We really enjoy poetry, literature, theater arts and music around here. (Some of you have taken part in our joy of words through your participation in blog entries like this one.) So it's probably no big surprise that we're greatly enjoying a semester-long jaunt through poetry.
We don't typically use "boxed curriculum" or unit studies which are laid out for us. Sure, they'd be easier, but they're not very flexible if you actually follow them. But last year at the Central Coast Home Education Conference I came across a poetry curriculum which piqued my interest. It involved lots of encouragement, exploration, examples both fun and serious, classic and contemporary. On an impulse, I shelled out for it. Now, deep into it, we're having a blast. The Blackbird & Company Exploring Poetry program covers a variety of poetic styles, and allows for lots of creativity, balancing examples and words of wisdom from poets, guiding students of any age with the assistance of "How to eat a poem," a collection from the Academy of American Poets; "A Kick in the Head," a collection of poetry selected by Paul Janeczko;" and "Seeing the Blue Between," compiled by Janeczo. While we could have run out and picked up the books, I like the way the curriculum interweaves the usage of these three resources as well as art cards (postcards on which various works of art in differing styles are displayed).
So what happens when we sit down at the table (or couch, bed, floor or trampoline) to pick up our poetry studies? Typically, quiet times, but always some laughter, sharing and easy acceptance of each other's creations. It's fun. I find myself giggling along as I compose my own works, too. Nothing Earth shattering, but certainly worth my time if it brings back a light heart.
Remember the cinquain? Today, I introduced the girls to this style which involves five lines (cinc- ) with a succession of syllables. Two syllables in the first line, four in the next, six in the third, eight in the fourth and back to two in the fifth. When I write with the girls, I let whatever comes to mind flow to the paper. Today....
by J. Best
my old lady,
the fur ball of my heart,
why do you vomit on my bed?
Come play with us. Give us a cinquain of your own creation - serious, funny, contemplative. Whatever strikes your fancy.
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