I’ve always been in love with poetry –but I loved words at a very young age, and my first experience being told to write a poem was a very positive one. My grade one teacher took us to the local arena, and when we returned, she asked us to write an “expressive limerick” about it. Then she explained that meant, “just write what you felt.” I wrote down, “I felt grand!” and away I went, titling the poem, “At the Arena.” Now an avid inline skater and a published poet, I’d like to think I was a natural at both skating and poetry (and I actually come up with a lot of my ideas for my poems while inline skating along the river.)
I also think the way poetry was first taught to me gave me such a positive experience that I didn’t ever fear it. All of my creative writing teachers let me be expressive. They didn’t force the rules. They taught me what I “should” do for a certain type of poem, but let me throw in my own style, too.
I’ve met (or cyber-met) a lot of people from many walks of life while on this journey of writing and promoting my poetry. Many tell me they didn’t think they liked poetry–feared it, even– until they came across mine –and somehow, it spoke to them, and they realized it wasn’t as intimidating or as dull as they’d imagined.
Do you remember the first time you were told to write or recite a poem? Tell me about it. Were you intrigued, or scared out of your mind? Thinking about your experience, what do you think teachers and poets need to do to excite children about poetry, so that feeling stays with them for a lifetime?
I’ll be visiting some schools this year as part of the League of Canadian Poets’ ‘Poets in the Schools’ program, and I think your stories will help me keep the children engaged.
I’m asking this question on my Facebook Author Page too–come join in the discussion!