Before diving into our first week of poetry, we took some time to share our homework for this week – write about something you know nothing about. Students really took off with this assignment and did some amazingly creative things. We noticed how many of them are feeling much bolder and starting to play with words, write from different perspectives, or use humor to draw in the reader. This was our aim from the beginning – to help students become bolder writers – and we are so pleased to see it happening before our eyes.
We focused on writing two types of poetry, “I Remember” and “Fourteener” poems, taken from Jack Collom’s Poetry Everywhere. We asked students to get vivid with their details. For instance, rather than writing a generic statement like, “I remember when I got my first bike,” students wrote specific, poignant details they remembered from a variety of situations. So, this boring sentence would turn into something like, “I remember my first Schwinn with red, white and blue streamers poking out from the black rubber handlebars. I fell off that bike at the end of Oak Drive and got cinders stuck in my knee.” These poems went deep, and students really took some risks that we are so proud of. In the “Fourteener” poems, students were asked to write one sentence – any sentence – and then rewrite it thirteen more times in unique ways. Many of them built cause and effect poems, and others discussed a memory that will stay with them always. Check out the student work from this week below!
Black Sock (Writing from a unique perspective)
Hi. I am the little black sock that you never miss. Do you remember me, or am I just a thing that you own and could care less about? I miss you. When you do your clothes again or your sheets or just when you wash something next, please pick me up and put me in your sock door. I get really lonely sitting at the back of the dryer wondering every day if you are going to pick me up.
Three Weeks Later
This is really starting to piss me off. You have done laundry three times now and you have never once picked me out. I think that you have been ignoring me on purpose. I have screamed and yelled at you every time you have opened the dryer door and what have you done? You have just stood there with a look of almost suppressed stupidity on your face when your eyes have roved over me. I think you must be blind. There I said it. My true opinion of you is that you must be blind or a complete imbecile. That is what I think of you, the one who put me on your smelly feet against my wooly will.
Sorry I must not get emotional here. Sniff, sniff. Oh dear, I think I am drowning.
Alien (Writing from a unique perspective)
The bright light subsided and I was staring up at a stark, white ceiling. These things were standing over me. They looked like slugs but big, pink, and without slime or a shell. They stood over me like vultures eying a fresh corpse. Instruments of metal gleamed evilly in their hands as they bent down. I tried to scream and run away but my hands were strapped to the table I was on. The old, cracked leather straps cut into me as I struggled and writhed in pure and utter panic. The heathens that stood above me grabbed my shoulders and pushed me down. One of them lifted a mask to my face and as I breathed in, a noxious gas filled my lungs and I fell asleep. The next time I awoke it was dark and I was on my home planet. I realized what had most likely happened and I stared out across space to the planet I had visited. The blue and green dot on the horizon was small but crystal clear in the red horizon of Mars. Earth, that is where I had gone.
The brown lump on Carly’s bed made her scream.
The brown mouse asleep on Carly’s bed woke to a high-pitched scream.
The scream of Carly scared a little mouse and made the mouse poop on her pillow.
The brown mouse made Carly scream then faint.
The sound of Carly’s scream made her mom come running into the room.
Seeing her daughter lying on the floor made her panic and call the ambulance.
Calling the ambulance made the hospital get even busier.
Making the hospital busier made peoples’ appointments late.
Making appointments late forced a lady who was in labor to wait longer.
Making the lady who was in labor wait made her mad and in pain.
When the man’s wife got mad it made him feel light-headed.
When the ambulance arrived, Carly’s mom was happy.
When they checked on her, they said she was fine.
The little brown mouse gave an evil chuckle that only he could hear.
The Harsh Times I Remember
I remember when I wasn’t locked up in a crate and sent across the ocean by evil men.
I remember when I was a pup in a huge litter, loved just for the sake of it.
I remember when they came. They came with nets and whips.
I remember when all of the men came. I didn’t know how they got there.
I remember when they chased us into small crates with our tails sticking through our legs.
I remember feeling the clang of the crates stacked upon each other and the click of the lock.
I remember feeling dizzy and hungry on our voyage across the sea.
I remember the collars and chains and the steel tightening around my throat.
I remember harsh voices.
I remember watching dogs bite men and growl.
I remember being marched onto the battlefield.
I remember having less value than men.
I remember being shoved into dangerous places.
I remember a huge blast.
I remember blackness and nothingness.
