How did you spend Take Your Poet to Work Day? We want to know. If you write something up that’s a good fit, we might even ask your permission to reprint. Like this, from Callie Feyen. What a marvelous, ticklish, soul-jazz way to spend Take Your Poet to Work Day!
Tweetspeak Poetry arrives in my inbox every Saturday morning, and while I prefer to read things I love on paper, I eagerly delve into the website’s newsletter. Each weekend morning, writers share possibilities for playing with words, telling stories, and ways to notice all that shimmers (or perhaps look at a thing until it does shimmer). It’s like recess.
Last week I read that Wednesday, July 16 was Take Your Poet to Work Day, and the website offered a free coloring book filled with different poets that we can color, cut out, stick on a popsicle stick (or maybe one of those cool hipster red and white straws…are those hipster?), and go to work with a poet.
I printed out the coloring books for Hadley and Harper, then added a few blank sheets of paper for them to add pictures or favorite phrases of poets on, then slipped the pages between two pieces of card stock and tied it up with yarn. We headed to the library for a poetry hunt.
We found a bunch of books with Emily Dickinson and Langston Hughes in them and thought we’d start with those two. Hadley also found some books of poems on Frankenstein. I’m pretty sure Mary Shelley would roll over in her grave if she knew about these.
The girls colored their pictures of Langston Hughes and flipped through some of the books with his poems in them. Harper was very concerned about getting his blazer color correct. I told her that probably, he wore a variety of colors.
“Did he wear sparkly blazers?” my child, who has decided to wear fairy wings wherever she goes, asked. I told her I didn’t think he had blazers with sparkles on them, but I wasn’t 100% sure.
I read some of his poems, then asked which words the girls liked. Harper loved the words, “sweet silver trumpets, ” from Hughes’s poem, “When She Wears Red, ” allegedly written by a gal he once knew in high school. Hadley loved “Low….slow/slow…low-/stir your blood./Dance!” from “Dance Africane.”
Here’s Harper’s picture of the girl with the red dress on.
We also took a look at Emily Dickinson’s poetry.
Harper had a hard time understanding her poems. She likes to look at the pictures that accompany the words. It’s always interesting to me to see how much more she grasps (and grapples with) when there are pictures on the pages. But since she is still learning how to read, it was hard for her to focus on Ms Dickinson. I think she’ll like her in no time, though.
Hadley thought this poem was nice:
“There is no frigate like a book./To take us to lands away, /Nor any coursers like a page/of prancing poetry./This traverse may the poorest take/without oppress of toll;/How frugal is the chariot/That bears a human soul!
She made this picture after she read the poem:
After Hughes and Dickinson, we decided we were getting a little hungry, so we walked back home for lunch. As we walked, we heard Motown coming from a nearby restaurant and as she always does, Hadley began to stomp her feet and shake her hips to the beat (that girl’s hip shakin’ are going to be the end of me, I swear it).
“How’d that poem you liked go again?” I asked Hadley as she danced. “Slow, low, boom, what was it again?” I’d completely forgotten.
“It went like this, Mama, ” Hadley began and she clapped as she said: “Low, ” clap, clap, clap, “Slow, ” clap, clap, clap, “slow, ” clap, clap, clap, “low.” She turned around and said, “Stirs your blood.” Then she jumped in the air and exclaimed, “Dance!”
I think she tested Dickinson’s theory about words living the moment they are said today.
Download your Free Take Your Poet to Work Day Coloring Book