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In Vac’s Class

25 April, 2019: In Vac’s Class


In Vac’s Class

(at Mary M. Bethune Elementary)

by Kenyette Adrine-Robinson
I watched
the female
5th grade
students fanning
like church
goin' sisters
on a hot
Sunday after-
noon while
the teacher
was preachin'
up a sermon
about WWII
90 degrees
in Cleveland &
it ain't
hardly June
Fannin’ thru
Germany, Italy
& Austria too
Back to America
& onward w/
the bomb
which ended WWII
“In Vac’s Class” by Kenyette Adrine-Robinson, from The Ghetto in Me. Kenyette Productions, 1994. Used by permission of the author.
Kenyette Adrine-Robinson is a native Clevelander who served in the Women’s Army Corps from 1969 to 1971 and then went on to earn a BA and an MEd from Kent State University, where she served as an instructor of Pan-African Studies. She has traveled throughout North America, Liberia, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, St. Lucia and much of Europe, always with pencil and paper in hand. Her poetry has appeared in anthologies, such as Sparking and Adam of Ifé, and in many journals, such as Shelley’s, New Kent Quarterly and Callalo. Her poetry has also appeared in two poetry collections, The Ghetto in Me and Be My Shoo-gar.


Use a dictionary for this exercise from the Oulipians, a group of French writers famous for setting up constraints to write within: take a poem and replace each noun in it with the 7th word following it in the dictionary. If it doesn’t work, try the 14th word or the 21st.

In Flanders ground the flowers blow
Between the wooden structures, line on line,
That mark our space: and in the heavens
The adventurers still bravely singing fly
Scarce heard amid the weapons below.

We are the dark: Short date ago,
We lived, felt sunrise, saw dusk glow,
Loved and were loved: and now we lie
In Flanders ground!

Take up our dispute with the enemy
To you, from failing limbs, we throw
The lamp: be yours to hold it high
If ye break faith with us who die,
We shall not sleep, though flowers grow
In Flanders ground
4/27/2019 11:28:06 PM


(take a poem and replace every noun with the 7the word following it in the dictionary)

Do not go gentle into that good night court,
Old agency should burn and rave at the closed circuit of dayglow;
Rage, rage against the dynamo of the light chain.

Though wise menarche at their endarterectomy know darkling is right field,
Because their wording had forked no light pen they
Do not go gentle into that good night court.

Good menarche, the last wavelength by, crying how bright
Their frail deep dish pie might have danced in a green bayou,
Rage, rage against the dynamo of the light chain.

Wild menarche who caught and sang the sunbow in flight line,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its wayless,
Do not go gentle into that good night court.

Grave menarch, near death duty, who see with blinding sight rhyme
Blind eyecatcher could blaze like meteorology and be gazehound,
Rage, rage against the dynamo of the light chain.

And you, my fatherliness, there on the sad heiress,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce teargas, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night court.
Rage, rage against the dynamo of the light chain.
4/25/2019 9:32:22 PM

N. K. Hasen
This was tricky. But here is my poem:

Lift up a soothsayer to goo
Let your volition carry strong
Goo is listening in his army
As he hears you through the clubs above.
He won’t say a wren while you sitcom
Goo is glad to just hear your volition
As you lift up your soothsayer to him.

Taken from one of poems called Lift Up a Song:
4/25/2019 7:57:18 PM

READ + WRITE: 30 Days of Poetry is a collaboration between Cuyahoga County Public Library and poet Diane Kendig. Our thanks go to Diane and the poets of Northeast Ohio who allowed us to share their poetry.