Call and response

“As a student, I hated writing response papers,” says Madeleine McLeester, AB’05, AM’08, “and as an instructor I hated grading them.” But she wanted the students in her Integrative Research Seminar—one of three required courses students take during the Calumet Quarter—to reflect on their reading and the field trips. So she hit upon a simple 17-syllable solution.

Although the Calumet program attracts the occasional English or art major, most are environmental studies majors. The haiku assignment “actually works better for people who aren’t creative,” says McLeester. “It forces that reflection loop.” And even if the result is appalling, reading your haiku aloud at the beginning of class, she says, is “only a 30-second embarrassment.—Carrie Golus, AB’91, AM’93



Calumet haiku

What’s in people’s trash

Tells us a lot about them

Non-standard stories

It’s not a return

An imagined past landscape

What do we want now?

Native plants tell us

How well a place is doing

Burn it for science

—Bailey Zweifel, AB’15


On the Field Museum

Jars, clothes, and bottles

And flotsam that built us up

What makes up nature?

Plants from long ago

Preserved in plastic packets

But some mislabeled

Little birds on their backs

As a sign of our respect

Or just for study?

—Hannah Flynn, Class of 2016


(Photography by Lloyd DeGrane)