The Pond in Room 318 by Kip Zegers


When we take on real work, in a real city, with a real public, we “school our intelligences,” we are humbled. If we work with young children, part of us stays young. When we work in the larger world, another part of us ages quickly. Teachers are often a little weird. This book offers a sense of life in a certain time and place. Those who work in a school understand. As a book of  essays and poems by a teacher and by his students, it is not a book about how to teach or what is wrong with education. But it raises a challenge. It extends a hand.

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  • Kind: Perfectbound
  • Pages: 116
  • Language: English
  • Date Published: November, 2015
  • ISBN: 978-1-939929-42-6


from Beloit Poetry Journal: “We welcome the opportunity to publish, in this season when teachers are under attack from all quarters, more of your poems about teaching. More than any other poet we know, you have earned the epithet Poet of Schools.” —Lee Sharkey & John Rosenwald

“Thank you for sending your splendid, heartening Reading Whitman in Manhattan. Your poems, the student poems, the prose orientations and sea change accounts—it makes a distinctive, distinguished and glorious constellation—hats off to you and your collaborators.” —Robert Pinsky

“I’m not trying to be polite in saying I found the book enthralling. My own long years of teaching lead me to recognize, and honor, the truthfulness in your book – both in the poems and in the prose. The whole is intensely moving. I’m struck by the absence of posturing, by the austerity in style, and the drive to get things right, in their mysterious, nuanced “there-ness.” —Rosanna Warren

“We have published poetry of Kip Zegers and most recently a North Dakota Quarterly “Sea Changes” essay by him on the American poet George Oppen. Now Mr. Zegers has published a prize winning chapbook of poems The Landmark. Not only are the poems individually good, but also collectively they are a vade mecum for English teachers and would be English teachers. The poems quietly and effectively come from his initiation to teaching young students in a Manhattan high school. Seldom has teaching been so poignantly described…Hamlet, Dickens, Thoreau and Dickinson are here too, but the unnamed young are the stars of these short poems, each a lyric narrative.” —Robert W. Lewis, Editor, NDQ


Calling The Roll

The taut exhausted faces
are 17 years old, and waiting

they clutch coffees, bottled water,
or the weekend. There are gaps
in the circle this morning. There is silence
and the long stare. To be a promise is easier
than to keep the promise in these faces,
still, it is time.

I stand beside my desk
and I recite the names.


Kip ZegersKip Zegers is from Chicago, born 1943, educated in the Catholic schools. Continued his education at John Carroll University, and Northwestern University (MA, 1966). He was a VISTA volunteer living and working in central Harlem from 1966-67, attended Union Theological Seminary (1967-69), and applied for and received Conscientious Objector status in 1969. After completing Alternate Service, he began to write seriously, while earning his living at a wide variety of jobs. In the early 80’s he trained in Secondary Education at Hunter College, and has been teaching at Hunter College H. S., a public high school for gifted students, for 31 years. He has published 6 chapbooks and 3 full length volumes, and The Pond in Room 318 collects his work on the life of schools.

Additional information

Weight 10 oz
Dimensions 9 × 6 × .5 in