Friday, February 6, 2015

Collaborative Learning Activity: Poetry Writing

We sat around a table with interesting objects we had brought from home. A community of poet wannabes. Or poetry machines, Randy Marshall our chief instigator cheekily called us. He led us to write poems inspired by the stories we shared about the items. A good activity that I could use one day with my students, if Randy doesn't mind.

Poetry writing sharpens our minds and writing. I like the opportunity it provides for us to be precise and playful with words. It is a great learning activity to try in classes. I recommend it highly, not just in literature classes.

Here is mine, slightly edited from the first draft written on Feb 4 evening.

Some of the objects of inspiration: jade cat, brass bell, seagull feather, my red macrame knot

Objects of Interest

A friendship in Beijing
Solidified by a dark green jade cat
"An exotic city," R professed
Her love for that Forbidden City
Swiftly the gemstone transported me to my unspoken grief

"The first one was damaged
The second one stolen"
So a third ring her mother offered
A sparkling aquamarine set in silver
A symbol of T's childhood in Japan

Where has this bottle roamed
Whose lips have pursed against this rim
A chipped whiskey bottle top
Plucked from the grounds of Rappahannock Station
A decade and a half in L's keeping

A brown seagull's feather
From the shores of a Polly Island Beach
She recalled the loudness of the placidity
Life had become too big and clamorous
The ocean could swallow H
Like a hushed hiccup no one knows
Everything will be okay

Soft crystal clear peals
Of a miniature brass bell
With claws and etched with flowers
A gem found at Paul's Place of timeworn treasures
A renewed friendship from M's years in graduate school

I unveiled my dad's prosperity-red macrame knot
Don't weep, I will be brave
"My dad used it as a key-holder"
Words slow and deliberate, I uttered
Him who I can no longer hold
His effects, his assets, my objects of affection


Randy Marshall said...

Nice photo! I like where the poem is going as well. I really enjoyed how the bits of stories are attributed to the human beings who uttered them. There is power in such naming.

Yin Wah Kreher said...

Thanks, Randy. The poem still needs revision. Some lines are awkward. But at this point, it captures the gist of what I am trying to convey.