Introduction to Poetry

This was our first meeting at TEAM Englewood for Hand-on-Stanzas this year and we read Billy Collins poem appropriately titled “Introduction to Poetry.”  This poem was just a starter to get us familiar with our model, each other, and types of work we will be doing this year with Hands-on-Stanzas.  We’re also excited to be working with 2 new teachers this year, Ms. Henley and Ms. Payne.

Since this was our “Introduction to Poetry,” we discussed our feelings about poetry, what we like (if we did like it), what we hated (if we don’t like poems) and how we can get at least a little something out of poems in general.

Our prompt was an exercise using descriptive language and imagery.  Describe something to someone, but never say exactly what it is you are describing.  Some took that literally, some took it meta and some just riffed and wrote their own thing.  All of which are right, we’re hear to support one another in our art and understanding of it.  Below are a few examples from some of the students.


Ms. Henley
9th Grade (6th Period)

When You Get The Big Picture
Darryl S.

It’s spontaneous almost
knocking you from your
feet sending you into
a sort of shock.

Thinking how come I didn’t
get it til now?  You still feel
as if you’re missing something
feeling as insignificant as ever.

As if you were a low level
life form with no train
of thought until now
your mind races thinking
about things it’s never
thought before and that’s
when you realize you have
the big picture.


Janautica B.

It is something

that no one wants

to experience, everyone

is hurt with fears

like rain drops, thoughts

begin to come.  When

will I see him again.

Remarks will be made

your in a better place.

God needed an angel

you’re down in the ground with

a head stone that

says “In Loving Memory of”


My Tat

Jalan W.

My tattoo is going to  have

my moms name with love around it

and a child.


Ms. Henley

9th Grade (7th Period)


Desire T.

This is scary

black suit, red tie

white undershirt

real little (short)

Stiff, don’t move, until it is silen

takes your tongue

when you scream


Monifah L.

I’m getting Calie Mae,

because that was by granny’s name

it’s gone be across my chest

it’s gone be in bubble letters

it’s gone be red and black

I’m going to the shop

and my momma done give her consent,

and it’s going to be big.

Funner Person

Devonte R.

This person is to funny

and this person play too much

and this person like to play ball.

This person like to work

and go to school everyday.

Ms. Payne

10th Grade


Nadia U.

Sweet, honest, loyalty is the key

to them.  Shut down because the fear

of being hurt again.  Screaming

I can’t let you in because

you’re gonna leave.  On the inside

heart soft like a marshmallow.

On the outside, hard as a rock.

Strong, independent, hate

asking for stuff, but when it

comes to loving.  She loves hard.



“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.