I was jamming with third grade writers today on a collaborative poem. Writers are sharing possible lines, and I am jotting everything down as fast as my pencil will run. It takes a while to get them to understand that the poem does not have to rhyme. Indeed this poem will not rhyme, although there might be some internal rhyme dotting about.
And, seriously, they keep trying to rhyme. One word, at the end of the line … everything hangs on it. If they think of something that fits … wowza. If they don’t … struggle. Disappointment.
So I push. Make them call ideas faster. Make them forget about the rhyme. Whisper their names even if they haven’t raised their hands. These are creative thinkers for sure, so they almost always have something hovering inside there. More often than not, they whisper in return.
Let it out, poets. I want to know what words taste good to you. I want to know your pure thoughts. And, by the way, if I had written the line “feels like magic pressing against my face” I would be turning cartwheels. That’s good, Alice. That’s really good.
I did contribute, because I still get to play, even if I’m all grown up. In 302’s poem, I added: “indigo night … stars flicker, bright.” I’d like to think it works. Plus I like the word indigo. Also I was holding the pencil, and I really wanted to be a part of those poems.
Finally, I rearrange. I show them what they said, except in a different order. Here it is. A poem. We were loose and messy and raw and we wrote a poem. Slip the bonds of conventions, friends. It’s poetry, not a district writing test. There will be time for that. Fly free.
(I will share their poems in a different post, so the writers can read the work without my commentary on their awesomeness.)