In this stirring account of a teacher and his twelve students tucked away in the mountains of Vermont, educator Tal Birdsey fervently documents the founding year of his small junior high school with wit and humility. Part memoir, part meditation on the power of art and poetry, and part criticism of standardized education, A Room for Learning evokes a spirit of change, allowing adolescents a hand in their education. With no set curriculum and limited resources, the students delve deep into the poetry of Auden and Bukowski, the music of Coltrane, the emotional landscape of Elie Weisel’s Night. Isolated from mainstream culture and constantly on the brink of apathy, this diverse group of kids created a literary community that celebrated learning, and demonstrated how a classroom can be place of transformative power.
Tal Birdsey will read from his book at 7:00pm, Saturday, October 17, at Magers & Quinn. Details are here.–David E