Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Bells Beyond the lab

It has been three years now since I have been trying to write an anthology centered on the University in which I work, although I am not an academic staff but I am a poet and has authored three books, and contributed to as many anthologies as I can remember. Being in a science university with no creative writing courses does not make it any easier for me; it was extremely difficult to move poetry beyond the laboratory situation in any of the science colleges.

I have spent time in the chemistry laboratory getting familiar with the environment; in the Physic laboratory knowing the properties; the technical and metal work laboratory and I have spoken and interacted with the students and officer personnel on my initiative of bringing creative writings such as poetry and stories into their wads; but the response as always is either slow or not forth coming.
Being a sport enthusiast and a coach gives me some extra time I needed to discuss the idea with some students, these small groups of students who are willing to cooperate with me and with one another can form modules within the science classroom and work together on my ideas.

In the initial stage I wrote some poetry about each student in their respective sports, and showed it to them, the narratives in the poetry was written in such a way as to be descriptive with their personal experience here in the university, trying to instill in each of the students that laboratory implements such as thermometers. I believe that technical language can be rhymed and also can be made into personal stories each semester.

As the basketball coach I have also tried the initiative of assigning students in the same college to play against each other in the sport court. I assign questions or group study projects to them to use in the laboratory areas to research in the web and also give out some initiatives to use in bringing the idea to paper. The response I have gotten is okay, but most of these students seem to prefer writing their sporting experience in either poetry or story form than the laboratory centered creativity I sought. yet I could not help but acknowledge their efforts. There is a kind of beauty in what they write on sport; it rhymes with the idea I sought for the lab, take a look at this poem for example written by Salem Adejumo.

My name is Saleem
And I’m dribbling my way through the court
...five seconds and I position myself
And assume the winning stance
And as always I make the throw
And the ball hovers through the air,
Spiraling and swirling,
Then it hits the rim,
And goes round and round
Like Michael Jackson dancing
Until it finally sinks into the hoop.
Yes! My team wins
And there is a standing ovation
The crowd is cheering and chanting
My name was the whistle
"Lord of the rim!”, “Lord of the rim!"
Saleem, Saleem, Saleem.

Many students like Salem, with special talents in writing, spelling, calculator and computer literacy, Mathematics, logical thinking, and organization if supported will share their expertise with other members of their team/lab colleagues in the process and from there... who knows if there will be a limit to what their writing will achieve for themselves and the university from which they write.

I have spoken with small groups of science students who are graduating next year, trying to stir up their interest in my initiative. I have invited them to the e-library so that together we can research topics of interest in the school library, on their computer, and on the Internet whose access is free in our University.

Many of them have presented their works, though it is not yet in the quality to get out right publication, but there is an observed growth in the number of participants and the language used. Here is a poem by a student in natural science department.

I studied the ocean to its very depth
Observing by routine of learning and recording,
Inquiring and investigating till I reach knowing
Swelling and bulging to bear in the tide
Until I am the ocean, leaping and wide

I have showed this poetry with the permission of the students to teams of other students in other colleges, and have also encouragement others to personally try and make up science unit to create their own poetry. To the students who have attempted to create something out of the lab, this idea is animated as well as productive, and controlled from within their own talent.

The staffs are not left out, there is an observed enthusiasm by their attempt to bring poetry into their lab, below is an attempt by Mr Baba Joshua Olajiire in the Department of Chemical Science, by using the letter “P” as a starting point

Protect the environment
Protect its components
Plant, animal, micro and macro
Protect them
Producers, consumers, decomposers
Protect them; avoid extinction
Profile the forest
Precious are they
Population must be saved
Protect the environment
Protect the environment

Population of lives
Pond Ocean and sea
Planktons, phytoplankton’s, papyrus, fish
Prawns, reptiles, all animals

Protect them, sustain biodiversity
Poachers, be alarmed, be aware, be informed
Prey not on them indiscriminately
Pachyderm, strong and thick skinned
Parakeet, small bird, ostrich
Palm, pins, peas and parsnips
Protect the environment, living and non-living
Protect it, maintain it attributes
Population must be saved
Protect the environment
Protect the environment

Another staff in the College of Food science Mrs., E.O.Oluwatumisile wrote…


Let’s talk about fruits
Apart from the sweetness and beauty
Apart from its appeal and cleanness
Let talk about the wonder of God
For our health and longevity
Through the healing power of fruits

Lets talk abut the richness of carrot
Or the calories in each mango
How about the natural sager in a banana
Let talk about the wonder of God
For our health and longevity
Through the healing power of fruits

I like to see the color so clean
I like to see each so bright
Manifesting the beauty and spotlessness
Of these fruits into my appearance

This initiative of having all this collection into an anthology can prove to us that cooperative education is really working in a science classroom

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