I love the days when former students touch base and I hear about all the amazing things they are doing with their lives. I received two of these “updates” this week. Landon, a former student, has been sending me poems randomly for the past few weeks. I love opening my inbox and finding a new one. His poem this week though, was so relevant to what we were doing in class. It was about ignorance and lack of compassion for individuality. The title is “to the insect who’s name i did not know on the sidewalk tonight,” and when I read it to the students, the silence in the room was palpable. Landon is one of those students who writes for the joy of putting pen to paper and I was lucky to get the chance to touch his life for a brief year in school.
I also had the great opportunity to meet Sam last year. She is an inquisitive young lady who captured my heart with her spoken word rendition of Anis Mojgani’s, “Shake the Dust.” Sam was always working at her writing, revising and revising and never accepting that a piece was “finished”. She wrote a poem called “Let’s” in my class last year and this summer submitted it to a poetry contest for Studio 360. She was asked to record her poem, a great honor for such a young writer. Below is her audio recording of “Let’s.”
Even though my class is not a Creative Writing class, we do lots of it. I think it is important for students to be imaginative in their writing. Creative writing allows students to try on lots of different writerly hats and helps them discover the hat that fits them best. it is the best path I have found to develop voice and style in young writers- a skill that is important beyond the English classroom.