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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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!