First Grade Poetry Slam!


Way back when I used to write and read lots of poetry. Everything was so passionate and drama-filled. Remember those days? Now things are joyful, messy and still drama-filled, but in the way where someone is rolling around on the ground because he can’t have a lollipop for breakfast.

Poetry seems so much more civilized than my life right now.

But I know it’s not. Life is about discovering meaningful, creative outlets and their divine purpose in one’s life… in the present moment. And at the present moment, I am rediscovering poetry as my daughter learns about it for the first time. To say this is an amazing experience is an enormous understatement.

This week I attended a poetry slam at The Mercury Café in Denver where my 7 year old daughter read her poem in front of a packed audience. Her first grade class began studying poetry in April during National Poetry Month, and spent the last two months writing, reading and memorizing their very first poems. Four classes of first graders came to the stage last Thursday, many dressed in Beatnik-style clothing, and confidently read their individual works aloud as their classmates sat around them criss-cross-applesauce style. There was even snapping for applause in between each reading. Wolf!

This is one of the coolest, cutest, funniest, awe-inspiring things I’ve ever seen. To watch these kids muster the courage to read their thoughts and feelings, PUBLICLY, made my heart want to burst out of my hipster t-shirt. And many of the poems were really good! Like publish in a book good. Kids… their instinctual creativity is what it’s all about.
So, to follow up this awesome introduction to the world of poetry I’ve began buying poetry books for my kids.
Along with the Shel Silverstein classics, I recently purchased Enormous Smallness, A Story of e.e. cummings by Matthew Burgess. Awesome book. Not only does it share some of his poetry, it tells the inspirational story of how he became a poet and is chock full of beautiful illustrations. My daughter has also been furiously writing more poetry and making her own books. How fun is that?

What about you, do you read and write poetry with your kids? What are your favorite kid’s poetry books?