Thursday, September 24, 2015

Kerry says ~ Let's Go back to School!

Greetings to all toads, followers and friends. Due to a small mix up in our monthly challenge, I am jumping the gun this week and Hannah will take my turn next week with her Transforming Nature prompt.

Today, I am inviting you all to visit the Ladysmith High School poetry blog somewhere i have never travelled, which features the work of my students.  In September, I challenge four of my classes (Grades 8 - 11) to put in a combined effort to produce a total of 300 poems in 30 days. In exchange for their efforts, I am posting their work to the blog. To date, I have posted 127 poems, with more to capture in the remaining days of September and into October.

It is very difficult to motivate young writers in these times of electronic communication, especially if the work will not be graded but is for extension of creative thinking only. However, I have found that young minds are eager for challenge. I make some suggestions of form to get them started and the junior classes were given guided poems (one of which was based on the Simon and Garfunkel song, I am a Rock). However, I do encourage them to explore their own themes and to express themselves in free verse.

Here are a few examples of short forms:

Sevenling (He Adored Time) ~ Nolulama Msomi

He adored time
Preferred my music on a fortissimo
loved the crisp of a fine apple

However I could not hold a note
but could write him jazz pieces
and smell the pungent smell of his cologne

but he hated flowers

(Grade 10)

Pine Trees ~ Nerisha Maghoo

Snow coated pine trees
diamond needles light the aisle,
enchantment filled me.
Midwinter's allure at prime,
arms frolic with gusty tune.

(Grade 10)

Unrhymed Sonnet
She is the Addiction ~ Ndabezinhle Gumbi

She is the addiction of my very own thoughts
The light and missing piece to my dark soul
like a beautiful bouquet carefully wrought
The majestic being that makes my life incomplete but whole

Her flaws perfectly placed in their position
The reason that sunlight becomes irrelevant
because she brightens up my day; the intrusion
of my concentration but yet she is so distant

She warms my heart and my thoughts but my body feels cold
Too distant for my hands to touch
Too distant for me to hear her sweet toned voice;
Too distant for me to do much

I paid love's price, I felt painful and weary
but that would never change because I loved her too deeply

(Grade 11)


Today's challenge is more of an invitation to explore the posts of September 2015 on somewhere i have never travelled, select a poem of one of the young writers as inspiration for your own poem and help us to complete our target of 300 poems in 30 days. Feel free to quote lines from the poem and to provide a link back to the poem you have chosen. I will post links to your poems on our blog. I would also encourage those of you whose children are still at school, to allow them to participate in this challenge.


Maude Lynn said...

My goodness! I wasn't planning to write today, but I couldn't resist. I read some marvelous poetry on the site. You've definitely got some poets on your hands. Thanks to all of your young writers for allowing us to be inspired by their work.

Kerry O'Connor said...

I'm very happy to share the work of my students and they will be thrilled at any interest shown in their work.
Thanks, MZ.

Fireblossom said...

"Love Is Stupid"! Ha! I know what poem I'm using!

brudberg said...

A marvelous challenge.. I will get back tomorrow with something... Love young talent... love talent period

Hannah said...

What a wonderful opportunity to be inspired by these writer's, Kerry, thank you!!

cosmos cami said...

I may yet come back the challenge, but loooove what I've read here from your students...
That "Unrhymed Sonnet"? I am weak-kneed.

Outlawyer said...

So cool, Kerry! I am having a rather hard time at work but will try to come up with something. K.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

What a brilliant idea for a prompt, Kerry. I remember from our chat at Poets United, how brilliant your students are, and I look forward to reading their work and finding a poem to ignite mine....yay! Likely wont be till tomorrow though.........really great idea for a prompt, and will give these talented young poets a wider audience, which they so deserve. Maybe some of them will join us online as they try their wings!

Outlawyer said...

Really enjoyed this Kerry--I was not sure if we should refer to K. Clark? So said just Kerry, or nothing--just the school--I can't remember, exactly--but am up with something. They are all just tender and sweet and wonderful. k.

Kerry O'Connor said...

Thank you, friends, for your warm response! This is a real bonus for me.

Susan said...

What fun. I went with my model--not censoring--which I hope is ok. Please say something about the student as I glean nothing from the name. I am impressed with the depth and imagery of these poems. Bravo, Kerry.

Fireblossom said...

The students' poems were so good that i just had to do a second one. I hope that's okay, Kerry.

hedgewitch said...

I loved the poems posted here and so many more on the site. What talent, and what exuberance and joy in language your students have, Kerry.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading the blog so much. I am bookmarking it and going back again later to see what has been added. I am so impressed with all your poets and with you for setting them on fire - I hope the passion goes on and on.

Kerry O'Connor said...

Shay, I am very happy to see a Fireblossom 2! Please write as much as you want.

It is always a humbling experience for me to read the poetry of my students. Very often I wish for their perspective on life, which is uniquely moulded by youth, diversity of culture and a new world view that is 21st century.

De Jackson said...

Kerry! What a wonderful idea, and what a gift to your students. As someone who aspired to be a poet very early on, I just want to tell you that you are one of those teachers they will NEVER forget. I loved this prompt, and I plan to keep the link so I can comment on a couple each day. You rock.

De Jackson said...

I fear I may be much inspiration here...

Glenn Buttkus said...

It is so inspiring to witness what you're accomplishing with your students. If only each of us could have had such a teacher. I had to scan a lot of the student's work before Nsiki Gwala became my Muse. Perhaps these days we all mentor each other as we gather in poetic fellowship.

Glenn Buttkus said...

You know just as several students have submitted several poems, we of the dVerse ilk & beyond might do so as well--only 5 days left in September; so let's get to achieving & shattering that 300 goal!

Kerry O'Connor said...

Thanks for your enthusiasm, Glenn! It is much appreciated.

De, I am so pleased you found added inspiration today. It is always a pleasure to read your work.

Glenn Buttkus said...

OK, I managed 5 Sevenlings to add to the challenge; looks odd that my name is now on the Linky List 6 times; but a good cause thrills me.

Kerry O'Connor said...

Your contribution is much appreciated, Glenn.

KL Clark said...

I have updated the page on 'somewhere i have never travelled' to include links to all your poems. You have added 22 to our tally. I can't wait to show the students how well received their poetry has been. Many thanks to all, and especially for the generous commentary.


Fireblossom said...

Kerry, be sure to let us know their reaction!

Margaret said...

How fun. I actually think this should be a monthly feature. I believe I am back in the game of writing poetry as this first move is done - We move again to the mountains in June. I've missed the Garden.

Susie Clevenger said...

What a wonderful prompt! I am a bit late, but I just had to write for it. Oh, and what amazing poetry from your students!