Year 5: Family Poetry Night

We were excited for our first school poetry gathering in person since 2019. As you might guess, 2020 and 2021 were online events. Our Madison Poet Laureate, Angela Trudell Vasquez graced our event with her presence and her poems. Click on her name to read a post dedicated to her. The school librarian did a wonderful job of making her space into a writing workshop with stations for concrete, haiku, acrostic and fold-a-poem making. Family members, students and staff between 6 and 60 something sat down and played with words. (en español más adelante)

Acrostic Poem Photo: R. Cuningham

Then, after the workshops,16 of us stood up and read; the verses we’d crafted that evening, or previously, or that a favorite poet wrote. The poet laureate read, as did dads, students, and staff members. I presented a pareado about friendship I wrote for the February 2022 Poetry Challenge. The readings that night were joyful and silly, serious and celebratory; making us laugh or think. Eagle read a haiku near the end as a surprise. That made it a perfect night for me. I was very happy.

I had worked with our librarian, she’s also Rebecca, in the behind the scenes organizing; she enlisted the help of teachers and students (kids’ posters were great!) Parents (including us) volunteered to move the library furniture (rolling book racks!) to shape the space for our event and return it to order. The turn out was great and I appreciated the warmth and connectedness of meeting in person. Gets me thinking, I haven’t held a reading in our backyard in years. This summer?

Do you write poetry? Who are a few of your favorite poets? Please join our conversation in the comments.

I like Octavio Paz, Langston Hughes, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and Cristina Peri Rossi, to name a few. : ) ¡Olé! –Rebecca

Angela Trudell Vasquez Photo: R. Cuningham

Año 5: Noche de poesía para las familias

Estuvimos emocionados por la llegada de nuestra primera noche de poesía en vivo desde 2019. En 2020 y 2021 hicimos el evento en línea. La poeta laureada de Madison nos honró con sus presencia y con sus poemas. La bibliotecaria hizo un gran trabajo en trasformar su espacio en un taller de poesía concreta, acróstica, haiku y comunitaria. Familiares, estudiantes y empleados de la escuela de 6 a 60 y algo se sentaban para jugar con palabras.

Después de los talleres, unos 16 de nosotros leimos los poemas creados en el event, o poemas escritos en otro momento, o poemas escritos por nuestros autores favoritos. La poeta laureada leyó, tanto como papás, estudiantes y empleados de la escuela. Yo presenté un pareado mío escrito para el Reto poético de febrero 2022 sobre la amistad. Las lecturas eran llenas de alegría, cómicas, serias y celebratorias; provocando risa o pensamiento. “Eagle” leyó un haiku original casi al término como sorpresa. Eso fue el toque ideal para mí. Que felicidad.

Trabajé con la bibiotecaria, mi tocaya Rebecca, detrás de las escenas para ordenar la reunión; ella consiguió la ayuda de maestros y estudiantes (sus pósteres estudiantiles eran tremendos). Padres y madres (incluyendo nosotros) eran voluntarios para mover los muebles de la biblioteca (¡los estantes rodantes!) para moldear el espacio para el evento y volverlo al orden al final. Llegaron muchas familias y aprecié la calidez y la unidad de estar en persona. Me pongo a pensar…hace años que reuno con amigos para una lectura veranal en nuestro jardín. ¿Este verano será?

¿Escribes poesía? ¿Quienes son un@s poetas favorit@s? Favor de juntarse a la conversación en los comentarios. : )

A mí me gustan Octavio Paz, Langston Hughes, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, y Cristina Peri Rossi, para contarte unos pocos de los muchos. : ) ¡Olé! –Rebecca

Angela and Rebecca Photo: Rebecca Lemar
Rebecca Cuningham

49 thoughts on “Year 5: Family Poetry Night

  1. I will read these blogs as mentioned in the blog.
    I don’t/can’t write poem, but I get interested to read them. I’m included poems by my fellow bloggers in my blogs and I’m willing to to it more.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Devang. I think we are taught in school that poetry is difficult and incomprehensible without a teacher guide. That is sad to me. Poetry is about self expression and boiling a theme down to its essence. I say if one can write words, one can write poetry. What if you wrote a poem describing yourself using the letters of your first name: D dedicated communicator E eagerly seeking answers V…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, Until last year I didn’t know that I can write blogs, but Now I’m doing it weekly. We had no such class in schools about poem and to be honest, I didn’t interest in it until recently.
        I will try to write a poem.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Glad you’re having a good experience blogging. Next week I will post my monthly poetry challenge. I hope you join in. The form is free verse. The topic is a mystery poem -a description that will allow the reader to guess the subject. More about that on Tuesday. 🙂


    1. Thanks, Aahna! We did have a marvelous time. I appreciate the compliment about the pareado! Yes, one of the parents thought it up within a few minutes in the acrostic workshop, so I asked him to read it aloud.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Neal. Gives me a dose of happiness each year to hear the young poets’ work. As an organizer of the evening I didn’t want to put undo pressure on Eagle, it was their decision to write and read. Fantastic surprise that they chose to join the reader line up! 🙂

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  2. That’s a great idea. Poetry doesn’t have to be head-scratching. There are some basic forms we can follow, but after that, follow your thoughts. When I write I don’t usually set out to write a certain form. The words and the feeling usually dictate (for me at least) how the lines and rhymes come together.

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  3. Rebecca, This sounds so fun and uplifting an experience to craft poetry together and then share its fruit!. Wonderful idea!
    I studied a great deal of poetry and have many favorites. Two poets’ works that I treasure are Robert Frost. and John Donne.

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    1. Thanks, Suzette. It was very uplifting. I’m always stunned at how well kids’ poetry touches upon central truths. They are often closer to the source spiritually than we adults. Wow, Donne’s verses are now common sayings (with a little help from Hemingway in the case of the bell tolls). Same with Frost! I’m sure I’ve read them both before (especially Snowy Evening) but it is good to revisit them. Thanks.

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  4. As you know I don’t write poetry. (Totally suck at it)
    But I like some: Frost, Rimbaud, Verlaine, Villon, and some of the classic 19th century French: Hugo, Lamartine, Musset…
    “Les sanglots longs des violons de l’automne
    “Bercent mon coeur d’une langueur monotone.”
    The long weeping of the violins of Autumns
    Cradle my heart in a languor mundane…
    Those verses were the code phrase spoken on the BBC on June 5th, 1944, to inform the French Résistance that the Allies would land on Normandy beaches the next day…
    Interesting times when war instructions were conveyed in verse…
    Todo bien Rebe?

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      1. “Sous le pont Mirabeau coule la Seine
        Et nos amours
        Faut-il qu’il m’en souvienne
        La joie venait toujours après la peine.”
        (Under the Mirabeau bridge the Seine flew
        And our love
        Must I remember
        Joy always came after sorrow…)
        Apollinaire, 1913

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post! Love books, libraries, poetry, everything! I have a few poetry books published on Amazon. I also post poetry on the blog. My favorite poets are William wordsworth and erin hanson.

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