‘A True Account of Talking to Ballet Shoes in the New York Award Assembly’: O’Hara-style Poems

A lesson on Personification, giving human qualities to something non-human via the poem: A True Account of Talking to the Sun at Fire Island.  We took a look at Frank O’ Hara’s touching and somewhat mystifying poem.  Among the illuminating things that happen in  this text, our speaker engages in a conversation with the Sun. The Sun imparts opinions and wisdom to the speaker. It is a Lyric poem, one that reflects some of the poet’s own feelings. Over the years, many have discussed its meaning.

Lesson Note: To help spark imaginations, each student was given an image and invited to create a Lyric poem using Personification, to create voices/speakers/situations. In part, this exercise is based on The Poetry Center’s ‘Poet’s Look At Pictures’ call for submissions, where local writers were asked to respond to an image through poetry. Students were also encouraged to go with any other ideas might be sparked during the creating process.   Writer Nick Flynn’s is quoted as saying: ‘A poet’s job is not to play fast and loose with the facts of this world. [But rather to] imagine.”

Ms. Wright 7th Grade

Conversation with a shoe
by Selina X.

My shoes during Monday to Friday,
always yelled out for me to
walk it. “Shoe, I’m too lazy during
those days to be able to walk you.
Even on the weekends,
I play all the time..
Displaying my boredom.” My
parents even recommended me
to go outside. “Selina, Why not
exercise or even play with your
Go run outside with your
brother at the park!” “Nope,
today is not leg day!! It’s bitterly
cold outside too, so why?
“Well then, after winter..
Go touch some grass.”

Teddy bear?
by Mandy L.

This afternoon when I woke up I found myself cuddling with my teddybear
Left the room and my teddy on my bed while I got ready for the day
I called out to anyone home?
No response I guess I’m the only one home
When I went back up to my bed I couldn’t find my teddy

I looked everywhere and last place to check under the bed
There it was teddy
But I don’t remember putting him under the bed
Out of fear I left him again and went to the bathroom there he was again in the bathroom
The teddy bear started to talk how could you leave me

“I gulped” how can you talk I asked
I fell on my butt
I quickly stood up and started to running and the teddy bear ran after me
I said stop chasing me!
What have I ever done to you I asked?

You lefted me tere all alone in the dark!
And now you must pay!
I asked wh-o are you and where’s my family
The teddy bear said oh you will meant the soon enough
I said just stop already

The teddy bear melted!
[Alarm goes off]

Oh it was just a nightmare I said out loud but where’s my teddy bear?

Ms. Wright, 8th Grade

A True Account of Talking to Ballet Shoes in the New York Award Assembly
by Angel W.

My ballet shoes push me down the chair during dinner super hard
And say “Ha ha you deserve it”
I asked my ballet shoes “Why in the world would you do that”
Said the Ballet Shoes
“ Oh I forgot about that, “ I said
I quickly get ready and drive to the Award Assembly
When we got there the show started already
“It’s all your fault, “ said the Ballet Shoes
“ If I didn’t drive you here, you can even be here, “ I said
My ballet shoes walk away sadly and with anger up the stage
And claim its award “sadly” of course I said
After the show, we went home
When we got home, I went to bed
While my ballet shoes are still angry
that I forget about the assembly
“Oh, what a night,” I said

after Frank O’Hara
by Wenson J.

The wise apple woke me up in the afternoon, saying
“Wake up you’ve been in bed all day!” said the wise apple.
“I’m up I’m up” I responded
The apple faced me before starting his lecture to me
It looked like I was about to fall asleep.

The apple noticed this and decided to give me a word of advice
“You know life isn’t just going to wait for you,” the apple said
“I know I know,” I said knowing this already,
After the 50th time, the apple said that to me

Since that piece of advice didn’t work the apple
Decided to give me another piece of advice
“Life won’t care about you just like how you don’t care what I’m saying right now.”
I realized that the apple was correct so I decided to listen to him.
“I see…”

After that I actually listened to the apple’s lecture
For once and actually learned something
From the wise apple before falling asleep once
It was over.



“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.