Sunday, April 13, 2014

Collaborative Poetry, Part One

According to the U.S. make-every-day-a-special-day calendar, April is National Poetry Month.  The students in my writing class also happen to be working on a collaborative multimodal project this month.  So, I decided to combine these two into a collaborative poetry writing lesson to show that writing poetry can be fun, @#!*% , and that sometimes we can create things together that we could never create alone.  It actually was fun, and the poems they wrote were really amazing.  

Our writing method was to write one line of poetry at the top of each paper and write the general topic at the bottom.  Each student would read the line at the top, add their own line, and then fold the top of the paper down so the only line showing was the one they had just written.  Then they’d pass the paper along, the next student would read the one line showing, add their own line, fold the top down to cover all but their own, and pass along, etc. etc.  So each student was writing a line of poetry with only the general topic and previous line to give them context.  (Aside:  I know I read this method somewhere, but can’t remember where and google is no help.  Maybe it came to me in a dream.)

The resulting poems, as you’ll see below, are actually quite cohesive!  I was impressed with what they wrote in just a minute or two per poem…the poems have strong imagery, alliteration, and even cultural critique. 

The poems I’ll post today begin with a line from poems by Robert Louis Stevenson.  I’ve used Stevenson’s titles so you can go read his versions if you’d like.  The contributing authors, who have graciously given me permission to publish their poems here, are: Connor Ball, Satyam Bharadwaj, Sherry Corley, Daniel Guastella, Bryonna Manes, Jody Mitchell, and Dustin Tushar.  Come back tomorrow to read more! 

Summer Sun

Great is the Sun, and wide he goes
Through empty heaven without repose;
It is big and It is bright.
It is blinding, yet such a sight.
And we keep at least it’s reflection thru the night.
The reflection at first giving us a fright
Reflecting against the rolling sea,
beckoning for clarity.
Sun always rises, never sets, as we
stay up awake until winter chill is met. 


The rain is raining all around,
It falls on field and tree,
It sleeks and shines the ground beneath,
and drips from leaf to leaf.
Sound so calm, it brings us to a better place.
City to city but never captured, a force so strong
it is never relieved.
Drizzle, Drizzle, Drop, Drop rings the sounds
in our ears, never seems to drop a
beat as if it were on the radio.
It’s wet everywhere because of the rain,
rain, rain please don’t come again.
Yet as soon as you leave, I crave
nothing more than the sound
of rain upon my window.
Is that a sin though? Waiting for god’s
tears just to clean my life’s window. 

The Cow

The friendly cow, all red and white,
I love with all my heart. 
I fed him food all day and night,
till he grew big and strong. 
It provides me with milk
yet pollutes the air that I breathe.
Somehow we continue to graze them as such,
Pretty soon as we know it our lives will be flushed.
And our lives will be rushed
By those who we trusted,
for no more than mere lunch.
Caged, but treated as pets,
We care so much for them –
Herded and spared. 

Pretty great, huh?  Which one is your favorite?  Come back tomorrow to read the rest, and wrangle some of your family and friends into writing some collaborative poetry of your own! 

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