I've been reporting on my experience teaching Project Challenge, my university's Saturday morning program for high school students. We live in a rural area & high school students don't get the same opportunities for "enrichment" they might get if they lived downstate. "Enrichment" is, I suppose, the approved educator's word for cultural capital. On the basis of this brief experience teaching them, I'd say that the main problem facing our smartest students -- like the ones in my creative writing class -- is the lack of opportunities to increase their cultural capital. Coming from a similar background, I feel immense sympathy for these children. Last week, I had them work on blues & ballad stanzas. Some of them proved remarkably fluent with the blues; the ballad stanza is a tougher nut to crack, but I wanted to offer it to them since so many are drawn to song & rhyme. This morning, stealing again from Kenneth Koch's Wishes, Lies and Dreams, I had them write a group sestina, then work on solo villanelles. The theme for the day was pattern. Seems to me that virtually all the arts engage with pattern in some way & that as young artists my students need to see the power of taking inchoate material & giving it shape. Even if they never write another poem after leaving this class, these students will have a sense of one of the fundamental relationships in all the arts -- the tension between expression & form. That tension is certainly at the center of my own practice as an artist. At the most fundamental level, my work has been a way to externalize anxiety & give it a coherent shape that can then be edited & transformed. Call me a confessional poet if you like, but aren't we all working with our subjectivity? Implicit in my view of what I do is the public nature of the poem. The process of externalizing involves the making of a work that can be perceived & understood & that itself is not merely the product of a process. Not the result of playing out an algorithm, or not just that by itself. The subjective is given a public readability & tentative objectivity through the application of pattern.