NCTE Middle School Mosaic

Thirteen minutes. That’s the time Kylene Beers allotted for poetry during the 2.5 hour event at NCTE in NYC this year. Thirteen and a guillotine was to descend at 14. I can’t explain how much I obsessed about this time limit. I made power point slides for a read along. I deleted them. I added more. Deleted. I celebrated by not sleeping the night before so that I arrived 1.5 hours early with cotton candy for brains.

I downloaded photoshop brushes. Emailed just the right font to moderator and Goddess of YA literature, Teri Lesesne. Let me just stop for a moment and say, in case you were wondering, that this is THE best read person not only in YA lit, but probably in the galaxy. I lurk on her blog occasionally, but too often and it makes me depressed that I don’t read more at traffic lights. I have no idea how she reads as much as she does. Go here to fact check:
Once the mosaic began, I relaxed into listening to Christopher Paul Curtis and Pam Ryan, Jeff Wilhelm and Janet Allen and others. A whole lot of talent was packed into that hotel ballroom, much of it carried into the room in canvas bags on the weary shoulders of teachers. It was a great afternoon and those 2.5 hours flew by. When it came time for my 13 minutes, I jumped up and raced through the whole thing in 10 minutes. Zip zip. And back to enjoying hearing others talk about their passions.
I started on the performance poetry circuit (could this be?) 16 years ago and I know that people assume I am beyond being nervous. But not true. Believe it or not, I get more nervous to deliver a poem for a small audience, say a dinner table of folks, than a ballroom. That I’ve known forever. But now I know that I can get EXTREMELY twisted over 13 minutes, when an hour is a breeze. Who understands these things?

5 responses to “NCTE Middle School Mosaic”

  1. kathy says:

    I think we’re on the same wavelength when it comes to nerves and preparation and achievement angst.

  2. thyme says:

    as Einstein said, time is relative . . . it’s always longer or shorter than ideal.

  3. Einstein also said – a minute with your hand on a stove can seem like an hour – an hour with a pretty girl can seem like a minute – that’s relativity.

  4. It was a whirlwind but excellent 13 minutes. And thanks for the plug!


  5. dconrad3 says:

    The audience was exhausted, but your thirteen minutes amidst what are now memories of those 2.5 hours enliven my reflections of what we all shared there! I can’t say how energized I felt towards the work we do on the behalf of students in situations often beyond our understanding.

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