This morning I went back to sixth grade. Mills Park Middle School in Cary, North Carolina, invited me and two of my favorite poets to talk to their sixth grade classes about poetry. I will admit to being intimidated by the concept of talking to sixth graders. After all, the last time I talked to someone that age, I was that age. None the less I had a good time and am glad I did it.
I started each class by asserting that I don’t like poetry. Then I talked about art in general and how most art does not move me but those few pieces which do, really do. Then we talked about the five senses and how various forms of art are perceived by the senses. That brought me to poetry and which senses it impacts.
The kids and I also struggled with the question, is a flower art, and could not come to a consensus.
I read a few of my poems and some Shakespeare and Frost. They read some of their poems and we had a little workshop telling the poets what we liked and made suggestions for them to consider.
In one class we decided to write a poem as a group. I gave them the “I quit” prompt and after deftly fending off the popular choice to write a “quit school” poem, we settled on quitting vegetables. Here’s what we came up with:
I quit vegetables!
They taste like tar and oil,
They smell like rusty old pipes,
I would rather eat fried chicken.
But without broccoli my back hand won’t spring,
Without spinach I couldn’t dunk a basketball,
Without carrots I couldn’t find my way to KFC.
So, without veggies we’d only eat Mickey D’s
Instead I’m stuck with mushy peas.
Not bad. What do you think?