goals and motivations? did they get paid to write that? by whom?
we all assess the quality of our information all the time - without realizing. as we move in our new unit, from the fiction of ghosts in 124 to the real streets of the bronx, detroit, chicago and oakland, ferguson and brooklyn, gaza and los angeles... we are going to be looking at information. the power it holds, who holds the power, whose information looks differently and why. we will review some of the most pertinent news that has happened in my absence, so let's start there. What's one news story that really impacted you in December and January? Maybe something you wanted to talk about it class, or did discuss with Ms. R, Ms. Cotton or Ms. Overton? (boko haram killings in Nigeria, charlie hebdo in Paris, anti-police protests and police shunning the mayor in NYC, State of the Union address, free community college, ISIS and Jordan, what else?)
so, when we read something - we're used to annotating, then talking about it, then writing about it. one thing that we're going to be adding in this unit is the idea of questioning what we read. we read in order to understand - the 5Ws, the "gist" of the story, the theme, conflict, character -- but we also read in order to ask questions. "is it true or untrue? do we agree with this?" is the beginning, but then we also interpret what we read, and decide what WE think about the information we have received. this is why i like informational writing - because there is no NEUTRAL, but its purpose is to put the facts out there, and let people form their responses. one goal i have for this unit is going to be to evaluate the source of our information, to determine if it is reliable (can we trust it? how do we know?) what's one of your goals for this unit, as we read, question and study informational writing?
hopefully, what you'll find is that we'll end up asking a lot more questions than we answer, and that's okay. the poetry website is open, if you feel inspired (and are looking to start the semester off strong): international poetry guild (you can write an anti-love poem, or a love poem to a strange audience) we'll also be reading and listening to all new information, and figuring out what we think about all of it. will we fall in love with the truths that february brings?
i look forward to seeing you soon. i miss you guys!