Tween Poets Examine their Lives in Verse at Imagination Academy, Week 3
Following an enthusiastic session spent creating their own graphic novels, our tween writers gathered last week to explore the realm of poetry. Local poets led the nine to twelve year olds in workshops in which they studied many different types of poetry. The kids all enjoyed this special opportunity to express themselves with this unique form of writing.
Dave Johnson began the week by having the kids introduce themselves through acrostic poems. The tweens spelled out their names vertically and assigned to each letter a descriptive word or phrase that reflected their personality. They could then transform these words into a shape poem with the words creating any particular form.
On Wednesday, Jane LeCroy opened the workshop by singing Edward Lear's famous Tale of the the Owl and the Pussy-cat. She also introduced the kids to the delightfully destructive style of cross-out poetry in which pages from discarded books are reworked to "reveal" new poems. And in the style of magnetic poetry, the tweens were also able to create their own poems from a random assortment of loose lines.
Kamilah Moon shared stories of how growing up with an autistic sister influenced her work as a poet. She urged the kids to take a similar personal approach to their own poems, speaking passionately about their families, traditions, and origins. The tweens were also encouraged to write and reflect upon "first time" experiences of particular events as a spark for inspiring new poems.
On Friday, the week devoted to poetry culminated with an open workshop in which the kids further developed the poems that had started earlier and also wrote new ones. Many enjoyed continuing their exploration of the cross-out style. By the end of the day, each tween had a small book of poetry (in progress) to share with others. There were also extra pages which can be used whenever a poetic mood strikes.
The Imagination Academy will start its next session focused upon realistic fiction on July 29th. NYPL children's librarian Betsy Bird as well as authors Rebecca Stead and Nora Baskin will come to share their experiences with the tweens. More wonderful writing will surely be discovered and created during this final week of the Imagination Academy. Stay tuned for the next report wrapping it all up!