Among my many hobbies (and by hobbies I mean various online community affiliations and projects), is a nascent love of simple poetry. I’m not a poet by any stretch of the imagination, usually only jotting down a few simple haikus a year or doing some impromptu verse for my daughter at bed time. However, there are a great deal of fascinating writing projects that occur online throughout the school year, and I’ve never really taken part in them. Mostly perhaps because most of the writing projects I’ve watched take shape involve deep, long commitments of time, energy, and educational muscle (two of which I’m usually lacking).
Since I’m in a new position where I get to work with teachers and students rather than run my own classroom, I figured it was time to do away with the time and energy excuse, and start exploring some of these opportunities to share and grow as a writer online. Then I took the next most illogical step, and created my own writing project based around simple poetry prompts and inspiring imagery, calling it the Poetry for People project.
The premise of the Poetry for People project is simple. In celebration of April as National Poetry Month, I wanted to encourage students, teachers, and novice poets to collaborate, write, and share. The end goal of the project is not to produce some monumental piece of content, or tear-jerking poetry. The end goal for the Poetry for People project is to experiment with the process behind writing, how writing and publication is changing in the world of digital and social media, and mostly just to write, write, write. My high school creative writing teacher always had us write each and every single day. No matter how lengthy or serious, it was important for us to write everyday just to get in the habit of it and to feel comfortable looking at our own writing, no matter how raw or terrible we thought it was.
Too often in education the process of pre-writing, drafting, revising, peer-editing, and publication can kill the desire to write in many students (I was one of them in high school). I’m experimenting with this community-driven poetry project to see if there’s a way to capitalize on social networking and blogging.
If you’d like to come be a part of this project, and you have some high school age students that you’d like to participate, it would be awesome to have you join. You can make as little or as much of the project as you want. Use it for a daily poetry writing prompt in your classroom, have students participate in online group discussions to extend your learning, or collaborate with another classroom as you explore Poetry this April. Enjoy!