Saturday, March 13, 2010
Seoul International School
Banners in the hall, coffee and brownies in the library, and attentive students -- what more could any poet ask? The grounds of the school are dotted with sculptures and the athletic field glows green on the damp, grey day we arrive. It's cold in Korea and workers have fires burning at their building worksites as we walk to school. And every corner has a building site-- Korea is growing up and out and on every corner.
Korean students have a reputation for being very serious about their studies -- and they are. We begin every presentation with an advertisement for the importance of poetry to scientists and engineers -- helping them to develop precise language skills.
This is normal for any HS presentation, but it has to be punched up for Korean kids. It is here that when Michael tells an audience of tenth graders that he has a book in which he took SAT level vocabulary words and wrote poems to define them that he gets exuberant applause. Nowhere else in the world has this EVER happened. We laugh.
But the students get serious again as they begin to write about what is important to them -- words that they want to think about, conflicts and joys. The personal reflections of poetry.
And then the smiles return as the writers see their own thoughts turn into poems. Thank you SIS and Chris Fazenbacher for making this a wonderful visit.