My favorite slice of my day . . . lunchtime Poetry Club. Around 30 kids trickled in notebooks and lunches in hand. Some of them hustle to their favorite spots and begin eating. A few timid members look shyly for an opening at a table and slide in. There is a buzz in the room as they greet friends and work their way through their lunches. I give them about ten minutes to settle in and then I offer them something from the poetry world. I will give you a little peek …
Today I was excited to share Laura Purdie Salis‘ recent posts with them. A few weeks ago Laura sent out a request for adjectives to describe rocks. She was getting ready to celebrate her new book, “A Rock Can Be” which came out on March 1. To celebrate, she would be posting a picture of a rock and a description of the rock each day in March. So, during one of our lunch time meetings we came up with about 20 great adjectives for her to use and I sent them off. So far this month she has used four of our words! Joy, joy, joy in our room. They cheered and those who had contributed the words in the posts jumped up yelling, “That’s mine!”
We moved on to another poet’s site, Heidi Mordhorst, who’s blog is called, “My Juicy Little Universe.” She has a special MarCH Poetry CHallenge. Heidi will be writing 20 poems this month using verbs ending in CH. Every day presents a different word ending in CH. Today was smooch which “yuck,” no one wanted to write about. I read a few of her other poems and shared her list of words for the rest of the month. Many of my poets saw words they wanted to try and I promised if they wrote CH poems, I would send them off to Heidi.
Today I read from Irene Latham’s book, Dear Wandering Wildebeest, Poems from the Water Hole. The first one, in the form of an advertisement, was about the Oxpecker. The second poem was called, What Rhino Knows. ” Some of you might like to try writing in the form of an advertisement, ” I offered, “or maybe you might try something like “What _______ Knows.” I also read a pair of poems by Joyce Sidman from her book, Butterfly Eyes. They were each written in the form of a letter, one to the rain and the other addressing the sun. I leave my poets with these thoughts and they begin to open their note books. The noisy lunch buzz quiets.
I wander around stopping when asked to listen or to answer a question. Today many of the students had their own projects to continue. A few asked to borrow chrome books to share their work with me for display at our city library, in April. Some children found inspiration in the poems I offered and others took off with their own ideas. Occasionally someone will ask, ” Can I write about baseball?” or “Can I write about video games?” I explain that during Poetry Club it is always their choice, their time to write what their heart finds on that particular day.
Robbie wrote about music and Eli about a baseball pitCH. Alyssa wrote from the point of view of a new doll and also from an old doll. There were poems about weather, cats, cookies, lost shoes… The 45 minutes races by much too quickly. Before they leave I ask who would like to share something they have written. Sometimes we pass the microphone around and everyone shares a line, but today we heard six poets read. They take my breath away. I am grateful for their energy and for the opportunity to work with this passionate group of young writers.