Wednesday, April 23, 2008

I'm holding on your rope/Got me ten feet off the ground

Week Four/ Lie poems
Previously Wallace Stevens Poems

In Ken Koch's second book Wishes, Lies, and Dreams he explored the use of telling lies to make poems.(I actually cannot find my copy as it is still in one of the 15 boxes of books in the basement!-Massive built in bookcases in old house/this one...NONE!)
When I workshopped this poem exercise with elementary students I would entice them to play a little game with me called "two truths and a lie". Each of us would stand in front of the classroom and announce three statements about ourselves- like:
I have lived in Europe.
I had a dog named Lucy.
I grow orchids.
We as a group would have to decide which statement was the lie.(I have no flower experience) The kids were way into trying to trick their friends! We would then start to write poems that grew from that fun classroom game. The point was to be able to "trick", but to also be able to look at their small life and think about what they might want. This sort of lie did not have a negative connotation with these kids. They sometimes would use the "lie" idea to frame a new life for themselves. They would tell us about beautiful homes, fabulous parents, exotic places, and really anything they desired.(The absence of gunshot noise)

Sometimes it is hard to admit that you really want something or that yr particular reality is not good and so this was an easier way for them to dream perhaps.
We would start with three line poems that had two truths and one lie and then they would bring it to me and I would circle my favorite line and they would write from there. Sometimes the poems were long and sometimes they made my middle class white picket fence heart break into a myriad of pieces and fall flat against the classroom floor with a thud.


Anonymous said...

that is really a great exercise for anyone. thanks for sharing as i have been thinking about expanding my writing into poetry.

Anonymous said...

what a fantastic way to teach children (or anyone for that matter) that poems can be inspired by ANYTHING! Beautiful and fantastic.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I think this is you! :-)
Great to meet you last night!
What a fun time!!
Hope you had a safe trip back home.

Alix said...

What an amazing post. I love the lying idea and your musings on it's power and meaning


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