Community Part 1 #PoetryFriday

During the month of July, my Teach Write “Playing with Poetry” workshop participants and I gathered virtually on Wednesday afternoons. We chatted, laughed, shared hopes and dreams for the school year ahead, shed a few tears, and built a lovely little community. Oh, and we read and wrote poetry, too! As personal and solitary as poetry can feel at times, it can also bring individuals together joyfully. Truth be told, we lingered an extra week, because we didn’t want it to end. One participant even suggested we get together from time to time for a mini reunion of sorts. That’s community to me.

To end our official time together, participant Heather Morris suggested we share a few thoughts on what poetry means to us for a community poem. Not a week went by when Kwame Alexander’s community poem collaboration with NPR didn’t come up in our conversation. (Google “NPR Community Poem” if you are unfamiliar with this wonderful, inspiring partnership.) What a wonderful way to celebrate!

Just like a potluck supper when every dish serendipitously goes with its neighbor on the table, the lines we contributed fell into place with a bit of community poetry midwifery. Several rose to the top, beckoning to serve as an introduction, while others found their way to the end, serving as our delicious dessert. It’s still a work in progress, as we await another dish or two.

Poetry Is (draft)

Is it possible for poetry to be memory and discovery?
Come reader, I’ll take you to the sunspots that my mind is afraid of.
We’ll arrive at surprise itself and the journey will be worth it.

Poetry is a particular pleasure,
a welcome word,
a heart sigh.

Poetry is a link to the past, a promise for the future,
a moment shared or stolen,
for those who pause to listen, to hear.

Poetry is a doorway
a path, a conduit
to reading and writing

Poetry is the releasing
of emotions, thoughts, hopes, and dreams
into the world.

Poetry is playing with words,
our best friends,
in the sandbox.

Poetry is an unexpected delight,
like the first chocolatey bite
of an icy fudgsicle.

Many thanks to teacher poets Beverly, Cherylann, Heather, Jonathan, Juliette, Kathy, and Marilyn for playing in the poetry sandbox with me this summer.

AN INVITATION!

And now, dear Poetry Friday community, I’d like to invite you to contribute your own poetic salad, side dish, or dessert to extend our Poetry Is community poem. I am hosting the roundup next week and would love to see what poetry means to you. If you wish to participate, please send your line or lines to me at wymanc@weston.org putting Community Poem in the subject field. By Wednesday would be terrific. All are welcome!

Many thanks to this week’s hostess, Mary Lee. You can find her roundup on her blog, A(nother) Year of Reading. I hope you will join us for reading, writing, commenting, and celebrating Poetry Friday!

16 thoughts on “Community Part 1 #PoetryFriday

  1. Yes to community poems. A place for all voices, all ideas, all contributors….I love thinking of revision as midwifery…coaxing, nurturing, soothing. I would love to send you some lines. Hopefully it will get done. I so envy all those who are making poem-writing, sharing, learning, creating such a wonderfully strong part of their active, busy lives. I love to soak in your experiences and shares. It nourishes for sure!!!! Thank you! Such a wonderful community this poetry group and years ago, say 2004, I did not know about the Kidlitosphere or the bloggers. It was a chance meeting with Heidi Mordhorst at an NCTE where I met Amy LV, Laura Salas, Rebecca Kai Dotlitch, Janet Wong and Sylvia Vardell among other obviously well-versed (excuse this pun!) poets. Sadly it was already my last year of teaching….but it is glorious to watch how things have just grown and grown. It is the happiest part of the “interwebs” for me!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Christie,
    Thank you for sharing the beautiful community poem you all wrote together. The community you built sounds delightful. That does sound like community. The Poetry is… poem is inspiring and uplifting. I love the line about playing with words in the sandbox, our best friends! Indeed.

    I will look forward to participate in this week’s community poem. Thank you for bringing it to Poetry Friday.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. There are so many fabulous lines and images in your “Poetry Is…” poem. I actually tried not to read too closely as I consider what I will contribute for next week! I’ll come back!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love Kwame’s NPR crowdsourced poems! Last summer I offered a similar prompt to the PF community. I can’t wait to see what yours looks like, how they may communicate with each other. https://reflectionsontheteche.com/2020/07/31/poetry-friday-what-is-poetry-crowdsourced-poem/
    I have participated in the Poetry Foundation’s Teachers Poetry Institute last summer and this one and their essential question has been “What is poetry?” It is an essential question that we can ponder again and again.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Love reading about your group & the poem “together”, Christie! I especially love “Poetry is a doorway” – you’ve opened the door to more!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The eternal question Christie…
    A somewhat mercurial thing to ponder. Across the years I have read many quotes that have grappled with capturing the very essence of poetry. Strangely, all of them hit the mark in some way, suggesting poetry resides in a vast terrain. I too have pondered this question across the years. I think most of us who feel compelled to write in this sweet, addictive form, engage in this elusive quest at some point. I found myself celebrating each stanza of the poem you presented. Some head nodding too. I shall drop you a line as they say…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. With a touch of whimsy, I love this stanza from your crowdsourced-poem, Christie:
    Poetry is playing with words,
    our best friends,
    in the sandbox.
    I would love to play around with you and our community. I will write to you. as you suggested.
    I am so glad that you truly enjoyed your class of fellow writers. Kudos to all of you for creating a lovely poem and for refining it with other thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love the energy and positivity that flows from creating in community. This is a wonderful poem (in progress). I especially love this line: “We’ll arrive at surprise itself and the journey will be worth it.”

    Liked by 1 person

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