Thursday, October 23, 2008

Arts and Education Issue of the Urban Ed Journal

Please submit to the upcoming arts and education issue of the wonderful Urban Ed journal.

Their announcement is as follows:

Volume 6, Issue 2 - Arts and Education

The Penn GSE Perspectives on Urban Education Journal is now accepting submissions for the upcoming issue, which will focus on the topic of arts in education. Whether included in the classroom curriculum, supplied by visiting artists, or incorporated into afterschool and community-based programming, integrated and discipline-based arts education is widely perceived by both researchers and practitioners to be a public and private good. In this issue, the journal seeks to elaborate the discussion of arts in education in urban areas. How is the relationship between arts and education understood and practiced in urban areas? On the one hand, educators understand how arts serve as a platform to engage students and foster growth; on the other hand, issues of funding, time management, and local and national school mandates often limit the integration and implementation of arts. How do educators, students, and parents negotiate these factors as they bring arts into learning environments?

This is a broad topic, with both "arts" and "education" understood as including but not limited to visual, performing, creative, and expressive arts in K-12, college, university, and community contexts. We encourage researchers, graduate students, practitioners, policy makers, and youth to publish studies in progress, as well as findings from completed research and reflections on practice. We welcome submissions that present content in creative ways through multimedia formats. Submissions must follow the style outlined in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (2001, 5th edition). Please complete the submission form found on our website and e-mail it along with your submission to

Submission due date: February 15, 2009

Visit Urban Ed Journal for more information.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Entertainer, You're Only Human, You're My Home (Selections from Billy Joel)

Don't worry, the moon will rise wherever you go.
--Mary Jo Bang, "How to Leave a Prairie"


"I am the entertainer

I come to do my show

You've heard my latest record

It's been on the radio

Ah, it took me years to write it

They were the best years of my life

It was a beautiful song

But it ran too long

If you're gonna have a hit

You gotta make it fit

So they cut it down to 3:05"


"It's not always easy to be living in this world of pain

You're gonna be crashing into stone walls again and again

It's alright

It's alright

Though you feel your heart break

You're only human

You're gonna have to deal with heartache"


"When you look into my eyes
And you see the crazy gypsy in my soul
It always comes as a surprise
When I feel my withered roots begin to grow
I never had a place that I could call my very own
But that's alright
my love
'cause you're my home
When you touch my weary head
And you tell me ev'rything will be alright
You say
Use my body for your bed
And my love will keep you warm throughout the night
Well I'll never be a stranger and I'll never be alone
Wherever we're together
That's my home
Home can be the Pennsylvania Turnpike
Indiana's early morning dew
High up in the hills of California
Home is just another word for you
If I travel all my life
And I never get to stop and settle down
Long as I have you by my side
There's a roof above and good walls all around
You're my castle
You're my cabin and my instant pleasure dome
I need you in my house 'cause you're my home"

Thursday, October 09, 2008

I am not lame for liking Coldplay

People are always wanting more of something. I have been reading all these articles about creativity lately and the consensus is that more of it would be good in our schools. Still, what does more mean? People often want more money, but then they are often unsure of what to do with it. I think this is how hoarding develops. The allotment of things is what is important with resources. For example, the times in my life when I have wanted more love endlessly were the times when the wrong kind of love was available.

In other words, I have decided that the people I know who think I am lame for liking Coldplay are the same people I know who nothing meaningful about art. I make my own decisions about what kind of art I like because I know a lot about what kind of art is important to our time.

I do not think Coldplay is particularly important to our time, but I do think it is nice to listen to on the train when you need a gentle Pisces voice to counteract the harsh world.

I read with Tao Lin a few weeks ago in a poetry reading. He’s obviously a genius. Every writer and poet alive today should worship the ground he walks on. But I guess most people already know to do so.

I hope he doesn’t mind me putting him so close to Coldplay.

This is a poem I wrote for George Bush:

The Liar

Worse than The Fool
The Liar is always coming at me
With his various masks
He is a man I will never marry
Carrying black pails against the sea
The seawind betrays him
For his guilt and sameness
And haunting, he always haunts
The Liar is a false fool, I watch his lips
And they are fruit-like, but bitten
And I watch them and they are ugly
Like the day from which I came
And they are nothing
Magic lips I see
And there is no one on this earth worth living for
The Liar is bent towards the sun
I have no faith in him and who does
Have faith in a man
Who is no more than an alien

I actually don’t think all Republicans are evil. That’s because I am humanist and I have known some Republicans in my time who actually wanted to help people. My dad was one of those people.

Nevertheless, McCain/Bush is no humanist. Mostly in part because he is too old to understand humanism. Old age and youth (not always mind you) can cloud humanism because there are other needs when you are on either side of death. Humanism is for us adults, in the prime, ready to take action.

And just like this, as Obama said recently, we need adults in the White House, not children.

Hillary Clinton is a Republican Humanist. I still love her.

It is no matter. I’d take a slightly corrupt Democrat-Republican-Humanist over a Bush-McCain Republican anyday.

