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In Lieu of a ‘Statement of Teaching Philosophy’

by Thom Donovan

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Love to the student who said “illness is a poem”

And love to the student who is sick without a doctor’s note
And love to the student who noticed my hat matched my coffee cup
And love to the student who does not want to write political texts and would rather write about love and nature but feels that she has to write political texts for her people
And love to the student who is sleep deprived
And love to the student giving another student her number
And love to the student announcing a call for submissions to her magazine
And love to the student who lent me his book because it made him cry
And love to the student who doesn’t know what to write her paper about and admits she doesn’t like anything we’ve read for class
And love to the student who confesses they are having a mental breakdown
And love to the student whose grandparents died in a plane crash
And love to the student who writes a poem against gay bashing
And love to the student who is discovering being gay
And love to the student who wonders if the text by a Black author wasn’t written for white folks
And love to the student who doesn’t know what a tercet is
And love to the student who confesses she doesn’t know many of the words I use
And love to the student who is confused by the prompt
And love to the student who writes something completely different from what the prompt asks
And love to the student who repeats what I say in a slightly different way
And love to the student who doesn’t speak
And love to the student who has left the classroom three times
And love to the student who joins the striking workers and refuses to come to class
And love to the student who writes Victorian poetry
And love to the student who writes Symbolist poetry
And love to the student who confesses all that matters to her is love
And love to the student who has a breakthrough just in time
And love to the student who complains about her other professors
And love to the student who calls the poem “Afro-realist”
And love to the student who says she’s happy not to have encountered a straight person in days
And love to the student who is transitioning
And love to the student who has to leave school for mental health issues
And love to the student who has to leave school because her family can’t afford it
And love to the student who has to take a semester off
And love to the student who says my class last semester was “sick”
And love to the student who says my class last semester “sucked”
And love to the student who writes poems about helping others come out of the closet
And love to the student who doesn’t get the reference to being closeted
And love to the student who writes poems like Paul Celan
And love to the student who makes discographies for her poems
And love to the student who deconstructs chivalry in her poems
And love to the student who writes poems as fan fiction
And love to the student who writes poems about her dog







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