If you are like me and you do Friday Poetry most weeks, you don't plan ahead. You just let the week roll you over and come up for air on Friday wondering what poem will grab you. It's a fun way to do it. I look forward to waking up early on Friday morning and browsing my poetry books or online poetry spots like Poets.org and the Poetry Foundation. I rarely plan ahead.
This week I am doing something different, and I invite you to join me. It is my turn to host Friday Poetry right here at a wrung sponge, so I am going to make it a project. Back in September I posted about our sixth graders doing something they call "Poetry in Place". They chose favorite poems, typed them up, printed them and posted them all over the school in appropriate places. Jack Prelutsky's A Pizza the Size of the Sun in in the kitchen by the microwave, for instance. I thought it would be great fun to do the same thing with all of the Friday Poetry bloggers. What if we all, all over the country (world?) shared our favorite poems in public places?
Here's how I explained where we got the idea from at our school: The sixth grade teacher found this project idea in Georgia Heard's book Awakening the Heart; Exploring Poetry in Elementary and Middle School. I have mentioned this book before when I was posting about Nanci Atwell's Lessons That Change Writers. Heard tells about how she first encountered the New York City Poetry in Motion Project when she found a poem posted on a public bus. She also found poems posted in the women's rest room at the Columbia University's Teachers College. A secretary started doing it at the Teacher's College. Every week she posted a different poem. She had women from all over the college coming in to her office and asking for copies of the poems she posted. Once a man came in and when she asked if he had been in the woman's restroom he admitted that he was the window washer and he was reading the poems through the window as he worked. He wanted a copy of one for his daughter.
These days I am really tickled with Jane Yolan's book Here's a Little Poem; A Very First Book of Poetry. It is a collection of poems perfectly suited for toddlers and preschoolers. I am delighted to share them with my little boys at home. So for my first "Poetry in Place" attempt and I am planning to offer copies of some of my favorite pages to share with the teachers at their day care. I am going to ask that they let me post some on the parent's bulletin board, just for fun. On Friday I'll tell you which ones we hung and what the reaction (if any) has been. I have to admit I am feeling a little shy and silly doing this. I'll be embarrassed to tell people I want to post poems on the bulletin board. But that just makes me stubborn enough to want to push myself to do it anyway. If I don't share these delightful poems with the families and teachers at our day care, who is going to?
What do you think? Can you think of a favorite poem that would go well in a place you often visit? The perfect place is one where people stop and wait. A place where they pause and have nothing in particular to do. Good places might be the hallway by the elevators, the vending machines, by the coffee machine, in the post office, next to the bank ATM machine, on the grocery store bulletin boards, at the vet, the dentist office waiting room, the bus stop, the lobby of your children's school... Where else can you think of? Let's go for it!