Poetry Days


Back in September, when I spoke with a local principal about teaching poetry to the students, we agreed to try it for a month and then decide whether to continue. Then at the end of that month, we agreed to go to the winter holidays and then decide whether to keep going. So this week one of the teachers asked her 3rd graders to write what they liked about Poetry Days–Do you like it?–If so, why? How long should we keep doing Poetry Days?

These are some of my favorite lines from their letters asking to please continue with Poetry Days. Forever, they said. Forever.

My heart is full.



What I like about Poetry Days is—


I can think of a place I want to be.

Writing about wishes & secrets.

It can be funny, silly, fun, fanassy, cerious.

I can stop thinking about school.

We talk about sounds a lot & I like sounds.

When she makes us think silly.

It’s much better than TV.

When we make it up or the truth.

Making a chatbook.

Writing about the ocean, beach & camping.

She says to make believe, make it up!

Luke is pretty funny & rilly rilly cool.

I can expreece my feelings.

I can think of peace full places.

I can be silly & it won’t matter.

I can see one of the sweetest dogs in the world.

Writing about what happens in my dreams, even bad dreams.

When we got to imagine being in a forest.

It is very fun when she reads poetry to us from other kids.

Getting to take out your amoshens.

I can lie and no one gets mad, because it’s funny & everyone laughs together.

I like seeing the dog & petting Luke, & I like righting!!!

When she & Luke comes and does poetry with us it’s like living at home.

When you get to umagun, because you can do anything when you umagun it.

She tells us to think about the woods at night with no one there & what do you smell

& taste & hear!

I get to see Luke.

I write what I feel.

I get to rime words.

Poetry makes me happy so much.




About deniselanier

I am an educator & advocate, poet & performer, speaker & storyteller who believes in the power of narrative to transform & transport, create & connect. I was the shy, awkward girl who didn’t fit in, was often bullied, happiest with my nose in books, whose best friend was my dog. After being cast in a play in my teens I discovered a way to be comfortable in my own skin, bringing to life the words of a character. Costumed in make-believe I dared to be more of myself than I ever allowed off-stage; I claimed my voice. I spent most of my adult life teaching others to raise their own voices, through acting, creative writing, even slam poetry. When the diagnosis of MS intervened in my 30s I had to let go of acting, which is why most of my storytelling is now expressed through page and less “formal” interactions with stages. I devote much of my time to kids, teaching them to use words & imagination, developing authentic, resilient, remarkable voices. I endeavor to grow in my students the belief, the truth, that we are all artists & the change-makers in our own stories. My best friend still has fur & four legs. My mobility assistance dog is my constant companion, teaching assistant & muse to many. Luke is also chief partner in crime; I’m getting a reputation for stealing things. As inventor of a poetic form called klepto-collaborative, I pickpocket words & phrases from others, reshuffling & reshaping the puzzle-pieces into a colorful, storied mosaic of diverse voices. Taking something from every speaker at a conference in real-time, I craft a collective poem that highlights the messages of the day, repurposing ideas & refashioning stories, weaving them together in a manner that never loses the originality & spirit of the speakers’ themes. So while I may be a word thief, I figure being eco-conscious makes up for it. I’m available to facilitate wordy goodness in your community, school, workplace or play space. I like to think I have way of transforming annual meetings into something interactive, cooperative & memorable. Through my klepto-collaborative poems I aim to delight, to ignite conversation, and maybe even incite innovation. I earned an MFA from Florida International University, where I edited Gulf Stream Literary Magazine. I’m the founder of WordPlay, a poetry-in-the-schools project inspired by Dave Eggers. My poetry has appeared in Bloomsbury Review, Cake, Luna, Best American Poetry blog (a collaborative poem with the phenomenal Denise Duhamel), Wicked Good Life, and various anthologies. My non-fiction has appeared in the Miami Herald and my fiction has been nominated for Best New American Voices. www.deniselanier.wordpress.com & www.wonkybent.wordpress.com

3 responses »

  1. Pingback: Dream Kleptomaniac « Wonky Woman on a Bent Trike

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