Discover more from Everyday Magic
The Magic of Poetry
How Language and Inspiration Make My Life Better
You may have heard that April is National Poetry Month. Poetry has always been important to me in teaching and in my personal life. It is part of my daily practice throughout the entire year.
I love it because what I wrote first were poems.
One of the factors that appealed to me about poetry was that they are cryptic. There are hidden meanings and metaphors and I loved that idea in the reading and the writing of poems. Even when I was young I was always looking for different ways to say ordinary things.
I am celebrating April by writing a poem every day. It is part of my wheel of self imposed challenges that cover the calendar. This time I am using a mentor text as inspiration. The mentor poems come from various sources, but mostly the daily poem from The Paris Review. I am sharing my process and resources on my blog.
An Exercise -
One of my favorite writing exercises to teach is Quickwrites.
I first heard the label for this practice from Linda Reif when I attended a writers at work conference early in my teaching career.
The process is simple. Students and the instructor have copies of the poem being used in front of them. Notebooks and pens are ready before you start reading.
First, read the selected poem out loud and listen to the music of the language.
Second, read it again and pay attention to what sparkles to you.
I always tell my students for the writing they can being with the emotion they feel when we read the poem, a line they like to start with, the title, or what it reminds them of. If there is still hesitation I say, If you are stuck you can begin with “This poem reminds me of….” or some other sentence stem to get their pen moving.
Then set the timer for 7 minutes and everyone writes whatever comes to mind. Keep the pen moving, no overthinking- just write. Yes, the teacher writes too.
Then we read some pieces out loud. The first couple of sessions I read mine first. They notice how I change topics several times, but how they normally overlap each other. They recall phrasing they liked or sometimes we do not comment at all. Then a few students read their writing.
Every time there is more emotion and voice that come through these pieces than any other writing. Maybe it is the mix of the timer and how it feels low stakes to them. Maybe it is because it is written quickly on purpose. Maybe it is some other magic.
All I know is, it works.
Time and time again there are students who never want to share any other work in class, but are excited to share their quickwrite. It is usually because their own writing surprised them in some way or a beautiful sentence came out of the pen they never thought they would write.
Teaching it now, I would have them reread and underline several phrases they are drawn to. Then we would put them at the top of a fresh page and write again with the timer.
I have favorite poets - Do you?
A few of my favorites:
Naomi Shihab Nye is a poet I revisit often. Secrets, Burning the Old Year, and Gate A-4 are three poems I have read, reread and written to. I was introduced to her poetry at an educator writer conference.
Who do you come back to over and over?
Everyone needs more poetry in their life! I invite you to read a few poems over the course of this month and maybe try your hand at a few lines that you are inspired to write!
I invite you to join my PUSH group!!
What is a PUSH group? It is Conversation, Community, Writing
PUSH groups are the heartbeat of my community space.
It is fueling conversation with creative people.
Our next meeting is Monday, April 4th @ 7 p.m. Central time.
Each bi-weekly hour-long meeting focuses on curiosity and wonder. We share wins and experiences, write together, laugh, and open each other to new ideas.
The second meeting of the month will be a writing circle where we will write together, share, and give feedback with a non-critique method.
Payment of $15.00/per month to PayPal will secure a spot for the month.
If you would like to pay ahead you may!
$90 for 6-month enrollment
You can enroll for PUSH groups here. Please make sure to include your email in the notes! You will receive the Zoom link for the month when your registration is confirmed.
If you have trouble with the paypal.me link you can search for me by my email email@example.com or @tammybreitweiser1 in PayPal.
I look forward to seeing you!
NO ONE will be left behind due to financial hardship. If you need an alternative price point just reach out! You are welcome however you are!
Tammy L. Breitweiser writes, walks, inspires, and teaches. She is the conjurer of everyday magic with short concise stories. Her fiction has been published in Gone Lawn, Cabinets of Heed, Spelk, Five on the Fifth, Clover and White, Fiction Berlin Kitchen, and Elephants Never. You can also find her on IG @inspiretammyb.