Many teachers are already familiar with the Poem in list form by George Ella Lyon “Where I come from”. As Mr. Lyon writes, “People have used it at their family gatherings, teachers have used it with children all over the United States, Ecuador and China; they brought it to girls in juvenile detention, to men in life imprisonment and to refugees in a camp in Sudan.
To take the idea of writing poems about place a step further, you can show students how your area has inspired the work of various artists, much like Hartford, Connecticut inspired Wallace Stevens. Then invite them to write poems about a place they remember from their own lives, or give them a common place to consider, like school or the city park. Finally, plan a site-specific celebration, such as a reading or poetry walk around the area, or poems projected on structures, chalked on sidewalks, or otherwise displayed. You can also collaborate with dancers, musicians, and visual artists to perform or showcase their related work at the event.
Or post poems in unexpected places like David Ellis does with his “driftwood haiku”:
A German shepherd tied to a rusty fence, a blackfish stewed in tomato on a grill, a scuba diver emerging from the waters of the Bronx: these are the scenes that inspire the poetry of Mr. Ellis, the self-proclaimed bard of City Island. He composes haiku on seashells and driftwood on the everyday serendipity of the mile-long island, leaving them in the neighborhood for the people, like the woman who reads his poems every morning while walking her dog. . His works, locals say, add an unexpected reflection to their day. Last January, Mr. Ellis self-published a haiku book called “City Island Beach», and he is currently working on a children’s edition, which his [6-year-old] illustrious son.
For example, students can leave poems at your school, perhaps inspired by those metro poets. Have students choose poems they have studied in school or elsewhere (or their own original works), then print them out and stick them on cafeteria tables, bathroom mirrors, or bathroom walls. hallway, or even chalk them out on sidewalks. How do people react? What can you learn from this?
You could show students the Everyday Poems for City Sidewalk project in St. Paul or the Poetry in motion program in the New York City subway to get an idea of the types of poems that work well as public plays.
Writing verses to understand depictions of the living dead