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Elementary School

Storm Poem

This is a poem came out of the most recent Poetry Joeys workshop taught by Joni Wallace. Poetry Joeys is part of the University of Arizona Poetry Center's Family Days program. For more information, visit the Poetry Center's website.

Photo Credit: Cybele Knowles

Storm Poem

The wind howls
the lightning crashes
the thunder roars
the rain pounds
the trees sway
the ground floods
the sun is gone
the clouds are here
the water gushes in my boots
as I walk through the rain
the puddles splash
the water sprinkles
the rivers over fill
the breeze softens
the lightning lessens
the rain stops
the puddles dry
the sun is here
the clouds are gone
the storm is over
the storm is gone.

-Anonymous

Photo Credit: Cybele Knowles

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Friday, September 23, 2011

UA News Slideshow Interview: Summer Camp at the Poetry Center

The Poetry Center will run two more camps this summer, taught by Erin Armstrong and Elizabeth Falcón, The Invention of Hugo Cabret for ages 9-12 (June 20 - 24) and Introduction to Myth-making for high school students (July 11 - 15). Visit the Poetry Center website for more details.

Click here to visit the UA News site.
 

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Saturday, June 11, 2011

World of Words: A homophonic poetry activity for all ages

Jillian AndrewsIf you enjoyed the activities at our Young at Art Festival, or if you weren't able to make it, below are the directions to one of the poem-making activities led by UA student and teaching artist Jillian Andrews. Enjoy!

Materials

  • Blank paper
  • Markers
  • Scissors
  • Poems in various languages
  • English translation of each poem

Preparation

  • Print 4-5 poems in various languages.  Unfamiliar languages are best, in order to make sure the translation is completely based on sound, and not on previous knowledge of the language
  • Set out the materials and an example of your own "postcard poem"
  • You can choose to print world maps to have the kids guess where in the world their poem was written.
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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Japan Poem

The power plants are breaking
its thorns are breaking
its leaves are breaking
the plates go up and down

one plate goes on the other
one plate turns on another
(that makes an earthquake)
the salamis are going up and down

this is the ocean I'm drawing
an island that only has salt water
salt water  salt water
maybe I could visit Japan    

if I don't die

--Willow Falcón, age 4

Photo Credit: Cybele Knowles

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Thursday, May 12, 2011

Summer Camp: The Invention of Hugo Cabret

by Erin Armstrong

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brain Selznick is a book that I picked up last year, and I have not been able to put down. Recommended by a friend, I spent an afternoon devouring Selznick's creative narrative and exquisite drawings, and I try to pass on this beautiful book to as many readers as I can. I believe that this is one of the most innovative novels in children's literature to date. This book is told in both illustrations and words, and this combination of art forms allows for a sensory experience like never before. Follow Hugo through the streets of Paris as he discovers more about his father's old obsession with automatons, meets a young girl, Isabelle, and works for a grumpy old man in a toy booth who has secrets of his own. Once you delve into the world of Hugo Cabret, you'll find yourself enamored not only with Hugo but the drawings themselves. Selnick brings his obsession with the cinema to life and in his words, "the book itself is filled with silent movies."

This summer the Poetry Center will be exploring Hugo and his world as we do a week-long immersive camp. Students will do writing activities based on the book, which will involve stretching their imaginations and giving their creative sides a chance to soar. If Hugo and his world interest you, come explore it with us!

For more information on the book, please check out this website: http://www.theinventionofhugocabret.com.

For more information on the Hugo Cabret and other Poetry Center summer camps, visit poetry.arizona.edu/k12/summercamp.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Young at Art Festival: Puppets Amongus Interview

On April 30th the Poetry Center will host the Young at Art Festival, celebrating Tucson youth artists and local community organizations. There will be day long activities for all ages, including plays, readings, chalk artists, musicians, puppet shows, a variety of word inspired crafts and activities including bookmaking, a poetry slam, haiku improv, and food made by Blue Banjo Barbecue served all day long!

For a complete schedule of the Young at Art Festival, click here.

Puppets Amongus is one of many local arts organizations performing at the Young at Art Festival. Sarah and Matt Cotten of Puppets Amongus were recently featured on Arizona Illustrated. Watch their interview below!

