A Poet’s Toolkit

“In terms of writing a poem, for me it really is more about showing up than waiting for inspiration. I try to think of writing a poem in the same vein as any other job. A plumber doesn’t just say, ‘I’m going to wait until I’m stuck with plumbing inspiration and then go to work.’ The plumber just grabs the tools and starts doing the work. So, for me I have tools too. If I can’t write, then I’ll go read a book, and if I can’t still write, then I’m ok with that. But it starts with just sitting down to write and failing a lot.”

This week at Shoesmith we had our second sharing day, where students edited and shared past poems. For inspiration students discussed the quote above by poet José Olivarez from his interview with The Creative Independent.  Olivarez believes that instead of poets just waiting for inspiration, they should get their tools and just start writing. Students mentioned tools that they used each week for poetry: pencil, pen, paper, computer, desks, memories, and their imaginations. Our job as poets is to put in the effort and do our best.

With tools ready, students reworked ode, question, recipe, and body poetry. They polished images until they sparkled and tightened up lines with strong word choices. Enjoy this week’s published poems.



                                    Ms. Wesson’s 5th Grade
                                                    Group 1


Ode to the Night Sky
Mame F.

In the night sky I see
stars of light and color
of the moon shining

I see streetlights twinkle
and my night light alone,
but shining, with me
looking out the window
at the dark sky.

The sky is as dark as the kitten
that crossed the road. I put on
my jacket and walk outside.
I lie in the grass, looking up
at the sky wondering about
my future.


Recipe For Noemi
Trinity C.

Noemi was made from an old family
recipe. Her father gave her 3 teaspoons
of Filipino. He also gave her 1/4
cup of Panamanian.

Her mother gave her 1/8 cup of African
and a 1/2 cup of Asian.

Her great-great grandma gave her a
teaspoon of Mexican.

Noemi was baked in the oven with
nice soft light skin. She has nice long
long hair too.

Then—DING! Oh! She’s finished by
March 11, 2009!



Why do I feel this way?
J’Vonae S.

Why does life have to be so hard?
Why is it liked I’m chained
To the bottom of a pool of darkness?
Why is it that when I try to be nice
It comes out dark or rude?

Between Anxiety, Depression
And being disliked by my
Fellow students which is worse?
Am I broken?

If I changed myself
Would you like me then?
When I have the tiniest
Bit of happiness,
Why do you ruin it?

It might not mean anything to you,
But can I ask you a personal question?
Why does life have to be so hard?



                                   Ms. Wesson’s 5th Grade
                                                   Group 2


Fighting Homework
Heitor C.

I’m fighting with homework.
It’s so hard to do homework.
Seeing it is so scary.

So, I go home, to be alone
and cry about homework,

I can’t fight homework alone.
I need help to fight back.


Kaidyn F.

Now everyone out here is talking and killing.
Whatever happened to songs with some feeling.
Ya’ll thinking that stuff is so appealing.
You don’t think about what you’re hearing.

Now ya’ll up here throwing gang signs.
I’ve seen ya’ll do that a million times.
You think all that matters is if it really rhymes.
But there’s more to shooting and committing

Where’s the genuine love?


Ode to Smores
Ki’Yanna C.

You sweet, savory smore.
You are like music to my ears!
Sometimes you drizzle down to
my tongue. The dazzling, dark
chocolate you give is like a puddle
of rain.

The soft, white, and fluffy marshmallows
are like a box of nice, white cotton balls.

When I bite a smore, the chocolate
breaks into my mouth, like a load
of mouth wash.



                                         Ms. Henry’s 6th Grade
                                                        Group 1


Ode to Gemstones
Cozier G.

Gemstones are amazing.
They come from the earth.
The Jasper comes from the
Grand Canyon. You can make
a crystal from water, salt, or

Sapphires and Lapis Lazulis
are as blue as the ocean.
An Amethyst is as purple
as a violet.

There’s are ice crystals that can
come in any shape or color.

Gemstones also come from space,
different planets like Neptune.

All gems shatter except the Peridot,
that can’t be shattered that quickly.

Many gemstones can have different
combinations. Like a Malachite is
mixed with a Lapis Lazuli and a Jasper.
And an Opal is mixed with an Amethyst
and a Pearl.

A white gem makes me feel fancy.
A blue gem makes me sad.
A yellow gem makes me feel mad.
A pink gem makes me think about
the past, what I have lost.

I can’t wait to collect them all.


Recipe for Brandon
Brandon C.

1 boy that comes from New Orleans
out of 3 brothers.
I was born just right. Mom hit me
with that New Orleans spice, mixed
with a little negativity from the outside.
outside world.

1 cup of gaming talent from dad.
From my big brother Isiah, I got
my football moves.
1 tablespoon of cooking talent
from grandma.

A pinch of schoolwork.
3 cups of a fashion sense.

I was baked in an oven for 9 months,
until I came out soft, moist, and chocolatey.
People were amazed and said, “What a
beautiful, delicious baby.”


D’Angelo Russell Questions
Veron W.

Why are you so good at basketball?
Do you still think of Kobe?
Are you happy that you are on the
same team as your best friend?

How many rings do you want at
the end of your career?
Do you think you can beat Michael
Jordan? How many people can you

Why are you so good at basketball?
Do you still think of Kobe?



                                      Ms. Henry’s 6th Grade
                                                    Group 2


Life Questions
Christiana F.

I don’t understand life?
Why is it so complicated?
Why can’t we live in peace?
Why do we pollute so much?
Are we going to be able to live
in 2045?

Why do people care how we look
and what we wear?
Why can’t people get along?

Why do kids get kidnapped almost
everyday? Are we ever going to know
when and how we die?

Are people scared of going to heaven
or the opposite?
Why does death exist?
Are we ever going to be able
to be happy?

I don’t understand life?
Why is it so complicated?


Recipe for Iron Man
Sean J.

Iron Man’s parents cooked him in
the same kitchen. They started off
with a cup of Intelligence with hot
water and a doss of Playboy.

They mixed in some eggs with Humor,
and 16 ounces of money.
His dad gave him a gallon of businesses.
His mother gave him a cup of good looks.

He came out the oven baked, like a vanilla

Even though those things are great.
They can’t top off his friendship with
the Avengers. And his child will be
next up. So, get ready for a new


Ashanti P.

What do eyes give us?
What is so important to look at?
Why do we need eyes?
Why do eyes give us vision?

Why do eyes let you see horrible
and amazing views?
Can eyes show you the death of
of an animal or loved one?
Will your eyes let you see the future
or past? Why do eyes guide you to
the right or wrong path?

Why do we need eyes?
Why do eyes give us vision?




“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.