Posts Tagged ‘persona poem’

Poetry Friday round-up is here today!

Poetry Friday round-up is here today!

photo by Margaret Gibson Simon enhanced on Picmonkey

photo by Margaret Gibson Simon enhanced on Picmonkey

Revisiting Presence, my 2016 One Little Word, makes me think of poetry. Poetry is about presence. We capture a moment, a thought, an image in a single verse and sit with it in the presence of the poem.

This month’s Ditty challenge on Michelle’s blog, Today’s Little Ditty, is a persona poem, suggested by Laura Shovan.

A persona poem makes the poet (then the reader) see the world through the eyes of another person. Today, I am a featured poet on Penny Parker Klostermann’s blog. She has a series “A Great Nephew and a Great Aunt” in which she shares a poem after her nephew’s art. She also invites other poets to participate. I volunteered to write a poem from my nephew’s drum riff.

My nephew Jack, 11 years old, has been playing drums all his life. He owns his own drum set and is taking private lessons. He selected percussion as his instrument for band next year in middle school.

Jack and I, along with my sister Beth, had a Google hangout. I asked Jack to create his own drum riff, and I would write a poem to go with it. When Beth sent me the video, I was inspired to write a poem in Jack’s persona. I am sharing the poem here, but please click over to Penny’s blog to see the video of Jack on the drums.

The beat
starts in my toes,
startles my legs,
My fingers feel the groove
until the tingling,
spine-riveting jolt,
is more than I can stand.
I must
I must
beat the drum!
by Margaret Simon, all rights reserved

Jack's first drum set

Jack’s first drum set

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As we continue to make our way through the alphabet, this week we worked on persona poems in my classroom. I started the lesson by sharing Margaret Atwood’s poem, Siren Song. We discussed the poem and why it is a persona poem. Also called a mask poem, the writer takes on the persona of a famous person, historical figure, or character and writes from that person’s perspective. I gave them some line starters, such as, “My song is…” “My prayer is…” “I am from …” They were allowed to use the computer to find more information. I asked them to include known facts and little known facts.

The students who impress me most are those who take my assignment and run away with it. The poem grows into something much bigger and much more meaningful than I could’ve imagined. Two of my students decided to write about a book character. What I love about each of these examples is the poem stands alone, even if you do not know the book it is from. Two popular books in my class this year have been “The One and Only Ivan” by Katherine Applegate and “Out of my Mind” by Sharon M. Draper. I hope these poems make you want to pick up and read these books if you haven’t already.

For more persona poems, visit our kidblog site.

One and only Ivan

The One and Only Ivan
by Brooklyn

I am an artist,
hairier than most artists you know.
The food I crave is a banana,
I am a gorilla.

I know what you
guys are thinking.
A gorilla is
not capable of
making art,
but I am.
I know what you’re
saying ,
most of the time.

I am from
the forest,
but I live
The Big Top Mall.
It is caged, but
I somewhat
enjoy it here.
I have friends
animal and human.
Yes, this is
and believe me
when I say,
they like me too.

I am not how you think
gorillas are.
I am not mean,
or scary.
I am not trying
to escape and run after you.
I want you to be my friend,
but you can’t hear me
when I say,
my name is Ivan,
what is your name?”
all you hear is a
and a hum,
and a grumble.

My song is
the thumping on my chest,
which you
hear wrong.
It doesn’t mean I’m mad,
I’m only trying to say “Hi”,
but most of you run.

You would never know how
nice I am,
if you always run away.

All I ever wanted,
was to talk and communicate,
without my paintings,
which look like
a black blob,
with a yellow patch,
and a gray bubble,

So here is my prayer,
don’t judge me by my looks,
look at me with
your soul,
not your eye,
and hear my words,
and be my friend.

Out of my Mind

As Melody from Out Of My Mind
by Kaylie

Elvira, Elvira
I wish I could tell you
That it hurts when you tease me
I wish,
for once,
that you would understand
what I go through.

Elvira, Elvira,
Born in Ohio soil
Raised with a disability
I want to be noticed,
But in a good way.

Elvira, Elvira,
You gasp when you see me,
Pushed in my wheelchair
By my mother.
But I’m still human, Claire.

Elvira, Elvira,
I tap out the words,
See me, for who I am.
A smart girl.

Elvira, Elvira,
You don’t know the taste
Of music like I do.
Pleasant, flowing, green, resounding.
The song passes through my fingers.

Elvira, Elvira,
I want to be like you.
They don’t know
How hard it is
To have cerebral palsy.

Elvira, Elvira,
I wish I was appreciated.
Here I am,
Being Melody,
Being myself.
Don’t you hear?

Poetry Friday is hosted this week by Anastasia at Booktalking.

Poetry Friday is hosted this week by Anastasia at Booktalking.

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