Monday, February 18, 2008

Poets appear in multiple classrooms via satellite

Former Lake County Poets Laureate James BlueWolf and Carolyn Wing Greenlee were brought via video technology to classes at multiple Konocti sites.

In the Lower Lake Elementary School library on Friday, BlueWolf and Greenlee fielded questions moderated by JoAnn Saccato with the Native American Community Education Center. BlueWolf and Greenlee collaborated on "Speaking for Fire" (Earthen Vessel Productions), an illustrated children's book. The book tells a story in the oral tradition and is meant to be read aloud.

Animal peoples of the earth, frightened by the destructive power of Fire, take their case to the Grandfathers that sit in the clouds at the Four Directions of the World.

The Grandfathers ask if anyone will speak for Fire so that Fire will not be sent away. At first none of the animal nations are willing to speak for Fire but a small pinecone finally explains that when she was burned by Fire, it allowed her seeds to fall upon the earth.

BlueWolf explained that he chose Fire and Pinecone because of their close relationship and because each has multiple qualities. "Fire can be destructive and it can also create," he said, adding that a pinecone seems small but when it releases its seeds it produces big pines.

The story is accompanied by Greenlee's illustrations, tissue and construction paper collages, which have a textural quality that is a good match for the text. "Whenever you illustrate a children's book, you have to make sure that the words and pictures support each other," she said, adding that she chose tissue paper because it has a stark quality that is similar to the way trees look after they have burned.

Video-conferencing technology transmitted the presentation to other elementary school libraries East Lake, Pomo and Burns Valley where students were able to pose questions. Konocti's Director of Technology, Michael Schenck, oversaw video transmissions while Saccato moderated the order in which students asked their questions about the writing and illustration process. A couple of classes at Pomo and Lower Lake created some paper collages; BlueWolf and Greenlee signed several of the collages after the presentation at Lower Lake.

BlueWolf and Greenlee gave a second presentation at Oak Hill Middle School, which was also transmitted to Lower Lake High School students.

Originally published in the Clear Lake Observer American

No comments:

Post a Comment

Robust debate and even unusual opinions are encouraged, but please stay on-topic and be respectful. Comments are subject to review for personal attacks or insults, discriminatory statements, hyperlinks not directly related to the discussion and commercial spam.