Friday, February 03, 2006

Quoting Everybody

Working on my application, which requires the creation of a cohesive 4-day creative writing curriculum, in my case, for 4th-6th graders, since I've selected them as my target audience. But what should the point of the lesson be? I'm looking back over the respondents to Here Comes Everybody's question 7: "How would you explain what poem is to my 7-year-old?". That audience is a little young, but many of the answers are insightful and applicable to my quest: Some of the answers (excerpted):

Ed Foster: "When my son was that age or slightly older I had him write poems. I suppose that writing them is the best way for a child to understand what they are."

Josh Corey: "It’s like that game where you repeat a word until it makes no sense. Do that with four or five words in a row. Now make a sentence out of them. Repeat until it’s a poem. "

Christine Hume: I’d read your seven year old some poetry and let the child explain what it is to me."

Connie Deanovich: "I would say words have secrets and special powers. I would smile and wait for the child to smile back or to smirk. Then I’d say it is a poet’s job to discover these secrets and powers. I’d say a poet is like a honeybee except instead of going from flower to flower the poet goes from word to word to get what she needs. The bee makes honey and the poet makes poems."

And finally,

Donald Revell: "A poem is something made of words that you enjoy."

If I can get that one across, maybe they won't hate the things when they get to high school.

As an aside, I think many poets' answers to this question are needlessly complicated. While I don't believe in dumbing things down for children, I think it's necessary to put explanations in the context of an experience set they can understand and are willing to take in. I don't think everyone understands that.

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