Celebrate Sonoran Desert plants with two poetry activities!


The Arizona Plant Festival, which launched on November 12, offers "exhibits that engage, empower and delight," including two lesson plans from Writing the Community teaching artists Saraiya Kanning and Sophie Daws. These activities, inspired by poems in The Sonoran Desert: A Literary Field Guide, were created for elementary school students but are suitable for kids (and adults!) of all ages:

Kanning's lesson plan, based on Eric Magrane's "Velvet Mesquite," invites participants to practice their anaphora skills while writing a collaborative poem from the perspective of a mesquite tree. The activity opens with a discussion of mesquites and ends with an invitation to draw your own. The only rules? To create your own  unique version and, "Fill up the page! Let your tree grow from the bottom to the top to the right and to the left!"

In "The Power of Plants to Quench an Unnameable Thirst," Daws draws inspiration from "Brigham's Tea" by Gary Paul Nabhan and asks participants to observe the world around them, learn about the medicinal properties of Brigham's Tea, and write a two-stanza poem from the perspective of a plant. "Personification allows us to live life as that plant as well as possess its magical powers!" Daws writes.