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Dalsimer, K. (2000). Coming of Age. Changing Ideas In A Changing World: The Revolution in Psychoanalysis. Essays in Honour of Arnold Cooper, 129-135.

Dalsimer, K. (2000). Coming of Age. Changing Ideas In A Changing World: The Revolution in Psychoanalysis. Essays in Honour of Arnold Cooper, 129-135

Coming of Age Book Information Previous Up Next

Katherine Dalsimer, Ph.D.

The theme of this volume honouring Arnold Cooper brought to mind a remarkable article by the poet Kenneth Koch (1971). It was about teaching children to write poetry. The poet described his experience in a public school in New York City, working with children from first to sixth grades. To begin, he found that it was important to remove obstacles like rhyme and metre, which impede the free flow of feelings and associations. And in an atmosphere that encouraged the young writers to take chances, Koch gave them wonderful subjects to write about: write about your wishes, he told them, write poems that are lies, write about your dreams. But the poems that most delighted me - and that have remained so vivid in my mind all these years - were the poems whose alternate lines began “I used to … / But now …”:

I used to drive trucks, but now I drive racing cars.

I used to be in first grade

But now I'm in second grade.

I used to have an apple dress

But now it doesn't fit me.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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