David Roderick shares poetry with Archer students


By Sarah Wagner

Poet David Roderick came to Archer on April 17 to talk about his experience with poetry. He spoke to the Creative Writing class, AP English Language and Composition (AP Lang) and AP English Literature and Composition (AP Lit) classes.

“[Roderick] and I also performed a sort of ‘poetry flash mob’ — we dropped into seventh grade classrooms and David read a poem called Sea Elephant while I acted it out,” English Department Chair Brian Wogensen wrote in an email interview.

Wogensen chose to bring Roderick to the school because he felt that there was much to be gained from exposing students to professional writers and artists.

“Poetry in particular can seem a distant or opaque career and vocation, so I am happy students got to engage with a dynamic, contemporary writer,” Wogensen wrote.

While talking to the AP Lang class, Roderick began by asking the class what their personal attitude towards poetry was. He admitted that he didn’t always like poetry.

“I was always scared of poems — similes, metaphors,” he said.

The class then analyzed “I Once was a Child” by Victoria Chang and talked about the voice behind the poem as well as technical aspects, like the pacing and poetic devices Chang used.

Roderick discussed the differences between regular language and poetry.

“Regular language is like fast food,” he said, “it’s readily digested.  Poetry, on the other hand, is like a seven course meal.”

Roderick also shared one of his own poems, showing the class four of his 46 drafts.  He shared that writing a poem can take him over a year.

“It was great to have a working poet visit [AP Lit] who also understands how to teach poetry. He gave a great presentation to my class,” English Teacher Kristin Taylor said on Roderick’s visit.