30 Ways To Celebrate National Poetry Month April 2011

Republished from Poetry.org

30 Ways to Celebrate
Celebrate Poem in Your Pocket Day
The idea is simple: select a poem you love, carry it with you, then share it with co-workers, family, and friends.
Read a book of poetry
“Poetry is a response to the daily necessity of getting the world right.”
Memorize a poem
“Getting a poem or prose passage truly ‘by heart’ implies getting it by mind and memory and understanding and delight.”
Revisit a poem
“America is a country of second acts, so today, why not brush the dust off these classics and give them a fresh read?”
Put poetry in an unexpected place
“Books should be brought to the doorstep like electricity, or like milk in England: they should be considered utilities.”
Bring a poem to your place of worship
“We define poetry as the unofficial view of being, and bringing the art of language in contact with your spiritual practices can deepen both.”
Attend a poetry reading
“Readings have been occurring for decades around the world in universities, bookstores, cafes, corner pubs, and coffeehouses.”
Play Exquisite Corpse
“Each participant is unaware of what the others have written, thus producing a surprising—sometimes absurd—yet often beautiful poem.”
Read a poem at an open mic
“It’s a great way to meet other writers in your area and find out about your local writing community.”
Support literary organizations
“Many national and local literary organizations offer programs that reach out to the general public to broaden the recognition of poets and their work.”
Listen on your commute
“Often, hearing an author read their own work can clarify questions surrounding their work’s tone.”
Subscribe to a literary magazine
“Full of surprising and challenging poetry, short fiction, interviews, and reviews, literary journals are at the forefront of contemporary poetry.”
Start a notebook on Poets.org
“Poets.org lets users build their own personal portable online commonplace book out of the materials on our site.”
Put a poem in a letter
“It’s always a treat to get a letter, but finding a poem in the envelope makes the experience extra special.”

<!–Google a poem
“Many people carry single lines of verse with them, sometimes for years, and are eager to remember the rest of that particular poem.”

Young People’s Poetry Week
“You’ll find party ideas, poem starters, crossword puzzles, award certificates, lists of poetry books for kids, and more.”

April is the cruelest month
“To mark tax day, the Academy distributed thousands of free copies of The Waste Land at selected post offices across the country.”


Take a poem out to lunch
Adding a poem to lunch puts some poetry in your day and gives you something great to read while you eat.”
Put a poem on the pavement
“Go one step beyond hopscotch squares and write a poem in chalk on your sidewalk.”
Recite a poem to family and friends
“You can use holidays or birthdays as an opportunity to celebrate with a poem that is dear to you, or one that reminds you of the season.”
Organize a poetry reading
“When looking for a venue, consider your local library, coffee shop, bookstore, art gallery, bar or performance space.”
Promote public support for poetry
“Every year, Congress decides how much money will be given to the National Endowment for the Arts to be distributed all across America.”
Start a poetry reading group
“Select books that would engage discussion and not intimidate the reader new to poetry.”
Read interviews and literary criticism
“Reading reviews can also be a helpful exercise and lend direction to your future reading.”
Buy a book of poems for your library
“Many libraries have undergone or are facing severe cuts in funding. These cuts are often made manifest on library shelves.”
Start a commonplace book
“Since the Renaissance, devoted readers have been copying their favorite poems and quotations into notebooks to form their own personal anthologies called commonplace books.”
Integrate poetry with technology
“Many email programs allow you to create personalized signatures that are automatically added to the end of every email you send.”
Ask the Post Office for more poet stamps
“To be eligible, suggested poets must have been deceased for at least ten years and must be American or of American descent.”
Sign up for a poetry class or workshop
“Colleges and arts centers often make individual courses in literature and writing available to the general public.”
Subscribe to our free newsletter
“Short and to the point, the Poets.org Update, our electronic newsletter, will keep you informed on Academy news and events.”

<!–Google a poem
“Many people carry single lines of verse with them, sometimes for years, and are eager to remember the rest of that particular poem.”

Young People’s Poetry Week
“You’ll find party ideas, poem starters, crossword puzzles, award certificates, lists of poetry books for kids, and more.”

April is the cruelest month
“To mark tax day, the Academy distributed thousands of free copies of The Waste Land at selected post offices across the country.”



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Post Oral Dissertation Defense Syndrome


I am humbled, honored, and grateful to announce that I successfully passed my oral defense for my Dissertation entitled Towards A Rhetoric of Neo Hybrid Pedagogy: A Comparative Analysis on an  Effective Teaching Methodology Applied to Writing Portfolios For African American Students At A Historically Black University.  I, however, will present a public presentation to the public in April 2011, and I look forward to seeing family, friends, colleagues, and staff at the upcoming event. 

After completing an oral defense, one may feel lethargic or ill.  I personally feel lethargic, for this has been a steep climb towards completion.  I am so honored and grateful for my incredible Chair of my Committee, Dr. Milford Jeremiah; and the best committee members, Dr. Asao Inoue and Dr. Rochelle Smith Glenn. Moreover, Dr. Aurora Garcia was a true blessing for guiding me through a true experimental quantitative research for my investigation. In addition, I would like to thank Professors Carrza Du Bose and Dabian Witherspoon, the Experimenters in the study. Finally,  I would like to especially thank the Director over our awesome English Graduate Studies Program at Morgan State University, Dr. Monifa Love Asante. 

Now that the defense is over, I look forward to a public presentation of my findings, converting my dissertation into a published and preparing to continue the search for a Tenure Track English Composition and Rhetoric position.  I am also doing research on Non Profit Organizations now to improve marginalized students’ performance in writing and the academic discourse.

