Affirmative English: The Stories We Elevate | Alli Minch | 8 Min Read

March 23, 2023

I’ve been proud of, possibly even smug about, my efforts to diversify my reading, to look for texts from around the world to share—The Fat Years; The Power; A Lesson Before Dying; Kiffe, Kiffe Tomorrow; The Unbearable Lightness of Being; July’s People; Master Harold…and the Boys; A Madman’s Diary; Americanah—and I took care in the book lists I curated for my classes. I still had us slog through The Odyssey and pushed some old chestnuts during novel units (everyone picks two: The Sun Also Rises, A River Runs Through It, Their Eyes Were Watching God, The Great Gatsby.)  I come from schools where families aren’t responsible for purchasing texts, and I told myself financial concerns played a part in my choices. With a limited budget, I wanted to purchase books I’d be happy to revisit again and again.

With all that as context, I read a poem (Danez Smith’s 2014 “not an elegy for Mike Brown”) Friday night which punched me in my fairly smug gut. I read it out loud to my husband Saturday morning and realized that it’s not the beauty of the piece which struck me. As a writing teacher, I might even…

Register Now
You may use your member school or partner discount code !!!

Alli Minch

Alli Minch serves as School Support for OESIS Network and English Department Lead for OESIS Faculty Placement. Previously, she taught AP English Language & Composition, AP English Literature & Composition, and various AP Social Science classes at Oak Hill School (OR), an independent school, for nine years. She has over 28 years of experience in teaching and has held various mid-level positions. She is based in Oregon.