Thursday, June 27, 2013

Poetry Discovery With Children


            We’ve been invited to ThePoem Farm for Poetry Friday, hosted by Amy Ludwig Vanderwater, author of the recently published gorgeous poetry book, Forest Has A Song!  Thank you, Amy!

            I had another post nearly ready and then my four-year-old granddaughter spent time with me this week, and I heard her create beautifully musical songs when we drove to different places.  Although often her words are nonsensical, her parents have sung and played enough music for her that she seems to know innately that poem-songs have rhythm and rhyme.  The happy tone I heard certainly was a bit magical. 
       Later, in another magical moment, we walked around my new garden/back yard and picked flowers she chose to take home.  She said, “these colors just fill my heart, Grandma.”   Now, I tell lots of grandchildren stories, and like all grandmothers, I think mine are good, and I hope they bring cheer to those who don’t have the chance to spend time with young children.  And this was just a lovely thing that happened.  I shared with her parents and thought no more about it.
        But then, Thursday morning, I received the online articles from Orion magazine, and one is worth reading for those of us who work and write for and with children.  


        Richard Lewis shares A Wilderness of Thought, Childhood and the Poetic Imagination.  If you don’t have time to read the entire article, scroll toward the end to read the part about his work in imagining a meadow, and the few poem examples that he shared.  I love Aisha’s especially, that begins “My meadow is beautiful.” 
The cabin I recently sold, and our special meadow.

           Because of this, I researched further, discovering that Richard Lewis is the founder and director of The Touchstone Center for Children, a non-profit center “established in the belief that all persons have natural creative, imaginative and artistic capacities, which when encouraged and allowed to develop, find unique expression in each individual.”  There is a list of numerous books published by the foundation, also books and articles by Richard Lewis about his work with children. 
          I hope if you already know about this center, you will enjoy the article, but the center itself is a source of much inspiration for writing with children.  It was a lovely discovery Thursday morning.

29 comments:

  1. What a stunning article and center. Thank you, Linda, for bringing this to all of our attention. (I am pinning this information!) Your granddaughter's words do bring cheer to me here in WNY, and I'm wondering if you are keeping wee notebook of them. So beautiful. Happy PF!

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    1. Thanks Amy. Yes, I'm keeping some of them written down. I need to figure out how to record those songs, too! I'm glad you enjoyed the article, I was so excited to read it!

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  2. I just had a nightmare (about bugs!) so it was nice to come visit you and find something soothing :-) I liked reading the children's poetry in Richard Lewis' article. So many interesting bits, like four-year-old Adrian's description of the rain, and Philmore from Liberia's thoughts about the road. And Jennifer:
    The slither of light is very beautiful.
    As I look through it I can see the world.
    Glad you had a good week with your granddaughter!

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    1. I suppose we can relate your nightmare to summertime; the bugs are abounding here, in the house & out! Yes, I loved reading what the children did, too!

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  3. Such a wonderful post this Poetry Friday morning, Linda! Your granddaughter's words are reflected in Lewis' point:
    "Certain pieces of writing, certain gestures of thought that children share with us can become emblematic—they are entryways to understanding the power of a child’s way of gathering insights." How marvelous to be a part of sharing and shaping how children respond to the world around them!

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    1. Thank you Tara! It is a joy to hear what she has to say, and the article was just so special to consider. I'm glad you liked it!

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  4. Thanks for sharing this article, Linda. I loved your granddaughter's words. They must have filled your heart too.

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    1. Thanks Laura. I thought of you when I read those words with all the work you do with children and poetry!

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  5. "Colors fill my heart!" Love the sweet heart of your granddaughter and how you are nurturing her to appreciate and love nature. Thanks for the article link. Makes me want to start a collection of natural things for poetry prompts. I once brought in shells and the poems were magical. Nature does that!

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    1. Yes, I have a few things in my 'poetry suitcase-a la Janet Wong', but then Lewis' article came along and has inspired me to add more. Thanks, Margaret!

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  6. Thinking of your granddaughter singing makes me smile! Thank you for the article and information about an oh so worthy foundation. Wishing you "meadow" time! xo

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    1. Thanks Irene. It is both special and hilarious to hear what she does in the singing! And I was so excited to read this that I just had to share!

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  7. I love the innocent wisdom of your granddaughter's words. What a lucky little lady to have someone who hears her words and realizes what a treasure they are! Thank you for all the lovely info here today.

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    1. I imagine you have a few stories to tell, too, Robin! Hope you enjoy the article-really special work with kids!

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  8. What a fabulous article, Linda -- Lewis articulates what many of us have known about children and their "poetic" imaginations all along. It's natural, inborn, instinctual -- and sadly, too often not nurtured, valued, and part and parcel of who they become as adults.

    Loved hearing about those magical moments with your granddaughter -- what a gift her words and made-up songs are. No filters or censors with young children -- their pure thoughts should always be cherished. Do hope you can find a way to transcribe her songs. :)

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    1. Thanks Jama, so glad you liked the article, wish many would be connected like this to the out of doors! I think I'll try to do a video, but just do the recording on my IPhone. Might work!

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  9. That is such a beautiful essay -- thank you for sharing it. I am always startled by the effortlessly beautiful imagery children sometimes produce when they write.

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    1. The poems were breath-taking, I agree. Children don't always have the opportunity to just "be" outside, and then record their thoughts. Thanks Katya

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  10. Thanks for the wonderful article--such a nice reminder of the wonder of a child's viewpoint. And your granddaughter's color-filled heart certainly illustrates it.

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    1. Thanks Buffy-so happy you enjoyed it.

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  11. Stunning little poems, I absolutely loved TO BE ALIVE. I have been thinking about the word alive a lot lately. I will read the article in its entirety as I can see it is valuable. Thank you Linda, always.

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    1. Isn't it great to find those connections, Betsy, like you thinking about 'alive' and here is a poem for you. Love it! Thanks!

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  12. This post "fills my heart," Linda - thanks for sharing such a treasured time with your lovely granddaughter, and those terrific links.

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    1. Thanks Robyn, every time is certainly special, like the time with your children now!

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  13. Lovely! Thank you for this!

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  14. "These colors just fill my heart." Love it! I always think children are such natural poets. She must get it from her grandma. ;o)

    Thanks for the links. I'm intrigued and off to check them out.

    Cathy

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    1. I guess we're just trading links, aren't we, Cathy? Hope you enjoy the info! Thanks!

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