Poetry and 13-year-olds. Not a very likely combination.
Thirteen-year-olds and pizza, yes. And hip-hop, yes. And Abercrombie and Fitch, video games, Blink-182, MTV and PlayStation 2 - yes.
But poetry? Don't think so.
Adolescents know about it. They see it in books. They know it is boring. And they know that there is no way that they are ever gonna write any.
Not until someone like Miss Gayle comes along, that is. Miss Gayle's an earthy, soulful, "gutbucket from the South" - a woman who puts feelings into words and makes words into music.
Miss Gayle showed up one Monday afternoon in the spare room at the back of Annapolis Middle School. She started talking about her mother, Pearl. Started almost singing a sad, sad poem about her mother, and her mother's death. By the time she finished, every kid in the room, including the toughest of the boys, was crying. One of them, 11-year-old Deonte Ward, was crying so hard he had tears dripping off his elbow.
Miss Gayle showed them, said 13-year-old...
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