In several of today’s classes–two sophomore and one senior–we listened to the NPR piece about John Borling’s book of poems, Taps on the Walls. Having heard this interview during my drive to work this morning, I wanted to share it with students, and hence with readers of this blog. It is a remarkable answer to a question I have asked my poetry classes in the past: do we really need poetry.
After students listened to the program, which I recommend you do (7’48” long), we literally tried our hands at composing with the code used by Major General Borling and his prison mates. Since the sophomores are just finishing The Kite Runner, I asked them to start a poem in the voice of Amir–a poem expressing what Sohrab means to him. Then they were to try tapping the first line of this poem for their neighbor, as one concrete way to appreciate the importance of poetry for Mr. Borling during his six and a half years of brutal captivity. You can catch a glimpse of their handiwork on the youtube video above. I hope this mini-lesson opens for them a small window on the remarkable human spirit and its need for artistic expression.
p.s. Apologies for the extra youtube videos; I am trying to learn how to post just the one video I made, without these extraneous, unendorsed connections.