Transformation Poetry @ Shoesmith Elementary

It was wonderful to meet the 5th and 6th graders of Shoesmith Elementary. I attended Shoesmith as a student years ago and it feels great to be back to create new memories as part of the Hands on Stanzas Program. For our first week we discussed our goals for the poetry residency. Student will explore connections between poetry and their own lives through fun activities, readings, and experimentation with language.

We discussed the importance of stanzas, a set of lines which gives structure to a poem and organizes a poet’s ideas. Together we read “Eating Poetry,” by Mark Strand, a humorous first-person poem where the speaker decides to eat a book of poems, and undergoes a startling transformation from a man to a dog. Students noticed Strand’s use of metaphor, when he compared poetry to food, and a poet’s imagination to a pack of wild canines. Inspired by Strand’s quirkiness and dream-like imagery, students wrote their own transformation poems. Students described the positive changes they would like to see within themselves and their own writing throughout the poetry residency. Each week students will have the opportunity to see their written work published on the Hands on Stanzas blog. Enjoy this week’s published poems.


                                                             Ms. Wesson’s  5th Grade
                                                                             Group 1

Singing Poetry
Mame F.

I start at the park
riding on my bike
singing along on the long ride home.

The streetlights are shining bright in the dark.
The moon twinkles and the stars shine.
I close my eyes and feel the breeze.

Then I realize I am flying; I tweet and tweet.
I fly around and realize I am a bird.
I fly around free as I can ever be.


Writing Poetry
Kayla W.

I’m in my house,
writing poetry.

I’m in my chair,
writing poetry.

When I write poetry,
it energizes me.

It makes me feel like someone else
other than a softie, a boring girl.

I can become a candy-loving magician,
or a magical girl.

Anything but me.

Today I’m a writing prodigy
with a love obsession.

Now, I can finally write a good story
for once.


Creating Poetry
Trinity C.

I’m in my living room
eating pizza with mushrooms.
I think of making poetry,
while listening to the band Floetry.

Then, I watch Stranger Things
and immediately know what I’m
going to make my poem about!

Phew! Done with poetry
I look in the mirror.
I see Elle. Wait! Is this real?

I meet the cast of Stranger Things
but they don’t know the REAL ME.



                                                                Ms. Wesson’s 5th Grade
                                                                               Group 2


Dancing Poety
Ki’ Yanna C.

Sweat runs down my head.
There is no happiness like mine.
I’m dancing poetry.

The dance instructor does not believe what she sees.
The dance instructor is so surprised.
She walks toward me with her hands in her pockets.

The poems are full.
The lights are bright.

There are people sitting on the stairs.
Their eyeballs roll.
Their wings flap.

The dance instructor does not understand.
When I get down, my wings flap.
She claps.

I’m a new girl.
I laugh.


Singing Poetry
Skylar C.

The song that made me dance.
Happiness was in the music room.
I must have been singing poetry.

The music teacher screamed in horror.
He ran. He looked at me in a weird way.
I had turned into a bird.

The birds flew and I finally knew.
They were singing birds
who loved to sing away.

And I belonged everywhere they went.


Dancing Poetry
Zayla P.

Footsteps that are slow and fast.
No one in the world is as excited as me.
I am dancing po-e-try

The lifeguard is as surprised as me.
His smile is as bright as a star.
but I think he is nervous and I don’t know why.

The poems are jumping up and down.
The water is flowing the same beat as me
and my new best friend po-e-try.



                                                                Ms. Henry’s  6th Grade 
                                                                              Group 1

Living Poetry
Elycia R.

Running miles and miles through the pages
until I reach the end.
I’ve been running though poetry.

I don’t believe what I’m feeling.
I’m filled with joy.
I’m a big white page with black words.

As I look up at the person who is reading me
with a smile or maybe tears, flooding my
pages like a river.

As they flip my pages,
getting closer to the end
their tears fade away.


Cooking Poetry
Cole B.

The ink burns through the paper
waiting vigorously for it to be done grilling.
Poetry is a tasty treat.

As I digest it, I feel a rumble.
It’s my stomach.
I look in the mirror.

I see a light red grill.
My mother is busy doing work.
She starts throwing things.

No one can have the happiness I have.
My mom stops and notices.
Her son is a grill and she has to be hurting.
She starts sobbing, and I soothe her.

I say its okay and our cat licks her hand
in the bright light.


Breathing Poetry
Nina W.

I wake up breathing poetry.
I’m full of poetry like air.
I spill with ideas.

My mom has seen me all day in my room
spilling  ideas.
My room is becoming my own
personal writing space.

When I’m not breathing poetry I’m just dust,
waiting to be blown away.

When it flows through me it’s like a waterfall
that never stops following.
I’m become full of ideas.

I can decide to be reborn
and become an eagle.
Then it’s just the beginning.



                                                              Ms. Henry’s 6th Grade 
                                                                            Group 2 

Feeling Poetry
Bailey L.

The words lightly lift off the page
and slowly touch my skin.
My eyes slowly transform into the ocean.

I feel like I’m walking on clouds
watching my feet slowly lift from the ground.
My body feels relaxed and calm.

As I feel poetry
I slowly turn into a poetry angel.
Sharing poetry with everyone,
their eyes lift with awesome poetry.


Sleeping Poetry
Ashanti P.

Darkness surrounding the place with silence.
The dream that no longer exists.
A hint of light comes out of nowhere and
huge mirrors surround me.

The person that I once knew has disappeared.
Long black hair and black eyes that seem as if
your looking right back at yourself.

The feeling of turning into a whale.


Talking Poetry
Madison A.

I walk home and start talking poetry.
Every time I open my mouth, I’m talking poetry.

When I talk people surround me with fear
and I don’t know why.

I look in the cracked glass and it’s the spirit animal
that everyone is afraid of.

But one day, they will want to hear
what my spirit animal has to say.




“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.