Playing to a mixed audience

Hi everyone,

I don’t know all of you who visit me here equally well. I’ve tried in the past to figure out how my visitor-ship breaks down among authors, poets, artists, teachers, librarians, administrators, professors, agents, young people, parents, friends, family, and supporters of literature in general and children’s literature in particular. I wish I did know but most days I can only go by raw numbers: X number of visitors clicked on my blog.

What makes me think of this is the humorous poem published on my blog yesterday by poet Bryn Strudwick. Gentleman that he is, he was kind enough to ask in advance if I would be comfortable publishing it. I decided it would be okay because the poem isn’t about prurient sex and because the animal kingdom abounds in stories of reproduction and death. If by chance I have some young reader who spots that poem, my question to myself was whether the reader would be exposed to anything his or her parents might find objectionable. I voted for humor.

But I turn to you for input on this subject. A number of you have, over the years, offered poems seasoned with slang that I’ve asked you to rephrase and you — ever so sweetly — have readily complied. If you are a classroom teacher preparing to throw my daily post onto the wall, I trust that you check it out before you do. BUT, if you happen to be in a hurry and trust the blog to be classroom friendly, would this cross a line?

Thanks for helping me out with this.



16 comments on “Playing to a mixed audience

    • Good morning, Veda, and thank you for your thoughts. I’ll be interested in what others might have to say as well.

  1. I’m a writer/parent myself and I’m not easily offended by much (short of excessive violence, racism, or pornography), so I’m probably not a good gauge of what might be appropriate here. 🙂

  2. I read a lot faster than my students. Even if I forgot to pre-read something before I put it up on my Smartboard, I could take it down fast. Don’t worry about it.

    • And I do count on that moment of safety while some quick screening is going on. Thank you for the reassurance.

  3. I taught older students and they would have loved the poem, David, but I also worked with teachers k-8 & they would always look at a poem to see if it fits whatever goal they’re hoping to meet. I would worry either. Your site is for adults, & then they can share what they love for the students.

  4. Here’s a note I just received via e-mail from Ken Slesarik. He’s out of pocket at the moment so I promised to post it for him.
    Hi David,
    I am a teacher and children’s poet and personally I like to push the envelope a bit in a hopefully tactful way with my writing. I enjoyed the poem and humor. The title was the only thing that jolted me a bit as it spoke of domestic violence. As far as kids I think there is a big maturity jump at 4th grade so I would think in general the majority of 4th grade and up parents would be mostly ok with it and 3rd and below not so much. I also think you can’t please everyone so some would be upset with this no matter what.

    Thanks, Ken! DH

  5. Thanks to everyone who commented on my poem. Your comment, Ken, certainly gave me pause for thought. I can see how the title might cause some concern in some people’s minds. Perhaps an alternative title might be appropriate. Suggestions anyone?

  6. Why is it, David, that people (in general) segregate teachers and professors, poets and authors? Do professors not teach and teachers not profess? Do authors not wax poetic and poets not auth? Just something this former teaching professor ponders from time to time.

  7. Hi David! I loved the spider poem, but as an elementary substitute teacher, I’m not sure I’d share it with students. Pretty sure there would be a mad parent calling the principal on me about this one. A shame – since the poem does a great job of explaining nature.

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