 

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Inspired to Teach: Writing with second graders

Jillian AndrewsWhen I signed up for Laynie Browne's "At the Intersection of Teaching and Writing" course at the University of Arizona, I didn't expect to fall in love with teaching.  I thought I would get a fun elective credit toward my Creative Writing degree and get to work with cute kids in the process.  The course has forced me to reevaluate this notion of teaching poetry as a fun pastime, and to consider teaching as a career.  I have never been so taken aback by my reaction to a college course, and I have never felt so passionately about an assignment.  Working towards a residency has been extremely fulfilling, and interacting with a classroom of second graders has been nothing short of world changing.  As a writer, it is so easy to forget why I do what I do.  Aren't I just trying to get a degree?  But, as it turns out, I am after so much more, and it took the talents of seven year old children to remind me of that.

Every time I visited Ms. Dunn's second grade classroom, I remembered why I fell in love with writing in the first place, and why it's not just work, but art that has the power to change the world, or at least my small part in it. I was astounded by the raw artistic talent that second graders possess, and the absolute confidence with which they put forth this talent into writing that is shockingly beautiful.  They don't have the same inhibitions that adults have, and their writing is full of vulnerability, but also an incredible assuredness.  They know their imaginations to be the truth, and I have yet to witness one of Ms. Dunn's writers second guess themselves after putting pencil to paper.  What they produce is full of personality and life, a part of their limitless inner self set to words.  Their confidence inspired me to find my own, and their pure delight at creating poetry helped me recreate my own love for something that was rapidly becoming just a major, a subject that I took classes in so I could earn a diploma. Because of this, I am tremendously excited to work with second graders next semester as I begin teaching, and my only worry is that I won't be able to give them as much as they will teach me.

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Inspired to Teach: A morning writing adventure

Ash FriendUniversity of Arizona's Poetry Center rises up from the ground in clean, straight lines and sharp angles, all steel and glass. It is legendary within the English Department for being home to the extensive poetry library and for the authors who come to do readings. I've been at the U of A for three years and have had the Poetry Center extolled to me in numerous classes, but never knew where it was.

It's a Saturday morning in October and I'm on my way to assist with a session of Poetry Joeys. I'm a little nervous as I walk up--for a writer, I am considered annoyingly gregarious, but in truth I am an introvert with somewhat severe social anxiety. There have been many Christmas parties and other social functions which I have bailed out on at the last minute due to impending panic. This game of 'social activity roulette' adds a sense of uncertainty to every occasion.

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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Celebrating Dead Poets: Louise Bogan (1897-1970)

Louise Bogan"Let all birds feast upon the poets' bones, then sing!" - 1981 inscription by William Pitt Root on the Poets Cottage at the original UA Poetry Center

Born in Maine the daughter of a mill worker, Louise Bogan was the fourth Poet Laureate of the United States and one of the most notable female American poets of the twentieth century.  She was poetry editor for The New Yorker from 1931-1969,and she published six collections of poetry during her lifetime.  After her first marriage, Bogan began her career as a writer in New York City where she would remain for the rest of her life.  Bogan is noted for her formal style and opposition to the confessional poetry that was popular during her lifetime.  While few details of Bogan's personal life are public knowledge, her work continues to speak for itself today.  Bogan read at the UA Poetry Center on February 15, 1967.

Much of Bogan's poetry is available online through the Poetry Foundation website, including "A Tale" and "Medusa."

Several audio recordings of Bogan reading her poetry are also available from the Poetry Foundation and the Academy of American Poets, including  "The Dragonfly" and "Statue and Birds."

--Julie Swarstad

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Inspired to Teach: Thoughts from a teaching artist in training

by Daniela Ugaz

Daniela UgazDaniela moved to Tucson about a year and a half ago to start her MFA. Since then she's been spending some of her time writing, some of it teaching, some of it reading, organizing, scrounging up money and, without which none of the other things would be possible, napping! Life is good.

Part I.

I started working with kids when I was twenty. That was four years ago. Now that I think about it, actually, I babysat a couple times when I was in my early teens. It was a little boy. I don't remember his name anymore. I didn't like babysitting very much, I remember that. And the boy's mother stopped calling after I lied a few times, saying I couldn't, saying I had a swim meet or play practice. The next time I worked with kids I was a teaching assistant for a summer journalism workshop for "at risk" middle schoolers. Those kids were hard on me, or maybe I took it that way mistakenly. I'll never be president, one of the boys once said to me. The teacher had just said something like you can be anything you want to be, as long as you set your mind to it. I didn't know what to say to him. I liked the idea of that job more than the job itself.

What changed?

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Tuesday, February 8, 2011
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