There goes my resolve to be more consistent in blog posting this year. January was a month full of writing, poetry, new friends and shoveling snow. I spent most of my free time at Australian children’s book author Kat Apel’s Month of Poetry. The challenge was to write a poem and post it every day. Sorry, you can’t see it as it is password protected, but you can put Month of Poetry on your calendar for January 2012 if you like.
What did making the commitment to writing a piece of poetry a day do for me? Tons. I started listening to words and feeling how they felt as I said them. I started listening to conversations with an eye for how words fit together. My eye became tuned to the small details about every day things. That was in the first week. Somewhere around the middle of the month I wrote a poem which surprised and delighted me. It was not the kind of poem I meant to write in January. I had meant to write short, fun and kid oriented poems – maybe one which could be turned into a picture book. On that day in the middle of the month I wrote a poetic memoir and found that my stories were new to me. Very different from recording them in prose or telling them in person, these poetic memoirs helped me to see the small details in my experiences in a new way. I didn’t write much of anything else for the rest of the month. That’s ok with me. I know for a fact that I wouldn’t have gotten to that place without the discipline.
Beyond the action of writing a poem a day, it was a wonderful writing group. They were very supportive and helpful. Inspiration came daily in the form of other people’s writing. I made new writer buddies from Australia as well as stateside.
What can I as a teacher librarian get from this experience? I find I’m tackling poetry more in my daily teaching. Today I spent time with a kindergarten class learning the difference between rhyming and alliteration. Will they all remember and get it right now? No. I have no illusions, but they did improve their ability during our class. I find that writing and especially the care with which you choose words when writing poetry has helped me be clearer with directions. It has also helped me to appreciate the writing process that our young students must learn.
It was a great month!