About Hands on Stanzas

Hands on Stanzas, the educational outreach program of the Poetry Center of Chicago places professional, teaching Poets in residence at Chicago Public Schools across the city. Poets teach the reading, discussion, and writing of poetry to 3 classes over the course of 20 classroom visits, typically from October through April. Students improve their reading, writing, and public speaking skills, and participating teachers report improved motivation and academic confidence. You can contact Cassie Sparkman, Director of the Hands on Stanzas program, by phone: 312.629.1665 or by email: csparkman(at)poetrycenter.org for more information.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving and all the DETAILS...

Here is an example of the worksheet we used in class! You should try and write your own Thanksgiving detail poem!

Today we had another discussion concerning one of the most essential tools of a Poet: DETAIL. Without detail a poem just wouldn't be a poem! A poet requires the use of all their senses in order to create details that will make the poem better.

We started our conversation by looking at our pencils and applying the five senses to this often looked over and boring writing tool. We discovered that pencils: (and we couldn't say, "looks like a pencil!)

LOOK LIKE: spears SMELL LIKE: wood TASTE LIKE:(if we were to crush them up and put them in a recipe) would be crunchy!
FEEL LIKE: smooth like a blanket SOUND LIKE: clicks

After looking at our pencils we divided up into groups and did some collaboration poems. We learned that a lot of Poets use collaboration when writing poems. Next week we are reading a poem that was written by two poets over a period of several months!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Noise & Image Poems

This week we learned that the poet William Carlos Williams was also a doctor! We also learned that poets use something called repetition in poems to help them create an image. We read the poem Winter by William Carlos Williams and were able to pick out images and detail.

After our writing today we had a really quick review of terms and concepts we've covered the past five weeks and realized that we're all really getting the hang of metaphors, smilies, free verse, rhyming and some special tricks like paranthesis that poets use in poems!

Today we also concentrated on the shape of our poems. As you can see from our examples, we know it's ok to write poems without making a complete sentence and some of our lines only have one or two words!

Here are some of the Noise Image poems we wrote! Enjoy!

Banging by Megan R.

im banging my head
like a clown im
banging my bike to
a pole like a
crazy person
im banging banging banging
all day long like
a ox.

Crashing by Gabriel G.

I was neaigating
In the rain then hit a
sudden reef when none expected
the boat ran in to us crashing
crashing crashing down into the sea.

boats crashing into each other.

Slamming by Joe G.

a skateboard slamming
on the ground with one ollie.
slamming the
rail well
doing a
a body
on the ground.

Noise Image Poem by Sebastion O.

Bang a desk
Bang a drum
Bang your lap
Bang a book
Bang a chair

Making noises.
Listening to the

Zapping by Ahmad I.

Zap zap zap zap goes the clap
Zap zap zap zap goes the map
Snap snap snap snap goes the zap
Yipi Mississippi flipi weres Micki zap
clap flap map they all go zap zap
clackety goes my snappy

The Cereal Box by Odysseus M.

Snap, Crackle, Pop rice crispies.
one snaps,
one crackle
and one Pops.

Why can’t I hear the cereal box?

Stomping Maddness by Velko I.

The kid is
on that ant
with a HEAVY hammer

Clums Pup by Deanne A.

My puppy bumping into the railing stairs
making a swoshing sound like
the wind barking.

The Horrible Crash by Charles M.

My brother
bed the sound is a thud
a bowling ball.

Noise Image Poem by Jihad I.

The bird is falling
mama bird
flew up up up
to it’s nest.

Noise Image Poem by Tracy L.

it’s fourth of July
it’s night time
i burned

My plane ride by Ben G.

When I returned on a plane
I came
on the landing road

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Some poems from November 6, 2007!

Soup Bowl
Osvaldo R.

When I went to Wrigley
Field it was humangus
Like a big soup bowl
(like a bowl full of people)
whith a big spoon that
looks like lights.

The Heat Maker
Patrick L.

I saw a heat maker in
the sky (3 or 4 years old)
it was so hot and yellow I
stared at it and said “I hate
heat maker” now it is not so bright.

My Sister
Monika B.

When I was little
(a little kid in pre-k)
i thought my sister was big
(almost like a giant)
but now big i am
(almost as high)
goodbye smallness

Six Flag
Sarah L.

Six flag so fun
(i don’t like roller coasters, i
throw up)
the rides so much fun
food so tasty
do we have to go now

Rebecca Byrne

Cake is on the table
sitting their watching it
(birthday party)
listening to the song
waiting for it to be over
so we could eat

My Breakfast
Michael J.

i’m eating Strawberry Cheerios (I’d love
to be rich) there are pink cheerios and
white cheerios. i have milk that is warm.

The crazy life
Rebecca E.

a frog is like a painting
(very, very young)
shiny and small
(funny like a circus)
i programmed it to sing
but it just didn’t.

When I got a dog
Patrycja J.

When I was five (i
got a dog. i thought it
was a teddy bear)
i was so happy

now should i name it
smily face (no)
baby (no)
I will name him “My first dog.”

Alliyah L.

when I go to america
(at six years old)
i feel sad
and feeling cold

my hair is the moonlight
at night
being so bright

at america, I feel glad

Narrative Memory Poem
Elizabeth C.

one night I woke up
i heard a banging sound
(wow that was loud)
it was a banging pot that
is like a drum
it was my little sister
she had a pot on her head
banging it
i put her back to bed
and i went back to bed

The Strange Noise
Amy A.

I woke up in the middle of
the night. (There I saw a shadow
that is like a monster.) I heard a
strange noise. It was becoming
louder. I followed it into the
closet doors. I opened it I saw
my dad in there.

Narrative Memory Poem
Ashley M.

I was having lunch
(Man I feel like)
I was in the clouds
When I woke up
this morning!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Our fun with e.e. cummings!

Today we went over a e.e. cummings poem. We began by looking at the painting above in order to discuss the concept we covered last week: DETAIL. We learned in week three how important the element of detail is to the success of a poem.

Afterwards, we looked over the cummings poem, Days of Innocence.

One important tool we learned about today was the use of parenthesis in a poem and how we could use them to show our readers what we are thinking while we are writing our poems! We also learned a new Rhyme Scheme this week: ABAB.

Some wonderful examples of our Narrative Memory poems for Tuesday, Nov 6th will be posted later today! Check back!