A Poetry Class in Spanish or a Spanish Class in Poetry?

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My Spanish teacher, Angeles, asked me about my weekend. I described a preposterous adventure that involved, among other things, a rodeo, a jaripeo. After I described the events and how I didn’t actually attend the rodeo I’d believed I was destined to see, my incredulous teacher asked me to think of a word from the weekend, something I’d heard in Spanish repeatedly. Easy: Jaripeo.

Next, I had to draw and write the definition for jaripeo as well as concoct a synonym and antonym. It seemed to me that the antonym is animal rights. Then I had to write a poem about what would have transpired had I actually attended the jaripeo.

Here goes the draft:

If I had seen the jaripeo

I would have seen all of the townspeople
in their seats to celebrate
a cool, rainless night.
This type of night always starts
the season we know as summer.
If I had seen the jaripeo,
I would have been with my people
eating popcorn
under the stars.


I wrote it in Spanish first…

Si hubiera visto el jaripeo

habria visto a todo el pueblo
en sus asientos para celebrar
una noche fresca, sin lluvia.
Este tipo de noche siempre empieza
la estacion que conocemos como verano.
Si hubiera visto el jaripeo
estaria con mis ciudadanos
comiendo palomitas abajo
de las estrellas.

The next task involved taking letters (from her name, I learned later) and writing down the first word that came to mind. I had a constellation of words: arbol, nada, garaje, elefante, lonja, estrella, sopa. I used each word in a sentence and then had to assemble a poem using modifiers and connectors to make it make sense. Needless to say, I have a ROUGH draft that was fun.

Next, we were on to an activity where we both came up with a new hive of words for me to work with.  What is my least favorite vegetable: green beans. Which fruit has Angeles not tried: dragon fruit. What toy did she want but not have as she was growing up: a doll house. What school supply did I want but never get as a child: Trapper Keeper binder. Etc. the result was surprising. I could collage the pieces together with greater ease. But, of course, I hadn’t drafted the sentences first.

Then came my homework. I was to create another population of words from my own name. I joked that I was no longer as fond of my name as I had been.

An hour and a half and three bold starts, plus homework. What more could I ask for??

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