By Olivia S., Greer S. and Maria F., WriteGirl interns
Today (Friday the 13th!), WriteGirl began its first session of summer poetry workshops.
The girls looked at each other across the room; some grimaced hesitantly while others were already busy at work ‘destroying’ their brand new journals. The exercise: scribble, doodle and mar the intimidating perfection of the empty books. Our mentor/teacher/leader/poetry goddess, Brande, advised us to think of the journal as a creative place, somewhere we can make mistakes and write imperfectly and as the exercise progressed even the most organized girls began to ‘ruin’ pages. By the time we snapped our journal covers shut, our journals felt more familiar and more accessible (though some of us were a bit sad that they’d been wrecked).
Then we began an exercise similar to the childhood game of telephone but instead of whispers we passed a poem; each girl added two lines of her own but she was only allowed to read what the previous girl had written. Much to our surprise the finished poem made sense; in fact, it came full-circle starting and ending with an analogy between water and emotions.
After these warm-ups we began to write a poem about our week, converting a simple list of activities into something more rhythmic; even though we were given a template, each girl’s unique, creative voice came out in her poem. As we added the final touches to these poems, Brande revealed a plate of funky looking vegetables (among them, okra, flying saucer squash, habaneros and hot Thai peppers). Each girl grabbed one and we then spent a bizarre 10 minutes closely contemplating our chosen veggie. Once we had characterized every flaw and variation of hue we began to personify them in poems. Some were dramatic, some understated and some humorous.
Ruby P. age 14, wrote a memoir style poem from the perspective of her oyster mushroom, “I remember it/ for I was only three/ Laying under this fine shady tree/ Along came a lady with two sharp things/ And she cut me up!”
To wrap things up we all wrote advice haikus, taking the best piece of advice we’ve ever been given and transforming it into a poem. For minutes, every girl was tapping and counting out syllables and the finished results were inspiring and fun.
Some samples include:
“To forget someone
You have to want to forget
Or just live with it.”
“Bad poems, ugly pages,
Awful words, cold-hearted rages
Leave them all unsigned.”