Weirdly, it was a collection of Joseph Fasano (@Joseph_Fasano_) quotes — compiled and presented to him by his students — not his poetry, that first brought him to my attention on Twitter. They compiled a notebook of the “craziest things” he said in class throughout one semester and gifted him the 152 page book at the end. Below is one example, which I think most teachers have either said or wanted to say at numerous points in their careers:
You can read the rest of his pinned thread of hilarious quotes here.
It turns out Fasano is not just a teacher with a sense of humor, but also a gifted poet. He began his academic career studying mathematics and astrophysics at Harvard, switched to philosophy, and then did his graduate studies on poetry at Columbia University. He has published several books and won numerous awards. Find out more about his biography and publications on his website.
Daily Poetry Themes on Twitter
Each day, Fasano suggests a new poetry theme on Twitter and offers an example. Responses pour in as readers share their favorite poems that center around that theme. For example, today’s theme was, “Wildness,” and he included this poem by Ada Limon to illustrate the topic:
The Poem That Made Me Cry
While I enjoy reading Fasano’s threads each day, and I am often moved by the beautiful pieces offered by people around the world, I wasn’t prepared to read the following Tweet, which includes a poem written by a woman with dementia based on one of his prompts:
A flood of people responded to this poignant Tweet, and Fasano was kind enough to Tweet the prompt so more people could try it out. You can read the thread to see examples from poets of all ages submitted in the thread.
Fasano Tweeted recently that he is working on a book of poetry prompts that teachers can use, and hopes to have it available soon. In the meantime, here is the prompt for the above poem. Other prompts and the creative responses to them can be found in his Twitter stream.
While it’s almost the end of National Poetry Month in the United States, I think that we all know that our lives deserve to be enriched by beautiful writing and moving verses year round. Consider doing the above exercise with your students as the year comes to a close, or maybe to open next school year. You can find more poetry lesson ideas here.