Being A Grammar Nazi Is Oppressive

It almost says it all in the description...

Why would anyone want to be a Nazi of anything, soup, grammar or otherwise? While rules of grammar don't apply as much in poetry, it's still important to point out to those who say they're irritated by incorrect grammar and spelling--or who even call out other people on their use of either--that grammar privilege is a thing.

From missing out on job opportunities to facing unequal testing to simply being judged on others and shunned on social media, people with disabilities, or who code switch, or who speak English as a second or third language, or have other barriers are harmed by this "quirk." It's not a quirk or cute. It's harmful and we need to stop doing it. 

I get that it's uncomfortable to acknowledge it. It feels terrible! As an English major, teacher and writer, I am so sad that I engaged in this behavior for decades of my life. I also know that by seeing it and tellig others about it, and refusing to judge people by their grammar and spelling, we can help change things for the better and create a more just society. I do hope that you visit the links above to learn more. Here are a few more to read:

Judging A Person's Spelling And Grammar Reveals More About You Than It Does About Them

Grammar, the world's most under-recognized social construct

"Grammar nazis" and Literary Privilege 

Why Grammar Snobbery Has No Place in the Movement

Stop Correcting Other People's Grammar

How do you judge people by their language, or how have you been judged? How has it affected you? Share your stories in the chat.

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The Funniest Poems You've Ever Read

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Celebrities reading their fans' Tweets is an absolute utter delight for me these days, and when I saw this video of Tom Ellis reading his fans' "thirsty Tweets," I cracked up like I figured I would. Caution: many are NSFW! Some fans are downright shameless when it comes to professing their feelings for their celeb crushes.

In Ellis's case, one fan wrote a poem of sorts that made me spit out my tea. These are so hilarious!

I'd love to see more--both more thirsty tweets as well as goofy poems written about anything, from celebrities to 2020. I know lots of people are over the whole blaming the year for everything going wrong when really much of it was already on the wrong path to begin with, but I find it to be a helpful coping mechanism.

So how about it? What funny poems have you read this week?

Quoth the Raven

What somber, spooky poems are you reading?

Once upon a midnight dreary, I met a snail by the name of Gary... is that not how it goes? Well you could have fooled me, since I'm reading totally new takes on Poe this year! My family is enjoying a collection of re-imagined Poe works called His Hideous Heart while we re-read many of his works to compare and contrast this year.

No, there's not a Spongebob reference, but there are plenty of fun new, modern twists on his classic works that still feature his vibe. It's a perfect book to share with teens exploring Poe.

What dark poems are you reading right now? Share them in the chat!

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Last Chance To Enter Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contest

Have you submitted a poem?

Would you like to win $3,000 for a poem? I know I would! The Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contest's deadline is rapidly approaching, and you must submit your poem by September 30 in order to be considered for the prize!

You can submit any type of style of poem in any genre of your choosing, but there are certain prizes available for free verse versus rhymed poetry in traditional styles. There are also small prizes for runner's up as well as publishing opportunities.

Are you entering the contest? What is your poem about? Tell us in the chat.

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Learning History Through Poetry

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Poems are such powerful tools with which to teach history. My teen and I have been reading several collections by Black poets as well as poems describing events in history that really make some of the material resonate. There is so much power in the rhythm and form of poetry.

Last night we finished Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life, and the organization of the poems really emphasized the stories of eleven people who were treated like property. I ran across this list of poetry books that also teaches history and look forward to exploring more. 

What historical poetry books have you enjoyed or learned from? Share them in the chat.

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Critiquing Poetry

How do you go about it?

There are lots of different ways to critique a written work, so when someone asks you to give them constructive feedback about a poem, how do you go about it? Many people would argue that you should buffer criticism between compliments to make the poet feel better about anything they might want to change.

The thing is, poetry, like any writing, is very subjective. While some grammatical criticism might be valid, feedback in general when it comes to artistic endeavors isn't always on point, even from an instructor. What was in fashion ten years ago may not even be relevant today, which many writers are learning.

So how do you give feedback when a writer asks for it? Share your tips and experiences in the chat.

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Poems of Your Childhood

Share What You Loved (And Didn't!)

Three words will often cause an enormous debate between poetry lovers: The Giving Tree. Yes, I said it! So many people love this book by Shel Silverstein about a tree that keeps on giving to a boy who grows up and keeps demanding more.

You can probably tell I'm not a fan of the poem! It's one of my least favorites, in fact, and I think it's a terrible example of friendship, especially given the genders invovled and lessons learned there. Women are often taught to give until we have nothing left, after all. That said, I enjoyed many of the writer's other poems.

What poems did you love as a kid? Which did you hate?

Nothing Gold Can Stay

What is your favorite fall poem?

My teen and I just finished reading The Outsiders together, which is why I have Robert Frost on my mind. "Nothing Gold Can Stay" is a gorgeous poem that always makes me think about fall, even though it's my favorite season. Jim Gaffigan has a great bit where he talks about how we love fall leaves when they are all dying!

I'd love to hear more fall poems that you enjoy, especially if they're the kind that praise fall! They absolutely don't have to; I know many people are sad to see the summer go and I send hugs to you if that's the case.

What fall poems are you enjoying right now? Share them in the chat.

Free Virtual Poetry Workshops

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Many of us are looking for some cool opportunities for both ourselves and our learners during Covid, and luckily the virtual offerings of various programs never seem to cease. The real trick is simply weeding out the things you don't need and finding the ones that will benefit you most.

I've always had good experiences with Coursera, so I think this poetry class might be worth checking out, but I wanted to see if you had others to suggest here for members to take advantage of.

What poetry classes are you taking right now? Share them in the chat!

The Value of Memorization

Why memorize poetry?

Many people find it silly, or useless at best, to memorize poems. After all, what will they ever come in handy for? But it turns out that memorizing poetry can really help you out in other areas.

For starters, if you're a debator, you can draw from your "quote bank" to really move people in your speeches. You can use quotes quickly in in-class essays, which is super helpful, and you can use them in anything from toasts to somber moments in your life. But it can also help you develop confidence, rhythm and even express your feelings in a better way.

What do you think the benefits of memorizing poetry might be? Share them in the chat.