Virtual Kids Create: April is for persona poems!


Hello and welcome to Virtual Kids Create! This is a self-paced version of the monthly kids day we host at the Poetry Center and includes age-appropriate language arts workshops for children from infancy to ten-years-old, developed by our incredible facilitators. April's theme is persona poems which, according the the Academy of American Poets, are defined as poems in which, "the poet speaks through an assumed voice." The activities include read- and sing-a-longs, and creative writing exercises for pre-school and elementary students. Feel free to use this as a guide to create your own at-home, structured Kids Create, or pick and choose activities you think the kids in your community might enjoy.

Infant to 3-year-old read-a-loud & sing-a-long:

In this video, Kids Create facilitator Kathy Sutton reads persona poems by Charles Ghigna, Renée LaTulippe, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, and Lollie Butler:

Musician Gabrielle Pietrangelo leads a sing-and-read-a-long that includes "You Are My Sunshine," "De Colores," and the book One Earth, written by Eileen Spinelli and illustrated by Rogério Coelho:

4-6-year-old writing workshop: Persona is another word for "mask"

"Did you know the word 'persona' comes from the Latin word meaning mask?" asks facilitator Sophie Daws, "Masks are decorative costumes that are made to look like the face of something or someone other than the person wearing it. A mask could be made in the image of a character in a play. A mask can be an animal’s face!"

As part of this activity, you'll be invited to create a mask inspired by your favorite animal, and write a poem from the perspective of that animal inside of it.

7-10-year-old writing workshop: Hulk Persona Poem

"A persona poem is written in the first person," writes facilitator Chalese "Chay the Poet" Potts, "The poem is intended to be personal and written in a biographical way. In this case, this activity challenges the writer to complete a persona poem from the Incredible Hulk’s perspective. The writer will imagine themselves in the Hulk’s shoes and tell a story to the reader.  The writer will use Hulk’s memories (which you can invent!) as the driving force in the poem."

The inspiration for this prompt is an excerpt from a persona poem by Greg Santos called “Hulk Smash!”

Photos are by Joni Ludlow, Brayden Anderson and Rhoda Alex.