Professor Develops Textbook For Nationwide Literature Classes
A Columbus State University Professor has developed a classroom textbook described by the National Council of Teachers of English as a 'powerful supplement to the standard middle school and high school literature anthologies.' The council has published and is promoting the 2002 book 'Poems by Adolescents and Adults,' nationally to literature teachers of grades 6-12.
Jim Brewbaker, a professor of English education, selected 107 student poems from nearly 1,700 submissions from young poets in grades 5-12 representing Georgia and 36 other states, plus three Canadian provinces and Okinawa. With a co-editor, he clustered the student works thematically with 43 additional poems by distinguished writers such as Gary Soto, William Stafford and Nikki Giovanni who lectured at CSU in Feb. 2001 as the keynote speaker for Black History Month.
Brewbaker said he intends for the collection to be used by teachers as they work with middle-school and high-school students. 'Kids tend to think that writing is something 'out there,' and that writers, including poets, are from outer space. I believe we ought to teach them that they too are writers or poets and that they have something important to express - just like Giovanni, Soto, or Sandra Cisneros,' he said.
Poems by Georgians from Albany, Columbus, Dalton, Leesburg, Hamilton, Hiawasee, and Tyrone are among those in the collection. Two Harris County students, Charity Koon and Devan Satterwhite (now high school seniors), were contributors. The fact that their teachers at Carver Middle School, Melanie Reiney and Denise Crawford, are former students of Brewbaker may have sparked their interest in having Harris County students submit poems for consideration.
'Graveyard on Whitesville Road,' one of Brewbaker's own poems, is also in the volume. It describes what happened during construction for Bradley Park Square and Carmike's Ritz Theaters. 'Somehow,' he said, 'this old graveyard caught my eye. Everything was being torn to pieces by earth movers - real monster machines - and I found myself thinking about the people who'd lived in that space, raised their kids, died, and then were buried. The whole business made me sad and still does, in fact. Sometimes I wonder about progress,' he added.
Brewbaker's co-editor is Dawnelle Hyland, a sixth-grade teacher from Durham, NC. 'Dawnelle and I were a good team. She works with kids, while I work with teachers. She's in her twenties, and I've been at CSU since before she was born. We more or less balanced each other's points of view and tastes,' he said.
For further information, contact Jim Brewbaker at (706) 565-3682 or e-mail: brewbaker_james@ColumbusState.edu.