I remember gentle hands and warmth.
I remember a gentle face and food.
I remember realizing that not all men are cruel.
I remember a good home.
I remember waking up to seeing that my pet fish Sharkie was now just bones.
I remember my mom always wanting to buy bug killer to kill the snails in the garden but me not letting her.
I remember all of the mini swirls I got form Arctic Circle.
I remember that fresh smell in the air of the mornings of summer and the huge snow forts that always caved in before we got the chance to go in them.
I remember the five foot raspberry bush and the two plum trees I would always go pick from.
My cat Mavis eats mice.
My cat Mavis is an 11 pound adult mancoon who eats mice.
My cat Mavis doesn’t like my cat Toby.
Toby caught two chipmunks and took them into my grandparents’ house alive.
Toby runs a catch and release inside the house program.
The program was a big success because Mavis won’t kill and eat the mice until we’ve seen it while it’s alive.
Mavis likes to chase birds.
Mavis is always like, “here’s a new pet bird,” and then releases it after the door closes.
Mavis and Toby love staring because it’s a professional accidental bird trap.
The fireplace has a door so the bird can’t escape but the cats can’t get the bird.
We try to release the bird.
Toby doesn’t like Mavis.
Mavis and Toby don’t fight though.
I like my cat Mavis.
Swedish Fish can speak Russian.
The scrumptious little candies are intelligent.
Candies made with Red 40 are good for you if you are using a Dummies Guide to The Russian Language.
Russians can speak Swedish Fish.
“Ya,” said the little red, fish-shaped, chewy things.
These fish taste good and yell at you when you try and eat them.
My hand dips into the yellow bag and pulls out a handful of fish that writhe and yell things I can’t understand.
If you eat red fish you will be acquainted with all the languages of the world.
Swedish fish can help you with your Russian homework.
If the candies have mouths then they can speak any language.
Swedish fish speak Russian as well as Swedish.
Swedish fish are bilingual.
Swedish fish can translate Russian in your head once you have eaten them.
I wonder if chocolate made in Sweden can speak German.
I remember that small black and white kitten that I had seen seven days after he was born.
I remember holding Mouse, the cat, as I rushed him to the hospital.
I remember flying back home that same evening on the Frontier plane with the duck on the wing filled with panic and dread.
I remember hearing the phone ring twice and then my mom’s voice cutting in.
I remember my mom sitting me down on my blue bed.
I remember the look of sorrow in her eyes.
I remember her saying something and the moment to comprehend it.
I remember crying my eyes out in the shower every night for two weeks so my parents would not hear, but they did as parents always do.
I remember them looking at me and trying to help, but I was acting “grown up” and I did not need their help.
I remember every year after getting over the pain.
I remember getting Ringo and the pain almost went away.
Fourteener #2 by Casey (inspired by Monty Python)
I fart in your general direction.
I pass gas in your area.
I can make you gag.
When I fart you will faint.
The green cloud that comes out of my posterior can cause plague.
I can pop your personal bubble with my noxious fumes.
Your obituary is most likely to read: Cause of death: suffocation.
Here, the exchange of bodily gasses is a major cause of death.
What did you have for dinner last night? Oh, well by the smell of things you had meatloaf.
In France it’s the wine that does it, not the food.
Yesiree, we don’t get a lot of tourism in this part of the swap. Oh fine, it is not the swamp, yes it is the people.
I wonder what would happen if I were to sneeze in your general direction?
I Remember #2
I remember opening my eyes in the dark gray light of dawn.
I remember my mom shaking me and telling me to get dressed.
I remember not quite being fully awake and putting my right shoe on my left foot.
I remember part of the car ride to DIA.
I remember the hills of brown grass blearing into blackness.
I remember my mom shaking me awake for the second time that day.
I remember wondering where we were going because we had no suitcases.
I remember going down to the fountains and waiting.
I remember dozing off.
I remember the cheery sound of my aunt’s voice.
I remember seeing the small black bag she carried in her hand.
I remember that it was bigger that a purse and it had mesh on both sides.
I remember her putting it down on my lap and saying, “Look in.”
I remember staring face to face with the bleary eyed occupant inside.
I remember my mom and aunt talking for ages.
I remember that two hours later my aunt left.
I remember the ride home.
I remember the cat sleeping in my lap the whole way home.
I remember the day I got Ringo.
I remember the happiest day of my life.