Welcome to Howard County, Taylor Mali!
Today, Mali comes to Howard Community College to read and perform at the annual Blackbird Poetry Festival, and so I’m watching – probably for the fifth time – “Totally Like Whatever.”
“What has happened to our conviction? […] It is not enough these days to to simply question authority. You gotta speak with it too.”
These words are especially important to me as a writing teacher. My students have much to say, I believe. However, I don’t think we make available to them the appropriate platform upon which they can speak with conviction. What is more, we don’t always give them access to language in all its complexities with which they can speak as authority. And – you know what I’m going to say – poetry can do that. It can crack open a door to the intricacies and the powers of words (and punctuation, grammar, syntax, form and on and on). Through interacting with poetry, students can practice the complexities of language as well as the deep-thinking, questioning, and reaffirming that poetry demands of us.