Making (Poetry) Waves

Yesterday I had my debut session with students at Volta Elementary. Most of them had no prior experience with poetry, but I assured them that wasn’t a problem, adding that they should relax and have fun with the experience.

I covered some ‘basics’ regarding talking about poetry, such as what constitutes lines and stanzas, and asked if anyone knew what personification and metaphor were? After the prelude about myself and the program, we settled in and discussed our first poem, “How Poems Are Made” by Alice Walker. Five students volunteered to read it aloud, which always makes a difference since we could really hear the poet’s language at work, as well as her use of repetition. I asked why she used it here, and we thought it might be to replicate a rhyme-like effect (even though the poem doesn’t rhyme). We also wondered what the poem might mean, though I emphasized that poems can ‘mean’ one or sometimes many things, while some poems can be nonsensical and kind of crazy. That’s what’s amazing about poetry!

For their first foray into poem-ing, they wrote about something you make. Here’s a sample of their awesome efforts.

Ms. Yim, 4th Grade

The Last Fry
Heyson C.

I want some fries
I went to the store
to buy some potatoes
I chop them up
I fry them up
my face lights up with
the spark of joy

But fries are not done
without an appetizer
I think

The Mini Car
Emma M.

When I got home I
made a mini cardboard
car for my hamster. I put
him in and he liked it! I drove
him and I played the song
“They See Me Rolling.”

Making Choices
Jiya P.

In order to make choices
you need a mind.
A powerful mind
a mind that can do

Choices are about
love or even

You can make
a choice about
you can make a choice
about what you want
for dinner.

Nishika P.

I make the
I print
the earrings.
I wear the
I have
fun out.

Prince P.

I made lemonade with water
lemon and sugar, salt and something
to squeeze the lemon. First pour water
in a bowl, squeeze the lemon
in the bowl and add sugar
and salt and mix. Drink it. Bon appétit.

Maylen R.

I made a cupcake
with milk and eggs
and the batter and
then I put it in the

Angelo W.

I’m good at making paper airplanes.
You need paper and your hands.



“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.