There is an exercise I use with my students early on in the semester. It is a way for me to show them proof that they have a unique voice and that they look at things differently than everyone else around them. For this exercise, I use the blackout poetry form. I cut out an article from the newspaper and copy it. I hand out the exact same article to all the students in the class. I show them examples of blackout poetry, and then I ask them to create their own poem using the article I gave them. Afterward, I have each student read what they came up with. I have not had any students come up with the same poem. I use this as a concrete example of their own unique perspective and voice. They were all looking at the same set of words, but each of them saw those words differently. What spoke to one student did not speak to another. This is important when teaching them how to write a research paper because oftentimes they believe they have nothing to add to the conversation that already exists on their chosen topic. It is also an important reminder to them and to me that we are unique, each one of us, that we look at things from a unique perspective, and that is why we should never be fearful of voicing our perspective to others and listening to their perspective as well. We all see things differently and we should embrace that difference and let it motivate us to overcome our fear of sharing our voice with others.
What you choose to do, to believe;
who you choose to love, to marry;
are not to be judged but celebrated –
one human being to another
alive and free.
*Day 14 April 2011 Poem a Day Challenge. Prompt: Ain’t none of my business.
Evenly spaced rows of long ago,
pages filled with promises of forever
friendships and confessions of love
too young to see the jagged paths
*Day 13 April 2011 PAD Challenge. Prompt: Old Relationship
These words flow onto the page
in their own special way and my mind
is weakened by the idea of shaping,
paring, and fleshing them out into your
structure, into what you think is right,
when I’d much rather just let them be
*Day 12 of April 2011 PAD Challenge. Prompt: Write an anti-form poem.
The world might stop spinning,
the sun cease to exist,
the moon could crumble
but somehow we always forget this.
I would tell you the truth
if I thought it were true
that these weren’t the last moments
of what’s been me and you.
*Day 11 April 2011 PAD Challenge. Prompt: Maybe _______.
They are the words I’ve always wanted to hear and still you spill them
as if they are worth nothing. What place must you go to conjure up
the strength to say such things with nothing solid behind them, only air,
forgotten after your next breath and yet I sit here, their sounds tumbling
through my heart wanting to believe while my brain screams never again,
*Day 10 April 2011 PAD Challenge. Prompt: Write a never again poem.
Fresh fire flashes beyond
crashing crests, melodic sounds
streak once silent skies, while dark
arched dolphins announce a new day.
*Day 9 April 2011 PAD Challenge. Prompt: Write a time of day poem.