Education as Political Act! Educator as Political Activist!: An Interactive Experimental Narrative and Manifesto

Education as Political Act! Educator as Political Activist!: An Interactive Experimental Narrative and Manifesto
by Michael Carosone

Literature offers — a language powerful enough to say how it is. It isn’t a hiding place. It’s a finding place.
—Jeanette Winterson
 

In my dream—
the same recurring dream
for months now—
I am with:
Theodore Adorno,
Antonio Gramsci,
Karl Marx,
Edward Said, and
Howard Zinn—
all men, I know,
but I can’t censor a dream for feminism;
women will appear soon—
and Noam Chomsky appears, too,
but the other five won’t let him stay;
they say that he still has too much work to do on Earth,
so I have to talk to him alone back on the planet.
The six of us are not in heaven;
we don’t believe in that crap;
we are either in my apartment,
or in a classroom,
or in a park or a forest,
or in a protest line,
sometimes at a café,
and we are always talking about the political acts
of education, of reading, or writing,
of speaking, of listening, of breathing,
of living every second of every day.
I am teaching them creative writing—
absurd, I know—
and I tell them to : 

~~~~~

Write a postmodern poem in which you advocate for one or all of the following:

1. Education as political act;

2. Educator as political activist;

3. Intellectual as speaker of truth to power;

4. Auschwitz never to happen again;

5. Literature to effect positive change, literature as social justice.

~~~~~

Dear Reader,

            Now, I want you to use those prompts, above, to write your own poems!  Go!

~~~~~

We have questions for postmodern educators:

1. How can education be a political act in a positive way?

2. How can an educator (intellectual) be an activist who effects positive change?

3. How can we be educator-activists when teaching literature?

4. How can we use literature to make sure that the Holocaust never happens again?

5. How can we use literature, literacy, reading, and writing as social justice?
 

Now, I want you to answer those questions! Go!

*** 

Michael Carosone is a writer, educator, and activist. With his partner/husband, Joseph LoGiudice, he wrote and edited the book Our Naked Lives: Essays from Gay Italian-American Men, which is a collection of 15 personal essays on the lives of gay Italian-American men. His poems, essays, and articles have been published in a variety of books, journals, and newspapers. He writes on personal, political, and social issues, including marginalized peoples and literatures, especially the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer community. He is a doctoral research fellow in the Ph.D. program in English at St. John's University. His current research focuses on the transformative, empowering, and political acts of reading and writing LGBTQ literature. He is a native New Yorker from Brooklyn and lives in Manhattan with his partner and dog.