Exploring Our Writing Impulses at Waters

Greetings, supporters and poetry lovers! This past Wednesday I was thrilled to kick off a yearlong residency with the 6th grade classes at Waters Elementary. After learning more about students’ likes and loves, their experiences with poetry, and how they would like to read and write together, we read Safia Elhillo’s “Ode to Gossips.” Admittedly, Elhillo’s rich language is a bit advanced for 6th grade, but students were more than game to learn new words like “chiffon” and “demitasse.” We also discussed Elhillo’s use of couplets, enjambment, and spacing.

Students underlined or highlighted the words that stuck out to them most before embarking upon a 5 minute freewrite. After that, students used the free write as inspiration for original poems! Only Ms. Smallwood’s class was able to complete some poems this time, but no worries; we’ve got all year to publish more Waters poets.

Ms. Smallwood’s 6th Grade Class

Phantom Girl
by Avery W.

walking along the quiet street.
sandals slapping the cold stone path.

lonely women sweeping the front porch step.
birds fluttering to their nests.

the air still around me.
I am a phantom girl.

by Keira W.

Copper a dog          is lonely
He eats half of his       meals

Waiting for a friend.      to eat the half
His favorite is      biscuits with coriander

He likes to eat in a        demitasse
He does not eat much      so he has grown weak

by Harrison

All the wives are wearing
aprons and cooking a meal

You could hear the crack
of the eggshell and the smell of onions

The wives needed to use the imagination
so they ask their daughter

As they were cooking you
could smell the burning wood

That House
by Ava J.

The window rusted over
as years went by.

Generations of people watched
as they sip tea and nibble on biscuits.

Women that wore bangles
and were decorated with henna.

All sorts of people watched.
The stone walls became painted

And the house was sold.



“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.