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.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Ode to ode we sing our songs.

If you were asked to write an Ode you may just need to keep this in mind: put the word Ode in the title, focus on details concerning the subject, and remember to really celebrate what you are writing about!

We spent two weeks going over odes and we also did a lot of work with the breaking of our lines in the poems -

Here are some of our Odes! (ode = song in Greek!)

Ode to a blue sky
Lizbeth C.

The blue sky is like
heaven. It picks
me up from the
ground. It is a bright
blue light with cotton balls.
The blue sky is
like a dream of
my own. I love
the sky because
it tells the
sun to come
out so kids
can play.
The sky
tells the
wind to pick
up leaves.

Ode to my room
Michael E.

My mom bought
me a
bed to
put in my

My room has
a tv
I call it
a robot from
the future

my room has
a PS2 I call
a rectangle

my room now
has a poster
that I call a
piece of paper.

Ode to the letter O
Alliyah L.

Why choose a circle?
You could be swirly,
straight, but why
I’m thinking you
stole it from zero
because a zero is an O
O please change
your shape so
zero can be happy

Ode to a banana split
Ryan V.

A banana split is like a rocking
yellow boat in the sea.
tastes like a creamy ice cream with
peanuts surrounding it.
When you move it, it shakes like
a windy storm in the sea crashing in the

Ode to the computer mouse
Ewelina M.

My dad bought me
a computer
that moves as fast
as a rocketship
when I click it
it squeaks
as a cold car
it sleeps in my
and tickles the computer
the mouse has a long
and you could
it everyday.

Ode to a pair of slime
Allen L.

It sounds like
a really
small piece
of salt
rolling in
the wind
free of some
kind of enemy

Ode to an Exclamation Point!
Mark V.

You can make a exclamation point
how ever you want !!!!
If you want to scream just draw
Can you compare a period
with a exclamation? !!!

Ode to Money
Tim P.

It is very green like grass
And it is numbers like days
It is paper like my notebook
And a rectangle like a ruler
Have president face like an apple
It gets me candy like Hershey

An Ode to Polo (imaginary friend)
Claire D.

when you jump out
when you divorced Pola,
when you meet Ezzy,
when curtain had cancer,
when you moved to earth,
did you,
remember your just
an imaginary friend
of mine
Claire something?
Because you were
having so much fun
like a dog.
But did you remember
me Polo?

Ode to a Rose
Kim T.

A pretty red rose bloomed
in the summer,
as people was careful
with the thorns,
with fear they would bleed,
but one bled and made the
rose’s color,
and winter came and the
rose died.

Ode to colors
Mark K.

There are
many colors.
You could
make any
color with
My favorite
blue. The
color blue
is the
oceans water.

Ode to Bungie
Ryan G.

I have played the first
It was awesome
I love the Ghosts
And the
Halo 2
Is better
Cause of dual weapons
And the new Wraith
miss the old weapons
but neither can
Halo 3

Saturday, February 9, 2008

A poem of Questions

This past week we looked at a poem by Pablo Neruda (which is really a pen name), and discovered that you can write a poem using questions!

The key to this sort of poem is to make sure you are making your questions into images
not just boring questions! Remember: Images include details that the reader can actually see!

Look at some of the questions we came up with!

The Never Answered Questions
Lejla A.

How is a bridge a golden path, guiding
us through the night?

Why if hot water mixes with cold
it becomes a hurricane?

Where does the long dark frightening
path with owls end?

Confusing Questions
Kuba S.

Where on Earth
could Venus hide?

Why does gravity
give you a downhill ride?

Why, if a dog is alarm machine
can you be warned by its bark?

Gabriel G.

Why can’t dogs fly
Why can’t cats die
Why can’t I turn into a navy jet?
O why O why do water fountains fly?

Changed Animals
Brittany W.

Why is the puppy a black and
white kitten?

Why did the coyote turn into a
green snake and start hissing?

Why is the orange fish in a
tree, in a birds nest?

Odysseus M.

Why doesn’t lightening give more
power rather than taking it away?

Can you call people who
blow fire, dragons?

When the Earth spins why doesn’t
it feel like a coin going down a hole?

Rebecca B.

Why can’t they just hang a fan on a
plane to make it take off?

What if a green turtle was just a little
rock with moss on it?

Why can’t a lion be a floating
yellow broom?

Patrick L.

How do turtles grow
shells white in the egg?

Which was the first word
to be spoken by the first person?

Claire D

Why, if the moon fell on the
ground and took away little
kids fears?

Can the pirates find there
own gold and the gold
find the pirates?

Who made the grass green
and the sky blue?

The Animals
Dea P.

Where did the black cat
go on a Halloween night?

Why can’t a cheetah turn
into a race car?

Who painted all the pretty
colored birds?

Silly Questions
Amy A.

Why, is the yellow sunflower the sun?

How did the small airplanes hide
behind a dark cloud?

Who put the blue berry into the soft,
white snow?

Adrian F.

What sand does
not get wet?

Where are fluffy bears
in January?

Maria S.

Why did the aliens red
cat gone to the moon?

Why is my book of sadness
being so happy?