Today, my student's confessed that they 'googled' me. Evidently, they figured out that I have the same name as a painter and a woman running for office in small town New Jersey. In my third class, S. came running in late, and wrote on a piece of paper, am sick, can't speak. And M. said, "That guy is wierd.' S. gave me permission to post the letter -- forthcoming.
Last night was the child's sixth birthday. Nancy says, 'Six is the new two.' I'm still attempting to process that comment.
Friday, October 31, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
I have been dipping into my Statcounter to see the so-called 'key word' activity. It seems Paul Guest is more popular on my blog than I am...uggg. Other key words are: Lee Bartlett, Saint Elizabeth Street, Kate Malone ceramic seahorses, Diane Arbus, sucessful meeting poem, and, my favorite, crippled bitch disabled. That last guy looks like he has low blood sugar and needs to study redundancy.
Posted by Jennifer Bartlett at 1:08 PM
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
It has been a month since I have begun teaching poetry at United Cerebral Palsy. The position has been, at turns, wonderful and difficult, but absolutely not what I expected.
My students have numerous limitations. Most use wheelchairs. Some have only partial hearing or vision. Many need assistance to write. Some have mental challenges. The latter are the most difficult for me to work with, solely because I am not used to them. Being around people with disabilities does take some getting used to. But, soon, the silly thing people say about me ... 'we forget you're disabled' actually becomes true. Very quickly, what rises to the top is whether you like a certain person (or don't) and whether you are truly understanding what they are about. My students can be difficult to understand because of speech barriers, but certainly no more than a so-called able-bodied person, just in a different manner.
Here's what does surprise me, for reasons that are unclear the staff and clients don't seem to have any experience with a person with CP in a so-called position of power. Believe me, I'm just teaching a poetry workshop and I use that term lightly. But, it's interesting to me that when I walk in the building both clients and staff confuse me with a client. There seems to be a real segregation between able-bodied (i.e. helpers) and disabled (i.e. helped) people. Other than one janitor, I have yet to actually meet anyone with a disability who works there. This is not to disparage UCP at all. I am just, well, pretty surprised. I thought in such an atmosphere, the lines between able-bodied and disabled would be more blurry.
Tomorrow, more on language poetry, channeling Robert Duncan, and the I Ching.
Posted by Jennifer Bartlett at 1:45 PM
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Last night, I sent out poems to Sam Lohman's Peaches and Bats and Joanna Furhman's Boog Reader. I can't say enough good stuff about these fine poets. I also (to be a harpy) can't say enough about the importance of the East Coast recognizing the West Coast. Robert Grenier's lecture on Larry Eigner at the Poetry Project tomorrow night might be a good place to start. I am going to make my best efforts to go...but it's also opening day of ice skating in Bryant Park & two trips to Manhattan just ain't happening for me.
Today, Jeffrey said, "Don't fight with my father. But, if you do, be sure you win." What a little Bartlett!
Posted by Jennifer Bartlett at 4:51 PM
Saturday, October 25, 2008
I've had poems accepted to New American Writing.
The same week, I received a handwritten rejection letter from the Senior Editor of Conjunctions.
Jeffrey told his teacher he wants to be God for Halloween. Wherever are we going to get the costume?
Thursday, October 02, 2008
This seems as good a time as any to begin blogging again, as short lived as it may be.
The actions of late with people and groups of disability have begun to worry me. Today, the NFB came out with a statement against the new film 'Blindness.' We all remember the protests as well against 'Tropic Thunder.' I believe that, as the election approaches, groups are targeting the wrong people. I believe we should be using all of our limited time and energy to assure a better quality of life. Some questions I'd like to consider are:
Why do people with disabilities still have a 75% unemployment rate?
Why is McCain's treatment of his first wife not a larger issue in the media?
Why has there not been a protest of PWD of any major proportion since the early 1990's?
Why aren't PWD more vocal about the fact that Bush Sr. attempted to surpress the new ADA Law?
Why does receiving SSI still put PWD way below the poverty level?
Why do programs like SSDI encourage people not to work?
Why aren't PWD (a major voting bloc) tirelessly working toward electing the best candidate?
On Sept. 30 Riley Ramsey did a complete list of the laws that both candidates want to promote for PWD (his blog is licking Calcutta).