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Archive for November 4th, 2014

  Join the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge.

Join the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge.

View of the state capitol from the top floor of the state library.

View of the state capitol from the top floor of the state library.

The weekend was absolutely beautiful for a trip to the capital city of Baton Rouge for the annual Louisiana Book Festival. The sky was clear, the air was cool, and the sun was bright. A great time to celebrate literary works.

I treated myself to a day off and attended a poetry workshop with our state poet laureate, Ava Leavell Haymon. Ava is brilliant and funny and an out-of-the-box thinker. She gave us each a large sheet of drawing paper and had us begin on each edge by writing different sensory words, i.e. sounds, smells, colors. Then we drew a large circle with a gold marker. In this circle, we were asked to free write. She said something about drawing other shapes to put your over-the-shoulder-negative voice into, but I didn’t do this part. After free-writing, we circled concrete words from our writing to use in a poem. Then to complete the task, we folded the large paper so that it made a book. (I found online instructions for the book form here.) After all this, I ended up with this poem.

Rose-colored Glasses

In-box flashes
“Teacher evaluations”
Her plate spills.
All she wants is to be
invited outside
to the trampoline.
–Margaret Simon

Completed poem book

Completed poem book

As crazy as this whole exercise seemed, I like the idea of using a free write to compress ideas into a small poem. I want to try this with my students. I have not done free writing yet this year. I usually have a theme or prompt for writing. I wonder if students will be able to work with the randomness. Or maybe that’s the idea, random writing leads to poetry.

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