Graduation is May 21, 2011 at Morgan State University, and I am ready, truly ready for the next chapter in my life to begin–giving back to the people. How did you feel after completing your Oral defense for your Thesis or Dissertation?  Please feel free to take a trip down memory lane, or if you are currently preparing for a defense, please feel free to ask me any questions to help you prepare.


Monique Akassi

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How To Survie The Oral Defense

How to survive the oral defense

1. Arrive at least 30 minutes early.  Make sure that you have all of your materials (ie., handouts, notepad, posters, thumb drive, etc.,)

2. Dress professional, wearing a dark-colored suit and relax.

3. Speak clearly and make eye contact with the audience.

4. Whenever you are asked a question by your committee, make sure that you take a moment to reiterate the question in your mind before answering the question.  If you are unclear about a question, do not hesitate to repeat the question and ask for the question to be rephrased.  Answer your questions clearly without talking too much.

5.  Remain optimistic, confident, and humble.

6. If a question is asked that is out of your research scope, simply state that the suggestion provided by the committee member is excellent; however,  it is out of your scope of limitations; therefore, emphasize that you will definitely include the nosuggestion(s) in the recommended section of your dissertation for future research.

7. Buy small individual  gifts and present it to the committee members after the good news is delivered.

8. Ask permission to tape and/or video  record, or ask a colleague to record questions and answers during the defense.

9. Practice, practice, practice your presentation skills before the defense day.

10. Attempt to talk to your committee members before the defense regarding any questions or concerns that they may have with your thesis before the defense.

11. Meet with your chair in advance to review any house rules before the defense day.

12. Know in advance how much time you will be allotted to speak.

Make sure you cover the following areas within your dissertation defense:

1. Statement of the Problem

2.Significance of the Research

3. Research Questions

4. Literature  Review

5. Methodology

6. Results

7. Discussion

8. Limitations of the Study

9. Recommendations

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You Know When Someone Is A PhD Candidate When . . .


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Reposted From The CCCC Website: Were you unable to attend this year’s CCCC conference in Atlanta, Georgia? If so, join me and take advantage of attending their first Virtual Conference

Did you miss the 2011 CCCC Convention in Atlanta? Did you attend the Convention but run out of time to see all of the stellar sessions? If so, check out the first CCCC Virtual Conference, bringing you a “flavor of the 2011 CCCC Annual Convention” from the convenience of your desktop!

Over the course of a month following the 2011 CCCC Convention, CCCC will host six, 60-minute virtual sessions that were presented in Atlanta. With one registration fee, you not only have the opportunity to attend the live virtual events, you will also gain full access to the on-demand recordings of those events which you can revisit at any time and even share with your colleagues in your department. You will have the freedom to attend as many of the virtual events as you wish but still have access to all of them on-demand after each session.

Registration Information
Member/Nonmember Rate: $115 including:

•Live access to all six, 60-minute virtual sessions
•On Demand recordings of each of the six sessions
•Added Bonus: Access to the recording of CCCC Chair Gwendolyn D. Pough’s Address from Atlanta
•Extended conversations and resource sharing in an eGroup within the CCCC Conneted Community for all registrants

If you are attetnding the conference or the virtual conference, pleas leave a comment below.  I would love to hear from you regarding our annual anticipated conference.  Please visit www.ncte.org to register today!

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Should Educators Consider Placing Less Emphasis on Students’ Grammar & Syntax Structure in Their Writings and More Emphasis on Content in Their Essays?

Many educators today in all fields are implementing the Writing Across The Curriculum as a movement and/or teaching methodology of instruction.  As a result, more teachers are requiring students to write more essays in all disciplines (English, Social Studies, Math, Psychology, etc.,). However, many educators have voiced concerns lately regarding an alarming percentage of minority students whose writing lacks Standard Written English.  This is especially problematic, as one colleague explained, “when a research paper is assigned and it is flooded with grammatical errors.”   However, a large number of pedagogues argue that educators should place less emphasis on students’ grammar and more emphasis on the content within their writings. 

Another colleague of mine who teaches at a Carnegie Research institution noticed that the few African American students in his writing courses tend to write their papers using the African American Vernacular English (Ebonics).  He explained  he is aware that in 1996 the case with the Oakland School District officially recognized the language–Ebonics, the language that the majority of African Americans speak, is an official language among the approximately 6,912 languages in the world today, and should be recognized as such.  Therefore, he allows the students to write, sometimes using subject verb disagreement, which is common in the language, for certain genres of writing.  However, he finds it problematic when a research paper is assigned, requiring Standard Written English, yet he does not want to feel as though he is stripping students’ of their language when he penalizes them for using their mother tongue for research writings.  This issue remains unresolved for a large number of educators today.

Question: Are educators being oppressive if they allow students’ to write without placing emphasis on their grammar and syntax structure, or are educators being oppressive if they do not allow students’ to write without placing emphasis on their grammar and syntax structure within their essays?


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Spring Break For Educators Is A Fancy Term For Catching Up

This week is Morgan State University’s Spring Break after a heavy midterm examination week.  I’m sure my devoted students are bathing in the sun some where nice and warm while I take great delight in reading meticulously through their research papers and entering in their grades into our online system.  : 0

In addition, I am preparing for my oral defense, which is scheduled for next week. As a PhD Candidate and English Lecturer, I must admit that I look forward to completing this major mile stone in my academic career in order to venture off into new areas in academia.  After practically being confined to coffee shops and library’s, I anxiously wait to begin the next chapter in life!  Many of my friends and colleagues who also traveled down “the road not taken” by the majority have shared some of their experiences with life after the PhD. I am open to reading some of your testimonies after your degree(s) for inspiration. : )


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