Check List

This week’s poem looks nothing like any the students at Volta have seen so far. “Living in Numbers” by Claire Lee is a list of seemingly unrelated (or even random) items recorded over two consecutive days. Its language is plain and informational, though the poet does include a simile (“Number of times I’ve woken up after oversleeping and sprung out of bed like a ninja”) and hyperbole (“Number of times I’ve wanted to bawl my eyes out,” “Number of times I’ve laughed so hard my sides would bruise”). We talked about the differences in totals, pluses as well as minuses, and wondered how those numbers could change in just a single day? Also, if any of the items could explain those changes? For such a seemingly straightforward poem, there’s actually a lot of possibilities to be explored, things that reveal the speaker’s personality without saying anything directly.

I told the class this was an example of a list poem and that they would write their own. As one essay defines the form, “It’s not enough for things to just be listed. They must have a relation to each other, tell a story or offer commentary.”

Ms. Yim, 4th Grade

Lorelei A.

Number of times I’ve
woken up after
oversleeping and jumped
out of bed.

I had a cat I
lost her then
I found her
in the basement
she was in the closet
in the basement.

Number of friends
on Facebook: 744 real: 9

Maria E.

I would go to Hawaii

I would go to Paris

I’d go to my home country

I’d go all around the world

I’d go to sleep

List of Places I’ve Visited
Emma M.

Mexico ♥

Ohio for 1 day


California for Disney

De la Cruz

The Heart of Mexico

Guatemala for a little bit





Mississippi to see the river


Pet Store

Things I Hate
Gabriel P.



Dad jokes



List of Times I Felt Emotion
Jiya P.

Number of times I’ve
felt embarrassed, 100-300
too many times
to count

Number of times
I’ve cried

Number of times
I’ve felt joy 699

Number of times I’ve
flicked my pencil
out of being bored

Places I Will Never Go
Maylen R.

I will never go to Jupiter.

I will never go to Pluto
because it is extinct.

I will never go to Mars.

I will never go to Saturn.



“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.