Book Recommendation – Mr. Lally

If on a winter’s night a traveler… by Italo Calvino

 This book is probably the one that makes its way into more discussions in all of my classes than any other, and for a whole variety of reasons. First of all, what’s not to like about the famous introduction, where the narrator congratulates you, the reader, on purchasing Italo Calvino’s If on a winter’s night a traveller… and urges you to get comfortable while reading it. This isn’t a preface. It’s the first chapter. Then the real weirdness begins. The next chapter is the first chapter of another novel called “If on a winter’s night a traveler” that someone else wrote, which aims for a climax and then abruptly halts. The following chapter finds you back in the seat of the protagonist, frustrated in finding that the story that you were just reading did not have any conclusion, so you return to the bookshop to exchange your book for a new copy. In the following chapter, the novel restarts itself again. The book is one of the most bizarre structures I’ve ever read, and yet it doesn’t get in the way of enjoying the dual story. And a careful reader will start to realize that he himself is being read by the novel, and that there are some unusual connections between the sections where he is the protagonist, and the ones where the novel keeps restarting itself.

This book is fun, and I promise that you will never run across a book like it for as long as you read.

Collab (BHS Literary Magazine) Updates

Collab has been busy so far this year. So far, they have opened two of their biggest annual writing competitions: One for poetry and one for fiction. Students may enter either contest, and can submit as many times as they wish. Deadlines for the contests are October 7th for poetry, October 22nd for fiction, and submissions can go inside the Submission box outside the Collab room.

They’ve also just finished a renovation of their room, including a paint job, a new banner in the English hall, new wall decorations showing their last eight magazine covers and a new conference table.

Further details on the contests and photographs of their refinished room cab be seen at their site:

MIAA Sports Essay Contest – Through Oct 18

The MIAA has now opened their annual essay competition for all Massachusetts high school athletes. This year’s topic:

“How do the values of educational athletics build your future?”

Submissions can be an essay (500 words max) or a multimedia presentation (3 minute video maximum) and the top two entries in each category will win a cash prize (top prize: $400) and will be invited to Gillette Stadium for a Sportsmanship Summit.

If interested, see the poster in the English hallway, or click on the link below for more information. (Special thanks to Ms. Coppola for providing the poster image)

Or Click HERE to see the poster

Poetry Out Loud 2013 – Dates are Set

Step lively, poets! We have set the dates for the semifinals and finals for our seventh annual Poetry Out Loud competition at Burlington High School.

Our Semifinals will be on February 4th, 2013 and will last all day

Our finals will be on February 13th and will last approximately 90 minutes.

If you are interested in further information on this competition, please see our informational page here:

Poetry Out Loud at BHS

Noteworthy changes:
In response to some student feedback that we received last year, we have noted the nationality for all of the poets on POL (as of June 2012), in order to determine eligibility for the junior and senior classes.
We updated the returning semifinalists and Hall of Fame pages
We have updated the list of in-house banned poems (poems that made the top three last year) to discourage the contest from rolling out the same poems year after year in the finals. For information on this list, see the “House Rules” section.

That’s all for now – Good Luck!

Bob Dylan – Nobel Laureate?

The announcement of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature is coming up in a few short weeks, and according to at least one online betting site, Bob Dylan has an excellent chance of being the first American to win the prize since Toni Morrison in 1993; This site places him as the second most likely candidate (at 10-to-1 odds), behind Haruki Murakami (7-to-1 favorite).

For a more in-depth look at how a musician might take home one of the greatest international literary awards, click HERE.

Check out my sophomore classes’ Vietnam projects!

Here is the link to my website where I have posted my sophomore students’ Vietnam projects!  In groups, students were to create a poster and an audio-visual piece on the Vietnam war.  Groups were to focus on the period before the war, during the war, or after the war.  The posters are hanging in my classroom, but the audio-vidual pieces are included here!  This was a pre-reading research assignment for our reading of Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried.  

If you’re interested, learn away and enjoy!

Corrected Link for Collab Poetry Contest

Our post earlier this week linking to the Collab page for information on their current poetry contest had a dead link. The correct link is


Top prize is a $25 gift card to True North in Burlington and publication in the 2013 magazine.

Submit your poems to Mr. Lally in room 200, or to the submissions box outside the Collab room (in the middle of the English hall) by OCTOBER 7th.