poetry Archives - The Jose Vilson


Calvin and Hobbes, On Writing

Recently, Wendy Coakley-Thompson interviewed me for the Washington, DC Publishing Industry Examiner about education, writing, and how my passions intersect:

2. In what ways do both poetry and education writings satisfy your need for creative self-expression?

Poetry satisfies my more creative urges, where I get to play with the more ethereal, the emotional, the wedges where I don’t have to be professional, or, more succinctly, where I can be the me that my friends know. My education writing touches on the professional, but I also get to do things within that sphere that not many do. I get to mix the events that happen in the classroom and juxtapose them with what happened outside of it, and present it to people who don’t normally think about that.

To read more, please go there, comment, like, and share. Thank you.

Jose, who is a writer and a math teacher, without contradiction in those spaces …


Book Giveaway: Break The Habit by Tara Betts

by Jose Vilson on August 9, 2012

in Book Giveaway

Hello and welcome to this installment of The Jose Vilson Book Giveaway, where I’ll do my best to offer the latest and greatest books I can scrounge up … and all for free.

< whooping and hollering here >

This week, I’m offering a very special, exclusive book for any and all contestants who wish to participate. Before I continue, though …

The rules are as follows:

1. Leave a comment at the bottom of this post with the words: “Back in ’94 they call me Chi-town’s Nas, Now them cats know I’m one of Chi-town’s gods.”

2. Hit “Like” in my fan page Jose Vilson.

3. (very important) Leave a comment on my Facebook page.

That’s IT!

The last day to enter your comment is Thursday, August 16th, 2012 at 11:59pm. Three winners will be randomly selected from all the commenters. Multiple entries are not allowed. Once you win, I’ll contact you directly with further details. Please make sure you respond quickly (within 48 hours of my choosing the winner), or you’ll lose the drawing.

The book I’m giving away in this entry is Breaking the Habit, an exclusive limited edition chapbook by Tara Betts. You’ll be glad you read it for sure. Here’s a sample excerpt from a poem from the book:

“how does a circle form, a silence swells,
finds some tongue & groove to latch
inside your mouth when you begin
to speak, tell a story in a softer voice,
lowered eyes levered by hollowing.

how does laughter lift, break whine when
a sting stabs the flattening moment
that lingered fecund, now drained.

what happens when blood disappears
what happens when empty drawers sigh
at closed doors and the clock ticks its curse
and brings you closer to some mortal tangle …”

- from “how does the road open”

That’s as far as I can go, but if you’d like more (and trust me, there’s more), follow the instructions to win your own exclusive copy.

It’s got real talk. She’s one of my favorite poets, so if you do win, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Good luck to all the contestants! Yes sir!

Jose, who’s got at least one more before summer’s end …


Before Writing A Protest Poem [Peace to Gil]

by Jose Vilson on May 31, 2011

in Jose

Gil Scott-Heron

Beautiful Sunday. Driving with my family back to NYC after my brother graduated a couple of weeks back. Before I knew Gil was on his last legs.

[taps pencil on Moleskine repeatedly]

“What to write, what to write …”

[taps knee with pencil, taps front car seat with pencil, bites eraser, gets tired of tapping]

“Ahhh! What the hell!”

[scratches head]

“Monuments shake and graves roll …”

[nods to a beat in his head]

“OK, what next, Vilson?”

“I told them the title of the poem is called ‘This Is Not A Test.’ What does it mean to test right now? I guess I better get all the big words out of the way. La la la, assessment. La la la, research. Doo doo doo, Ravitch, UGHGHGH NOO!!!”

[hard erasures]

“Why am I not at Acentos again? I’d crank this out in no time!”

[puts pencil down, puts iPod earphones in ear, lets it rock for a bit]

“OK, OK, it’s gotta be angry since we ought to be. It’s gotta be inspired. It’s gotta be powerful since I only have a few minutes.”

["Who Will Survive In America" comes on, I set it to repeat]

Us living as we do upside down.
And the new word to have is revolution.
People don’t even want to hear the preacher
spill or spiel because God’s whole card has been thoroughly piqued.
And America is now blood and tears instead of milk and honey.
The youngsters who were programmed to continue
fucking up woke up one night digging
Paul Revere and Nat Turner as the good guys.

[heart beats hard, pencil taps furiously]

“This will do. This … is … not … a … test …”

Jose, who wishes Gil Scott-Heron a proper ascension …


Love In Eights [Draft]

May 30, 2011 Jose

To understand how I got to this point is To ask a man to uproot weeds clinging to the webs of his own feet To see through the fog tints in a boy who Saw original sin as a function of a father’s lies A chemical reaction to the scents from my first crush’s beautiful […]

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Creativity Is Almost Dead … and Non-Educators Want To Kill It

January 18, 2011 Jose
Double Reading Rainbow

After posting a few crosswalk documents between the New York State math standards and The Common Core Standards on this site and at my place of employ, I’ve been very involved in understanding how these mandated national standards will transform our way of teaching students, and how we need to get parents and students involved […]

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Rock Wilk: It’s Like His Heart Broke Wide Open

September 27, 2010 Jose
Rock Wilk

Let me start off by saying that, with many in the poetry community, I’ve gotten a reputation for my honesty and borderline snobbery when it comes to writing. I don’t intend it that way; I just have a certain quality of writing I ask for. Whether it’s morose or uproarious, I ask for few things, […]

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