SAVY 2019: Session 6, Day 3 – Power of Poetry (Rising 5th/6th)
Happy Wednesday, parents!
Our notebooks are beginning to fill up, which must mean that we’re already over halfway done with our week together!
This morning, students worked on a creative writing exercise with “PoetryCubes” (adapted from the wonderful game, StoryCubes.) In groups, students were given a special “image-dice,” and asked to roll their dice, choose a category on the board (each category included one of the five senses, and a literary technique we’ve discussed thus far as a class, i.e. slant rhyme, similie/metaphor, etc.) and write one line based off their rolled image using these techniques and a sensory detail.
We moved on to our Quote of the Day, by the American screenwriter, comic book writer, + composer Joss Whedon: “All worthy work is open to interpretations the author did not intend.” Students talked in their table-groups about their thoughts on this quote, and we came together as a larger class to reflect on Whedon’s statement. As a class, we discussed how unexpected interpretations by readers can actually inform and allow the writer for more opportunity to grow.
We discussed the Poet’s Eye as a class: What does it mean to have a “poet’s eye”? How might poets move through the world witnessing and observing in more intent or different ways, knowing that they must, at the end of the day, write a poem? We discussed the ways that poetry might create beauty from unexpected or unbeautiful objects/places/things. Students then completed a Ways of Seeing exercise. Students were split into groups of two or three, and each group assigned a Describer. Each Describer was given a New Yorker Magazine cover, and instructed not to share this image with the rest of his/her group. Instead, the Describer, through language, had to describe the image to his/her partner, while their partner drew the image on a piece of paper. The goal of this exercise was to have students see the purpose of offering specific language and detail into their own writing, in order to paint more vivid portraits in the reader’s head. We also discussed, as a class, the difficulties of describing a work of art specifically, and the multiplicity of interpretations inspired by it.
The activity helped us consider how different readers might arrive at various understandings of a poem based on their perspective. We trekked to the computer lab to type up some of the poems we’ve already created, in preparation for our end-of-the-week anthology. Our poets have already written some incredible pieces!
After lunch, we drew out the floor plans for our house, remembering objects, smells, and memories that we associate with those spaces. We used our floor plans to inspire poems that we read out to our groups, generating even more juicy verbs and vibrant adjectives to put in our list. We read the poem “The One About the Robbers,” by Zachary Schomburg. Students discussed strategies of lineation – why an author might employ line breaks (to generate emphasis and control pace and tone of a poem), or why an author might choose to write a “prose poem” – without line breaks.
We learned about Ekphrasis: vivid descriptions of scenes, more commonly works of art. Students viewed Bruegel’s “Landscape with the Fall of Icarus” (1555) and were instructed to use their Poet’s Eyes to create notes or a poem based off of what they saw. Then, students were given brief context for the story unfolding within the painting. We then readWilliam Carlos William’s poem after this painting, “Landscape With The Fall of Icarus” and talked about how poetry might help expand or deepen our understandings of a work of art. Tomorrow, we will take a field trip to the Vanderbilt Fine Arts Center and write our own ekphrastic pieces based on the gallery exhibits there.
Students read an excerpt from Pablo Neruda’s poem “Ode to an Onion,” and learned about the genre of the ode. We then wrote odes to objects we loved or detested. Students had a lot of creative responses to this exercise! Odes to spiders, an “ode to my bed,” ode to mushrooms, ode to sisters…Ask your student about their ode; we were excited about this writing exercise.
Lastly, we closed the day by discussing “found poetry,” and read The Guitar by Lorca, paying attention to the metaphors used throughout the piece. Students drafted their own “blackout” poems, inspired by Lorca’s text.
To engage your students tonight, I would consider asking them about the intersections of different medias of artwork with poetry. Are visual art, music, literature, and other art forms completely separate from each other? How might we combine visual art and literature? Music and cooking? Fashion and sculpture?
Thanks for another great day! Looking forward to tomorrow.