The Abandoned Farmhouse


The house slept still.
Thirty years ago, the doors and windows stood
Alert for visitors.

Now its all but empty,
Haunted by only mice, spiderwebs,
And the echo of a phonograph.

When the bitter memory of her finds him,
He’ll remember why she left.
She consumed

His every thought.
He could not escape her
Frequently waking him

In a cold sweat, his heart
Ever more beating faster.
This is what he wanted.

A desire, never ceasing–
The sound of her voice filled
The walls as he recalled

The way her skin felt
As he watched the life seep
And with her, the desire was gone.

There was nothing left of her
That was human,
Save her memory

Which he consumed with tender
Bitterness. The fathom
Of a phantom

In the hallway,
Touching the old picture frames.
All she wanted was

Another being to be with,
Even if they could never
Love her formless body.

She sat there, sleepy,
Haunted by her former lover
That used to sleep in her.


Responding to Reading, Responding to Writing


Prompt: What kind of responses from others help us improve our writing? (In terms of personal and in terms of teaching in the future)

For me, I need feedback for my formal and narrative writing. I have experienced plenty of long nights of writing vast amounts of essays, and realize after I turn in the paper that I had typos or comma splices. The little things can get to me in terms of writing. It’s nice to have a fresh pair of eyes when I write in order to find grammar or punctuation errors. This also applies to awkward phrasing, which I can struggle with from time to time.

Reviews and revisions from others in terms of my poetry, or my creative writing in general, is also very important. I need constructive criticism; if they don’t like an idea, I need to know. Let me know what sucked, and let me know what you liked. Let me know if I repeat words/phrases/themes (the one I’m catching in my poetry, as of late, relates to motherhood) throughout my poems.

In terms of future teaching, I want to give constructive criticism back to my students. I’m already starting to grade papers in my practicum for my EDUC 383/4 classes. As such, I tend to phrase my responses to them in terms of questions. This often is trying to get students to write more, or to clarify an idea. When there is punctuation errors, I do mark it, but will go over the general concepts of, say, semi-colons if I see it as a problem in the classroom.

With creative writing, it gets trickier. A workshop discussion, although vulnerability is a factor, lets the student whose work is being critiqued, as well as other students who are helping to workshop the piece, know some common errors. This helps students become self-aware of their own writing. I’d first ask to give positive feedback on what they liked. (I’ll be using poem, but short works of fiction or nonfiction could also apply.) After that, I would try and lead on what wasn’t working in the poem: what was confusing, what was weak (line breaks, etc.). The last part that would go over is if the poem is “true” enough; if it’s a genuine poem or if it’s relatable. The fact that if the piece gives enough evidence would also be something worth looking over.

Ars Poetica: Feast Upon the Magnolia


Magnolia flowers are best consumed
In the lazy summertime,
When this mom dangles these white
Cacophonies of allergies.
I have tasted this sweet, sweet flora
Only in my dreams.

A magnolia is the poet tree–
The songwriters have the willow,
The storytellers, the oak–
With her grand gestures, calloused
Green fingertips await the wind.

Do not cut down this mother,
Her tears weeping for the worker bees,
Stinging at her trunk;
We’re home honey, we’re home
And yes let’s plant a garden

Of tweets and lies and press this last pure
Flower in your daughter’s Bible.
Shall we feast?
Sweet dreams.

Poem: The Dial in New Harmony


Summer always forgot to turn her air conditioner on,
The weight of hot breaths on our backs.
Stop, it’s here, you said,
Pointing to the sun dial.
That compass of time passing, just sitting there
Like a neighbor two houses down from the art gallery.
We took pictures with this altar de la sol,
And, my love, you never gleamed brighter.

You’d belong in the garden, you said.
Only they were red and white petunias
Not the lilies we’re both fond of.
I would never blossom when the leaves fell, your favorite time.
But my blue you said with birdsong stuck in your hair,
Sunbeams hanging about my neck, but my blue
I would marry you for your poetry, not just your beauty.

A Good Learning Day


Prompt: Describe a “good learning day”. What do you do? How is the time period organized? How is the material presented by the teacher? What do you experience and when?

A good learning day is when both the students and the teacher walk away with new, reliable, and meaningful knowledge to use in and outside of the classroom. The teacher, during class, stays engaged with her students and tries to maintain a positive and safe learning environment. The students need to have focus, but the material needs humor and relatablility. An ice-breaker, bell-ringer, or grammar exercise should have students prepared for the topic, whether it’s diagramming a paragraph form the article, or a journal entry. This gives time for the teacher to become mentally prepared.

Initial discussion should start with that bell-ringer. Deeper concepts should be considered and encouraged, so long as it remain on topic; the teacher is the reference. The material can come from notes on the board, to a news interview, or a Sci Show video from the Vlog Brothers. It can even be students having a debate. The teacher should also ask students to relate these ideas to their own lives. Overall, this would be a facilitator-delegator environment.

Pause & Reflect: From the English Teacher’s Companion (4th Edition)


“Which of these three “traditions” best describes your beliefs about your role as an English teacher? Discuss where your position comes from and how it shapes your thinking about what and how you teach” (Burke 13).

The three traditions described in Burke’s text is the following: the cultural heritage model; the utilitarian model on language skills; and the student engagement model. Between these three, I would say that my teaching emphasizes mostly on student engagement. This does require more work, because it focuses on the students, not the subject. It also incorporates the other two models.

I may choose classic literature (Shakespeare, Greek mythology, etc.), but I may choose contemporary nonfiction and poetry to teach as well. I would definitely try to incorporate current YA novels that students might be reading, or at least have heard of from their peers. With a diverse set of reading, I can apply language skills and reading comprehension within the lessons.

ENG 444 Journals


The start of a new semester, and with it, a new class with Dr. Montz!

This blog, from here on out (at least for the rest of this year), will be for ENG 444. These journals are broadcasted via this blog; the origins are from the humble journal with the sloppy handwriting of an English student.