A Sketch and Notes
by Amy LV
Click the arrow to hear me read this poem to you.
Students - Today's poem came from a drawing and a bit of thinking that came from the drawing. Above, you can see a shell that I drew. I was looking through a jewelers loupe, trying to draw as accurately as I could. Then, I took a few notes about what the shell made me think about, what it reminded me of. I asked myself the Questions from Kerry Ruef's book, THE PRIVATE EYE: What does it look like? What else does it remind me of? Why is it like that? Why did it remind me of that?
A few days later, I came back to my sketch and notes and turned my initial interesting thought into the short verse atop this post.
This process: looking, drawing, thinking, writing, is very well articulated in THE PRIVATE EYE by Kerry Ruef. I adore this book, and I am very excited about trying more of the ideas in here. Science, art, and poetry are so tightly linked...and this book has a lot to teach me. Author and founder of THE PRIVATE Kerry Ruef emphasizes,
...the intellectual development that comes when kids (and adults) are nudged to press for 5 - 10 things “it reminds them of”. Repetition of the Questions — and a person’s answers — is what builds fluency and a habit for creative and critical work, poetry and beyond. People who are already highly associative and know instinctively how to put their associations to work don’t need the Questions, per se. But most people need those questions made conscious and succinct. The questions work in concert for arousing associations, for exploring overlapping characteristics in associations, and for creating inferences, solving problems, and making theories out of their associations. The Questions themselves act as magnifier, they cause the mind to keep looking as it makes associations/connections of all kinds. The Questioning sequence is actually the most important part of The Private Eye.
Today, if you're not sure what to write, try starting with drawing. Look at something very closely. Study it. Draw its lines and edges and curves and leave its white spaces. Then take some Private Eye notes. Ask yourself the Questions: What does it look like? What else does it remind me of? Can I think of 5-10 things it reminds me of? Why is it like that? Why did it remind me of that? Use these notes to help you begin a poem or a story or a piece of nonfiction. Your drawing will lead you.
Thank you to Irene Latham, my dear poetry friend who told me all about The Private Eye when she recommended it to me as a way to help children explore the forest with my new book. When you see me soon with FOREST HAS A SONG, I'll likely have a jewelers loupe in my pocket!
Today's Poetry Friday roundup is brought to us by Heidi Mordhorst over at My Juicy Little Universe. It's wonderful to have her back from her time away, and I encourage you to head on over and check out this week's poetry menu.
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