I have no shame in admitting that I am not a big poetry fan. Sure, I filled journals with teen angst-filled poems about boys and friends and loneliness when I was younger, but I have never considered myself a poet. Sure, I get a kick out of Shel Silverstein and "Sarah Cynthia Silvia Stout", but I do not consider myself a strong poetry teacher. But listening to Heard and Shihab Nye inspired me to find my poetic side.
In Heard's speech, she discussed finding hidden poetry in our lives. She began by asking the audience to make a list of places where we might find hidden poetry:
- my workouts
- my classroom
- my students
- my pets
Heard then asked us to take one of our ideas and make a poem out of it. The assignment was not about writing at the level of a professional poet but of expressing ourselves through poetry. If I cannot write my own and be comfortable with whatever I can produce, how can I expect my students to do so?
Both Heard and Shihab Nye suggested carrying around a small notebook in which to track observations about the world. After leaving the forum, I headed straight to Walmart to buy myself a little notebook and some cute new pens (may as well indulge).
Being in a poetry mindset, I found myself aware and taking notice of the world around me - at Walmart. And there is so much to observe and write about at Walmart!
From this list, I heeded Shihab Nye's advice. I chose some of the items on my list and created a new poem.
From here, I am already planning ahead in my brain, determining how to use this in my class this year and next year (I am always thinking ahead). I am not worried about my talent - or lack thereof. I want to be able to go through the process in order to be a better teacher. Maybe I can ignite a passion in a student and end up watching them become the keynote speaker at a future conference.