Apr 1, 2011


A writer whom I admire wrote, "Poetry presents itself unannounced." I read that this morning from his Rumpus email, where I also learned that before becoming a much-admired novelist, essayist and editor he started writing as a poet.

This is striking because, I had found it a bit funny that Bear's class of first-graders were asked to try their hand at poetry. At age 7? What can come out of that? Their Writer's Workshop started with units on drafting How-To's, writing about Small Moments, then moving onto Personal Narratives, Fiction and Non-Fiction. These all made total sense to me. But Poetry?

Then again…

Poetry presents itself unannounced. Writers really just have to let it out. Unleash. Abandon self-consciousness. It is, indeed, the most basic, most important aspect of stringing words together to express thoughts and emotions, and spin stories. Even young writers can, as Bear's Teacher Tina explained to her students, "look at something and describe it in a different way." Instead of the usual, try the unusual. Bear's first attempts...

It's like a knife
with black blood
in the hands of a thief

A meteorite
crashing to Earth

White Board
Like a knight's shield
Super strong
Defeating a dragon

Looking at his first attempts at poetry and his own imaginative metaphors, the whole poetry-at-age-7 thing really makes sense. I get paid for my writing, but I could still learn something from first grade Writer's Workshop. Even Stephen Elliott confirms this. Time to pay attention to my inner poet and write better than usual!


Nana said...

Proud Ninang moment. Beautifully said, Bear!

MZMackay said...

I love the snippet on the pencil. Reminds me of how I once wielded my pen, and stole people's good feelings, and made them cry.

Oh dear. I did not mean to do that, honest.

Go Bear!


Your faux-poet Tita.

MZMackay said...

Oh, and another thing.

I am so happy to see that this is how they teach writing now in Manila. I wish we were taught this way. I am just learning all this now.

Nona said...

Why thanks Ninang! And to think he once complained me "poetry is lame" while we had to do some exercises for homework.

Listen to that inner poet Mieke! And don't you wish we were taught this way when we were still in school? Anyway, never too late to learn. So here we are...

Cely said...

Yes, beautifully said! That's an amazing way to learn how to write, and he's already a much better poet than me, hahaha.

Nona said...

Hi Cely : ) He is starting to have his own way with words...