Thursday, June 15, 2006

Poetry Thursday in Action

Today I was responsible for 19 4th graders writing original poems.

And yes, it happened on a thursday.

My younger son is finishing up in the 4th grade at our local elementary school. His wonderful teacher allowed me to steal the spotlight on the classroom for nearly 2 hours today to run a workshop ending with a reading.

The budding poets worked through "The Magic Box" lesson I discovered on this wonderful website called Poetry Class.

I am hoping to be able to put together a mini website to showcase all the poems.

Stay tuned.

My example poem:

The Adventure Box
(after “The Magic Box,” by Kit Wright)

I will put in my box

the night winds that blow over Denali’s peak,
light, captured when the first star began to shine,
a campfire, marshmallows and a chocolate bar.

I will put in my box

zigzag stripes stolen from a tiger’s tail.
Strips of dried reindeer, a tub of walrus blubber,
an oil lantern and a shiny black rock.

I will put inside my box

a November blizzard and a snow day,
geese honking and one red maple leaf,
a book of maps with a crackerjack compass.

My box is a tent sewn from dried deer hides,
a teepee held up by antlers and elephant tusks
with a hole for the moon to breathe through.

At night, I snuggle into my box. Burrow
beneath a blanket woven from wild alpaca.
Before the sun rises over the summit,
I will fold my fear into a backpack and climb.

ljcohen, 2006


  1. as i sit here in my favorite coffee shop and read this, your workshop with 4th graders and then your words...something touches me so that little tears jump behind my eyeballs. i love this image of what you would put inside your box...and thinking about what the box would be made of. yes. thank you for this.

  2. I was reading this, resting my head on a bent arm and I finished and said aloud (New Zealand accent) 'Man, I love this!'

    And I do.

    You caught me with Denali, and made me smile with 'then I climb'.

  3. Liz and Wandering woman--thank you for your lovely comments. When I ran the group of 4th graders through this exercise, I had no idea where it would take me. The poems the children wrote were completely magical--I'll see if I can get their family's permissions to post some of them.

    Thanks for visiting Once in a Blue Muse!