100 Per Cento Efforts

We had our final poetry classes this week. Since one of the initial things I mention when we begin a residency is my own status as a ‘working’ poet, I brought in one of my own efforts, “Laundromat Villanelle,” to share with the students. I reminded them that we had previously read and discussed another villanelle (“One Art”) during our third week, and they immediately noticed the two repeating rhymes and refrains that are part of this highly-structured form. Since villanelles utilize so much repetition, their subject matter tends toward obsessive themes, and I explained that the never-ending chore of laundry seemed like an ideal topic.

For the finale, each student contributed a single line to a class cento (or collage poem), inspired by what poetry makes them think of, or how they feel about it. I encouraged the use of similes or metaphors, but as you can see, anything goes when it comes to centos!

Ms. Kawa, 4th Grade

Poetry is a blessing.
Poetry is a happy feeling.
Poetry is as expressive as art.
Poet as gold.
Poetry is as free as a bird.
Poetry is as wild as the woods.
Poetry is as gentle as air but it can be as crude as winter.
Poetry is like a fold—it works, but never perfect.
Poetry is like a heart, having feelings.
Poetry—the flow that changes everything.
I love poetry because there are no rules.
Poetry is the place where ideas gather.
Poetry is like a miracle to me.
Poetry is like a sunny, nice day.
Poetry is the gold flower of a field.
Poetry is like tales of old that, once written, yearn to be told.
Poetry, think, did I like, no, do I love, yes, I was clueless, not for now.
Poetry is like a dog, sometimes sad, sometimes happy.
Poetry is like infinity.
Poetry is as bright as the blue sky.
Poetry is like the sun because it shines bright.
Poetry is like a person—it has infinite possibilities.
Poetry is as heavy as a boulder.
Poetry is as awake as coffee but as sleepy as . . . tired?
Poetry is like you: beautiful and unique.
Poetry is a shining light.
Poetry is as broad as the universe.
Poetry makes me as happy as a flower getting pollinated.
It has much kindness to fragile souls.

Ms. Nelson, 4th Grade

Poetry is like pottery—creative.
It makes me feel open like an open bag of chips.
I lie in wait for an idea to spring, I wait for the light of the poem within.
Poetry is a miracle in the form of words.
Poetry is as bright as a bulb.
Poetry is beautiful as artwork.
Poetry is boring and it doesn’t matter, I mean, what job requires poetry besides being a poet? It is only fun, that is it.
No need for perfections.
Poetry is as tempting as chocolate in a jar.
Poetry is like a dream, that can never be predicted.
Like you have the earth in your hands.
Poetry is the sun to my shine.
Poetry is sweet as donuts, but strong as a stone.
Poetry is as catchy as a melody.
I think poetry is as nice as Ice Spice.
Poetry is as “fun” as reading.
Poetry is Liz just like Lizzo.
You’re free to roam, like an animal free from captivity.
Poetry is like a magical story.
Poetry is like a fire splashed with gasoline.
Poetry is like a puzzle and your mind makes the pieces.
Poetry is a story that comes out of your mind.
It makes me feel like I’m in my own world.

Mr. O’Brien, 4th Grade

Poetry can be anything: sad, happy, jokes, stories. Poetry can be anything.
Poetry is a melody.
Poetry is as scary as pies and cherries.
Poetry is as beautiful as the flaming bright sun.
Poetry is as fun as me.
Poetry is as amazing as sushi.
Poetry makes me feel weird like a slice of cheesecake or a fire drill during class.
Poetry is as fun as playing games with friends.
Poetry is like a big explosion of words.
Poetry is writing and creativity put together.
Poetry is love and poetry is life.
Poetry multiplies your emotion.
Poetry is as cool as playing video games with my friends.
Poetry is as funny as my cat punching my dog.
Poetry is a 2D expression of a 3D mind in 4D world.
Poetry is a million words exploding in my head.
Poetry is like a jamming song.
Poetry is the Mona Lisa of writing.
Poetry is as exciting as a fire drill that we weren’t expecting.
Poetry is like a flaming fire.
Poetry is cool but strange.
Poetry is like a black cat.
Poetry is as fun as fun itself.
Poetry is as exciting as a meteor.

Ms. Lyons, 4th Grade

Poetry makes me calm.
Poetry is a place to express yourself and do anything.
Poetry makes me feel happy.
Poetry makes me feel like I’m in the air.
Poetry is like a rollercoaster of feelings.
Poetry makes me feel calm, it calms my body down.
Poetry makes me feel happy. I write about what I want.
Poetry is like a bee. It’s good, but bad ‘cause it scares me. But I still kinda like it, you see.
Poetry takes a long time and it also rhymes.
Poetry starts the day of calmness. After poetry I get back to reality.
Poetry makes me feel like I’m in the ocean.
Poetry is like a riddle to me.
Poetry is like a song to me.
The poem was dancing.
Poetry makes me feel happy.
Poetry makes me feel like it’s a talkative day. Poetry makes me feel like sending you to heaven.
Poetry is like my comfort zone. It’s as calming as tea and as happy as me.
Poetry is OK. It’s not something I would do but it’s cool.
Poetry is like a Baller.
Poetry makes me feel happy and different. It makes me feel comfy.
Poetry makes me feel happy.
I love poetry. Poetry is my favorite.
I love when poems rhyme.

Ms. Makris, 4th Grade

Poetry blows my mind. Poetry shakes my emotions. I love poetry!
Poetry is like a shining star in the sky.
The mind explodes, infusing analysis.
Poetry can be as complicated as me.
Poetry is long but feels good.
I like poetry because I can disrespect the rules and do anything.
Poetry can sometimes be comfortable.
You can explore everything and anything with poetry—poetry as in a calming tree.
Poetry feels like a glass of calmness spilling in my mind.
Poetry is like a question in my mind.
Poetry is the way to understand how to be a full canvas.
Poetry is like a mouse the size of a house.
The world is trembling—hope is gone—we shall light the world, then we can see happiness in it.
Poetry makes me feel confident.
I think that poetry can help you too.
Poetry is like Romeo and Juliet: you can’t live without it.
The eyes have seen some pretty things just like poems.
Poetry can make you glad even if you are sad.
Poetry makes me feel confused, and interested.
Poetry is as long as walking up a mountain.
Poetry is as long as walking downtown.
Poetry makes me happy.



“Writing poetry makes me feel like I can see myself, like I can see my reflection, but not in a mirror, in the world. I write and I know I can be reflected.”
-Oscar S.

“Writing poetry makes me feel free.”
-Buenda D.

“Writing poetry is like your best friend.”
-Jessica M.