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Poetry Joeys

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

Coming Soon

The WordPlay blog is on winter holiday. Please check back in January 2011 for more great interviews and articles about bringing creative writing into your classroom, home, and community. In the meantime, here's what's upcoming for youth at the UA Poetry Center in the Spring. Mark your calendars.

Poetry Joeys: January 29, February 26, March 19.

Poetry Out Loud Regional Finals: March 3 at 8 p.m.

Bilingual Corrido Contest Concert featuring 2011 winners: April 16

Young at Art Fest: April 30

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Chew On This: Nonsense Stories from Poetry Joeys

Poetry Joeys at the Poetry Center

A few collaborative stories written by Poetry Joeys participants ages 4-6 on December 4th. Children were encouraged to make up their own words and create movements for them. Our next Poetry Joeys will be January 29th at 10 a.m. Hope to see you there!

Once upon a time there was a snoofjay.  He had curly horns and a zebra face, feathers on his head, a lizard chameleon body, and yellow beak.  The snoofjay nacks and snoofs.  At night he dumbers to his snookie.  In the morning he goes to bed.  He has to watch out for the Rhino and the maneless lion.  When the Snoofjay sees people, he says "Zucker.  Zacky."  Then he blows bees and grooks out of his nose.

A long time ago in Neek, eufs and geeks were having a battle.  The eufs wanted freedom, and the geeks wanted juice.  All day long the eufs snooked and all night the geeks fracked.  One day Fweak, the prince of mashed potatoes came riding on his Queaky.  When Fweak arrived he shlushed and he slooped.  The eufs gacked and gracked while the geeks boofed and ookied.  Fweak jumped off his Queaky, raised up his snond, and said, "Quackakeeky!"  The eufs choofed to the city.  The geeks went to San Diego.  And the Prince of Mashed Potatoes wackanacked home. 

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Poetry Joeys: Heroines

Two heroine stories from Poetry Joys this fall.

Poetry Joeys is a Saturday morning reading and writing activity group for children ages 4-10. Teaching artists inspire participants to develop their flexibility with language through creative movement and reading and writing poetry. Upcoming Poetry Joeys on Nov. 13 and Dec. 4 at 10 a.m.

Photo Credit: Cybele Knowles

Heroine
by Emberly

I Dr. Savdenarow have a story to tell you, a story that is beyond a story, to be worth telling. Some people that watch cow documentaries know about me but not many. I save cows and buffalo. Some of my favorite cows and buffalo are Gopi and Ayapahsah. Well one day I decided to take a trip to Ghana. I'd heard of a new ibex hunter named Jospeh Demelo. When I arrived I started off to a national park where many ibex were and lured about three packs with my wheat. I traveled back the next day with my ibex for soon I'd be going back.

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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Poetry Joeys: Kitchen Stories

Three stories from Poetry Joys this fall.

Poetry Joeys is a Saturday morning reading and writing activity group for children ages 4-10. Teaching artists inspire participants to develop their flexibility with language through creative movement and reading and writing poetry. Upcoming Poetry Joeys on Nov. 13 and Dec. 4 at 10 a.m.

Photo Credit: Cybele Knowles

Bag of Flour
by Liam M.

Once upon a time there was a bag of flour named Bob. His friends are Joe the Blender and Peter the Spoon. All of them live with a cranky grandma and a weird grandpa. They come alive at midnight. The cranky grandma and the weird grandpa don't know their utensils come alive! Bob really wants to go to China.

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Monday, November 1, 2010

Knife and Spoon Best Friends

A story from this fall's first Poetry Joeys.

Photo Credit: Cybele KnowlesThere once was two magical best friends who were a knife and a spoon.  The knife was green and the spoon was pink.  They were the bestest friends in the kitchen.  The spoon was a girl and the knife was a boy. 

They loved each other so much that one day the spoon decided to go to Antarctica.  They took the flying pan to go there.  When they got there, they got off and wandered around.  Then suddenly, the knife said, "This looks like a pile of white icing!  Let's eat!"  The knife dumped himself in the snow and gobbled up a hole all the way to China.  The spoon followed him.  When they reached there, they saw that the flying pan was waiting.  "Let's go!" said the spoon.  The knife and the spoon got on the flying pan and they flew back to the kitchen.  "We had one awesome adventure!" they said together, "I hope we have another!"

Carmina is a 3rd Grader at Khalsa Montessori School.  She is a three-time Poetry Joeys veteran.

Photo Credit: Cybele Knowles

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Monday, October 18, 2010

Street Rhyme Rhythm

by Sarah Kortemeier

Sarah KortemeierSarah Kortemeier is a teaching artist and is completing her MFA at the University of Arizona. She also teaches undergraduate poetry and composition courses at the U of A.

The Poetry Center's first fall Poetry Joeys is happening this Saturday, Sept. 25th at 10:00 a.m.

When I taught Poetry Joeys for the 7-9 age group this spring at the Poetry Center, I had the pleasure of working with a class of very energetic and intellectually curious children.  During our first lesson, one boy asked me if I knew what a chimera was: clearly, this was a group of kids who loved words.  I saw immediately that many of the students were deeply attracted to learning the sense of new words; by the acquisition and use of complex vocabulary, they were attempting to achieve a more diverse, complicated, and sophisticated view of the world.  

Needless to say, this class was a blast to teach.

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Storytelling: An Interview with Jordan Hill

Interview by Sol Davis

Jordan HillSol: As a child at a recent birthday party asked after being released from the coils of your tale spinning: "How do you remember the stories?"  In other words, what is your process for storytelling?

Jordan: My process is pretty straightforward--I read or hear a story, and then I try to tell it to someone (anyone!).  If it's written, I might read it again, but the best way for me to remember it is simply to tell it, as much as possible.  I have a pretty good memory, so that helps.  But more importantly is the fact that remembering stories is NOT the same as memorizing, as people often think.  Rather, it is more akin to remembering life experiences.  For the most part, people don't have to work to remember remarkable things that have happened to them in their life (or their day yesterday)--it simply happens, and when someone asks, "How was your day?" you don't think twice before telling the story of whatever happened.  In the same way, if one imagines a story vividly enough (whether through hearing it, reading it, or seeing it performed), then it almost becomes like one's own memories, and simply telling the story becomes as natural as telling a friend what happened to you the other day.

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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Colleen and Anika

AnikaColleen Burns is a volunteer and avid supporter of the Poetry Center. She and her granddaughter Anika are Poetry Joeys regulars and they spend quite a bit of time writing together.  

About writing with Anika, Collen says:

Children Anika's age (3-7) have rich imaginations and large vocabularies that can construct sophisticated stories if the physical act of writing doesn't get in the way. When children are asked to 'write' a story using an unwieldy pencil and unruly paper, this sheer physical act of writing slows down and sometimes can stop a story altogether.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010
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