Resources for Readers & Educators
Please submit discussion questions for book clubs or reading circles, lesson plans, teaching assignments or writing prompts via
the Contact page.
We will post submitted reading and teaching suggestions here.
To support educational outreach, we are developing Reader and Educator guides to encourage readers and students to share their own cultural and family histories.
The themes of oppression, disenfranchisement and injustice presented in A Wounded Deer Leaps Highest are tragically present in our current society. We hope the book will encourage reflection and discussion of how our histories of civil rights are acutely relevant to the profound challenges to humanity and morality we all face today.
Additional discussion questions, writing prompts and resources are available on the Reflect webpage
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Commentary by Helen Vendler
Essay by Edgar Allan Poe
In getting my books, I have been always solicitous of an ample margin; this not so much through any love of the thing in itself, however agreeable, as for the facility it affords me of pencilling suggested thoughts, agreements and differences of opinion, or brief critical comments in general ... In the marginalia, too, we talk only to ourselves; we therefore talk freshly--boldly--originally--with abandonnement--without conceit ...
Essay by Madeleine Fuchs Holzer
Workshops for Creative Thinkers
Writing Workshops in beautiful places near and far, designed to take readers, writers and educators on creative journeys
Essay by Elif Shafak
The novel matters because it connects us with the experiences of people we have never met, times we have never seen, places we have never visited. The novel matters not only because of the stories it brings alive, but also the silences it dares to explore. As novelists we keep our ears pricked all the time, attentive to the rhythm of the language, the usage of words, the stories and legends swirling in the air – but we must also listen carefully to the silences. Here we find the things that cannot be openly talked about in a society; the political, cultural, sexual taboos.
Essay by Tanaya Winder
I begin by acknowledging where I come from. I do this to ground myself but also to respect my ancestors; I believe we carry them, their light, and their love wherever we go.
... Poetry helps us wade through ancestral traumas carried in our blood memory. Poetry reminds us to breathe, that we are magic, and that we are love(d).
Essay by Camille Rankine
When it comes to the act of speaking from another's voice or perspective, there is, of course, a poetic tradition to which we can look: the persona poem. But rather than consider the use of persona purely on the level of craft, seeing it as simply another tool in a writer's toolbox, I think it's crucial to consider the ethical implications that lie within the choice to infiltrate another's voice. If you're a poet writing in persona, what is your relationship to the voice you've chosen? How near or far are you from its experience? If you get it wrong, whom will you have to answer to, and how much do they mean to you? Do you have more power than the speaker of the poem, or do they have power over you? Do they have the opportunity to speak for themselves—and what does it mean for you, specifically, to speak for them?
Writing Prompt by Kate Wisel
Recalling memories and taking notes is a practice I prioritize over any writing activity. I don't know what might interest me until I see it reflected in the physical world. This includes objects, nature, overheard dialogue, and sounds that I encounter in my everyday life. I keep a stack of note cards with context on the front and the visceral memory of what moved me on the back.... these note cards reveal patterns I would have missed had I not been careful enough to collect them, allow them their accumulative effect, and speak in that connective language I crave.... what stays, these small shards of cut up life, are beyond resonant and ready to react.
Essay by Brian Barker
[Norman Dubie's] poems, like this one, often spin concise narratives that move with cinematic exactness. He has an uncanny knack for precise details and figurative language that surprise in the moment and linger long after the poem is over.... Dubie's poems can also be reticent, refusing to explain narrative details or imagery.... the poem [Ars Poetica] remains dream-like and mysterious to me, raising questions that I've never been able to fully answer.... "Ars Poetica" reminds us that poetry is as much about what is not said as what is said. Silence, like language, is an essential part of the poem.
Essay by Cynthia Dewi Oka
As a form, it hinges on the tension between repetition and transformation, between closure and inclusiveness. It mirrors the way one might go about breaking a wall or learning to love.... Deftly balancing the specific and the immense; [Aracelis] Girmay patiently catalogues the repetitive, granular gestures that make up ordinary human life ... the speaker uses litany to clarify and cement her personal connection to the experiences of Iraqis under US occupation ...