We need to fight Sarah Palin/John McCain. They are not what this world needs. We need to fight, as adults, for the world.

We need to forget about George Bush/John McCain Republicans that are betting that we have the TV on with the sound down.

I care about sound. So do you, I think.

We are a country where charisma matters a lot. George Bush and Sarah Palin look awfully good on TV with the sound down. They are good-looking. Don’t deny it. That’s the problem, looking good, deadpan-style, with no sound. The American deadpan is only important when you have the sound on—that’s when you see our depth. But unfortunately that’s the way a lot of Americans watch TV, with the sound down, while doing something. This soundlessness undercuts everything this country is good for. Still, there is an inherent tension between what looks good and the sound of it that happens when we watch TV in this country with the sound off. Which is what a lot of Americans do, cause we are a busy and lonely people and we need company—a soundless company that doesn’t make a fuss. And I don’t think that’s good per se, but I do think it is a practice that elucidates an implicitly American relationship to charisma that does not involve sound. If want to win this election, we need to understand this soundless relationship immediately.

The other week I saw one of my old students and when I did, I thought of a class I had a few years back. It was a class in poetry by women (don’t get me started on why I don’t agree with sequestering women poets like that, but it is a necessary practice if we want our poems read). One of the girls in the class was mad at me about something. I think I was critiquing her poem and she was fuming at me. And then she exclaimed: “Oh Dottie, you don’t know anything about the real experimental poetry that is going on these days.” I remember being a little pissed off, but also in love with her spunk.

And the truth is, I probably didn’t. I don’t think I am an experimental poet.

I used to be one, I think I have intentionally tried not to be so in the last five years of my life. I am not sure what got me on the path of trying, but I do know that a lot of what is considered experimentalism in poetry today bores me. I just don’t see the risk in it. Of course, too, a lot of so-called non-experimental poetry being written today bores me, too. I believe in experimental poetry, but not as a dogmatic definition of being brave in a poem. I think a lot of poets are brave and I love the poets who are writing these days who are intensely fearless. I would like to get back to being brave.

I think being brave is a lot about being forced to be so.

One time a supervisor of mine in an arts studio where I worked told me plainly, as I was planning a public art project, “what you give them is important.” That was probably the most important thing a person has ever said to me regarding curriculum.

What circumstances you give a person is of the utmost importance to their experience. In education, this is not only the objects or ideas you give them to manipulate, it is also the world you give them to manipulate the objects and ideas in.

It is certainly not a new idea to think that social justice is married to providing people with proper education. What is proper is certainly up for debate. What is not proper is another four years of George Bush-style policies, another four years of the purposeless, soundless allotment of more. Or bravery for the sake of it. Or of a soundless beauty that masks death.

First and foremost, we don’t need people like Sarah Palin dictating educational policy. Just because you like children or can have them doesn’t mean you know one “goddamn” thing about the way people learn. It doesn’t even ensure that you care.

The weird sounds in Jeff Mangum’s In the Aeroplane Over the Sea sound like a train slowing down, as its wheels caress and rub the tracks. It is a sad sound. The pain I feel when I listen to that CD is like the pain I feel when I press on a fresh bruise. Over and over again it is the same dull ache.

I will never get over that album. Soft silly music is meaningful, magical.

I was thinking about Hillary Clinton the other day and I wrote her this poem:

Hillary Clinton

Daughter of Chicago
Businessmen and teachers
She was born
She was smart
She grew up
With dreams
In Midwestern scenery
She met Bill Clinton
O Bill Clinton
This poem isn’t about you
I am a feminist
Like every other woman
Of my generation
Even though you
Can’t tell, much has
Been already done
For example, some men
Have a range of
Emotions you can count on
Abby Walton too
Once played me a song
Called Old Old Fashioned
Hillary Clinton speaks
And it sounds like the soft
Soft static in that song
Laura if we were one thing
It might look something
Like a blue-green dragon
You might disagree with me
About the color
In the morning the sky is grey
It is grey a grey grey sky
I can’t count on the sky
Mother, mother, mother
Mother, mother
I like the way you were
Once round and full
And healthy
And the black night
Wasn’t seeping in our dreams
Hillary Clinton
I know when I see you
I am seeing a little girl
Who knew
She could be president

In other news, I think Danity Kane is my new favorite band:

“When the red light comes on, I transform”

Do they mean burning by that? No, I don’t think so. These women have too much glorious flat affect to let you see them burn.

Here’s another one:

A rule that is not hard to learn is that when Puffy starts talking at the beginning of something, it’s going to be good.

I think someday we poets should get him to grace a reading for us.

I love him:

“You know what time it is? Report to the dance floor.”

“You are the only one I want to talk to. But I don’t want to rush.”

“She diggin my style, my swag, my suede, my swerve
My way with words, the Boy’s absurd for sure
You can't fall til my aura called
I make miracles like I walked on water
What you want mama order, it's on my tab
I'm so bad with that cash, I dropped the whole bag
Where you at girl?”