Tuesday, May 25, 2010

MyPoWriYe #55 - Bonfire (two versions)


Yesterday, I again had the opportunity to work with fifth and sixth graders at Caledonia-Mumford Central Schools.  Together with teachers Katrina Hatch, Courtney Monahan, Kyle Leonard, and Deborah Bussewitz, we are studying and writing poetry about the local area as a part of a larger project, Buy Local Build a Future where each project hosts its own blog.  Soon, poems by these students will be bound into books and read along with music from Kyle's student ukulele players.  

As part of our book-making project, students will colorize photographs of the area and are also welcome to draw or paint scenes from their hometown to go along with the poems.  We will share copies of these anthologies with the school libraries, public library, local museums, and maybe even a town diner.  Spending this morning in the Big Springs Museum, I found part of myself wishing to be from Caledonia-Mumford too!


Somehow today, these students and I began talking about building bonfires.  At our home, Henry is in charge of this cookout-chore, and when I said so, one fifth grade boy said, "Sometimes I get to light the match."  I could not stop thinking about his words today, for with great responsibility comes new learning.  I believe that such rites of passage may be more valuable than we know.


Here is a second version of the same poem.  The first is the original, but this morning I got to playing with line breaks to see how it might work as a concrete poem.  I'd be interested in hearing which one you like better.  Sometimes concrete poems feel forced to me, and I'm not sure yet which of these I prefer.


This week, Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect offers us the challenge of math poems.  My poem is in the comments...about four leaf clovers.  Feel free to post your own math poem over on this week's "Monday Poetry Stretch".

Thank you, Garrison Keillor at The Writer's Almanac, for informing us that today is the birthday of poets Ralph Waldo Emerson and Theodore Roethke.  Let their spirits guide us all...

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