Get Back

This week, we read Jack Spicer‘s poem, “Any fool can get into an ocean…” It begins:

Any fool can get into an ocean
But it takes a Goddess
To get out of one.

Many students immediately noticed some words connected to mythology, such as Goddess, Greek, and labyrinth, so I asked what the relation might be between them and the ocean, with its “sea otters bobbing wildly,” and poets? We decided that the whole thing uses comparison to focus on poetry—for example, it’s easier to get into a poem than to get out of one, and as we read, looking to make ‘sense’ of it, we’re driven by the urge to move ahead; yet we may in fact “get out of” it in more than just a single way, especially since how we “read” or understand a poem changes over time. We also looked at the form of Spicer’s poem on the page, and decided that its lines are like the twists and turns a person makes moving through a maze (or a swimmer in an ocean). It was yet another terrific discussion!

I then told students they’d be writing a specific type of poem, inspired by lines from the poem, “when you’ve tried the blessed water long / Enough to want to start backward / That’s when the fun starts.” I wrote its name on the board—Strawcab—and asked if anyone knew what it was? After some thoughts and ideas, I announced that it would be a backward poem, written on any theme but perhaps inspired by today’s reading, where the last line is the first, the penultimate line the second, and so on. Students either drafted their poem normally first, then switched the lines in revision; started in the middle of the page and worked their way up; literally wrote backward; or some variation on the theme.

Mrs. Carlson, 4th Grade

Untitled
Livvy A.

NO!
animals
talking
mermaids
fairies
unicorns
uh-oh…
candy bar
through a
strangely
world
swept into a different

When It Falls…
Isabelle D.

Down
Where it could fall
But
There are no chances
No
You go away
So
Are no places
There
Yes, it could have been
Gone.

Shark in the Water
Alex R.

Dead dead dead chomp
Chomp chomp just keep swimming
Just keep swimming I will die
Again dead dead dead chomp
Chomp chomp it is away

Shark in the
Water!

Oh no!

SEASONS
Anjali R.

as peaceful as birds
as colorful as a rainbow
as leafy as plants
Fall

as awesome as anything
as fun as a park
as hot as the sun
Summer

as rainy as umbrellas
almost as hot as summer
as pretty as flowers
Spring

as cold as ice
as big as trees
as long as life
Winter

Water
Elijah W.

Water is water
water is in lakes
water is in oceans
water is underneath us
water is over there
water is rippling
water is flip-flopping
water is rippling
water is over there
water is underneath us
water is in oceans
water is in lakes
water is water

Big Fat Otters
Elisa X.

Otters
Skinny
Fat
Small
Big

In the bathtub
Swimming excitedly
Skinny small otters
Small skinny otters

In the waves
Swimming lazily
Fat big otters
Big fat otters

Mrs. Rupp, 4th Grade

Life Is a Maze
Carolina B.

Life is a maze.
Which animals will you greet?
Who will you meet?
Which turn will you make?
Which path will you take?
Who will come out with you?
Or if you will come out at all
What side you will come out
You never know
Life is a maze

Strawcab (test)
Alijah C.

I had an actual poem…)
so the end of the test (I wish
test or else you get messed the best
person so this is a test the best
of poetry I am talking in 4th
This is called strawcab a type

Untitled
Evan H.

football.
fun. Recess is great. I love
Tai is my friend poetry is
I am cool. I love sports.

I Don’t Get It
Aamira H.

school
to learn
I decide
haunts me and
no sense the idea
get it it makes
Inside my head I don’t

Me Sdrawkcab
Sandy K.

Me backwards
Me backwards
hgual sdrawkcab
Laugh
Laugh
Laugh
At my poem
Please laugh

It’s funny
At my poem
Smile
Is funny
My poem
Mine poem
At mine
Please laugh
It’s funny
Spelling backwards
Me love

Love dat name
sdrawkcab
backwards
Make me

dooF
Aidan L.

We’re equal now
I guess
Food!
Ate me
Guess who
I eat food
Food likes me
I like food

Mrs. Travis, 4th Grade

Strawcab
Alex G.

It’s hard to go backward
I can’t go anywhere
I’m stuck, like sticky cheese
Where to go
My mind explodes
I have a broken mindset
Backward
Not forward
I know what to do
I had to go backward
I’m like a Goddess
My brain helps me
Don’t look forward
Keep going backward
No looking forward
It was not to look backward
But know no looking forward
I like the smell of backward
It’s like victory

Untitled
Esteban G.

Out of the hole.
Until god got me
Out of the hole
And I could not get
I was stuck in a hole

Untitled
Isabella G.

bye
what am I writing?
stars
lollipops
candy
rainbows
emojis
fun
is
swimming
fun
is
aerial arts
Hi

Strawcab
Charlotte M.

!
great
oh…
backwards
poem
this
writing
am
I
think
I
wait
beach
the
to
go
should
you

Untitled
Damian P.

basketball
and
pizza
like
I
Damian
is
name
my
Hi

Strawcab
Emily X.

bottles.
flipping
like
I
Emily
is
name
my
Hi

Mr. O’Brien, 4th Grade

Strawcab
Samuel M.

A labyrinth of Greeks
Fighting of course
A Goddess can stop them
Like a nail being clipped
The God of the sea
Forces riptides

Untitled
Balin N.

The flower is clearing watch out!
It is going to burst watch out!

Strawcab
Aramis R.

siht si ton a meop.

tea eseehc!

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