CLMOOC Poetry Experiment: Celebrating A Multitude of Voices

CLMOOC Poem Voice MixerI was watching with interest as my friend, Alan Levine, was playing around with a coding project that mixed and remixed voice audio files, and wondered at the possibilities for a multitude of voices poetry project through the CLMOOC community.

Alan was very helpful in all sorts of ways — first, by hosting his original projects over at Github, which allowed me to fork it and make a copy, and then he was patient with advice and answers to my questions about changing and manipulating the underlying code.

The result is a pretty cool project that allows you to remix voices for a small poem I wrote for the project. Give it a try. Hit “Make New” then “Play” and then “Make Another” to remix the voices.

Thanks to all my CLMOOC friends who played along with me, and sent me their voices. You can read more about the project over at the CLMOOC website.

I also did one further remix. Instead of cutting audio into smaller segments, as used in the Voice Remix site to create the string of voices speaking the poem, I wondered how I could bring all of the big audio files together, layered on top of each other, and whether that chorus/cacophony would be something interesting.

Well, it is something … and best listened with headphones.

Peace (in pushing the limits to our poems),


Join Slice of Life in March/15th Anniversary

Slice of Life 2022 Comic

If you are a teacher who writes, or a teacher who wants to write more, or maybe you’re more of a writer who also teaches — ah, whatever the circumstance — consider joining the Slice of Life for its 15th year of daily writing in March.

I’ve been at it, thanks to my friend Bonnie K, since the start of it 15 years ago and I always fret: What if I have nothing to write? Yet I always do. Sometimes, it’s an observation from school. Sometimes, it’s the smallest moment imaginable, but the noticing brings it into something larger. Sometimes, I’ve done multimedia posts. Last year, I did a Day in a Sentence theme for March.

This year, I hope to do a Poem a Day theme when I can, which will be convenient for my on-going personal writing goal of writing a poem every day. But I will toggle between formats, and media, etc.

I have consistently found that connecting with other teachers and writers through comments and interactions across blogging spaces is a powerful experience, worth celebrating.

No pressure. But if you are interested, there is more information and a sign-up form, if you so inclined. I recently took part in a conversation about the Slice of Life and the energy that one can get from writing with others.

Peace (in the noticing),

Slice of Life: To Mask Or Not

(This is for the Slice of Life challenge, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. We write on Tuesdays about the small moments in the larger perspective and then all through March — every single day  …  You write, too.)

Our School Committee members voted the other night to lift our mask mandate at our school when we return from February break next week. They had sent out surveys to teachers and parents, but not students. That got me irritated, as they seem to consistently avoid asking students what they think, so I revamped their parent survey and had my sixth graders voice their opinions. I sent it off to the School Committee before their meeting, and to its credit, the chairman shared the students survey in the meeting before any other results.

Mask Mandate Zooming
The School Committee ignored advice from the health officials on the timing of lifting the mask mandate, but the discussions – even in the public hearing section – were civil and thoughtful, a rarity in today’s meetings (even in our town).

I wasn’t surprised to see my students voting in the majority to lift the mask mandate, as this is a fairly conservative community and students are generally just tired of wearing masks, but I was curious and a little concerned about the second question, asking them whether they will still wear masks even if the mandate was dropped.

MaskPolicySurvey (student response)

A full third of the students who took the survey indicated they weren’t sure, although I know many have thought about it and talked about it, and as we approach this moment of shift in masking, I know there are going to be some students who want to wear a mask for protection, and are allowed to, but may not, due to pressure from friends, either overt or not.

I don’t know how family decisions will play into all of this either, since we are not going to be policing which students have been given permission to wear masks and which have not.

As a teaching team, we’re already mulling on ways to make all students comfortable in whatever decision they make, and to accept and support any decision anyone else makes, as well. We’ve had discussions about Morning Meeting as a time to reinforce talk of respecting opinions in a larger community and we’ve talked about us, teachers, wearing masks, even if we wouldn’t otherwise, as an act of solidarity to any students feeling on the edge or uncertain. I am sure the administration has information going home, as well.

It seems as if every step of the way in this Pandemic, we keep having to learn new ways to navigate forward, and strategies to help our students do the same.

Peace (in choice),

Poem: Letter to a Saxophone

CLMOOC Saxophone Feldgang

Today’s poetry prompt at Open Write is to write a poem/letter to an object, or idea, and I chose my Martin tenor saxophone.

Dear Martin,

I’ve known you now
nearly longer than
anyone, other than my dad,
who gifted you to me
when I was young, told me,
play well, have fun

When the repairmen
at the music shop learn
of you, they marvel at
an old Martin, like you,
a rare saxophone of renown,
a bell with a soft jazz sound

I’ve carried you on stage
and you’ve carried me through
band concerts and live shows,
and gave me a way to discover notes
when I lost it in rock and roll

You’ve been bent, my friend, and
broken, too, and filled with breath
and spit, and you’ve listened
as I’ve spoken in whispers to you,
and never complained,
not even in those years I quit

and now, I sit, writing in wonder,
that you, Martin, have sung
my life with me, a tenor sax
with unique tone, my faithful
friend in harmony

Peace (in time and sound),

Remixing Ain’t Burned All The Bright (Found Poem)

Aint Burned Bright Found Poem Remix

Yesterday, I mentioned loving the new visual/text novel by writer Jason Reynolds and artist Jason Griffin — Ain’t Burned All The Bright — and after reading it multiple times, I realized that if you did random flipping through its pages, a poem would almost always emerge. (I started to read the book, thanks to a shared birthday invitation from two National Writing Project friends: Bryan Crandall and Paul Hankins).

Which led me to a remix that became a found poem. (above)

The words in the poem are all from pages in the book, and the collage which I created to reference the book’s cover and the inside pages where I “found” the words is designed to celebrate and hint at the book’s beautiful pages.

I actually tried this a few different ways, with different apps and approaches, and landed on this one, which merges the words onto the image through an app that combines media in interesting ways.

Here is the poem, as text:

or the way we treat
the world
high enough to fly off
and catch air
and maybe grab some sky
and somehow even become
its own rain cloud
to see a split second
and maybe
seeing each other’s mess
as a breath of fresh air

A Found Poem Remix
with appreciation for the words of Jason Reynolds and the art of Jason Griffin in ‘Ain’t Burned All The Bright’

Peace (in wonder),