What we write may be medicine to someone else’s needs

This blog title is a quote from Saskatchewan’s Poet Laureate Carol Rose GoldenEagle. She also said: “I encourage those who embrace the written word not to censor their thoughts and feelings, and experiences. It is the purging of truth and wisdom, often in the form of poetry which can be ingested and shared by those who read and thereby experience and remember.”

My digital learning project for EC & I 831 is learning to write and perform poetry. My desire to learn to write poetry is compatible with my desire to communicate transformative ideas with the potential to transform – or at least make people stop, think and feel. My poetry writing project will focus on Spoken Word poems which are intended for performance and typically about community, issues and social justice.

Creative commons photo by THINKGlobalSchool 

I have been fascinated by poetry that vividly paints a picture of mood and ideas through the clever, yet parsimonious use of language. A neighbour, my friend’s mom, who lives down the road from my childhood home in rural Saskatchewan is a poet. I remember reading her poem about emptying her teen son’s pants pockets before she put them in the washer. In the poem of this simple, ordinary act she was able to capture a mother’s wonderment, joy, and pride in her son as well as fear and worry over what the future may hold. Such a talent!

Spoken word poetry is particularly fascinating. Watch Maya Angelou reads an emotional poem about racism and the black American experience. This is a performance poem by Canadian Katerena Vermette as she flips the common negative narrative about Winnipeg’s North End.

Of course, I can only aspire that eventually a poem of mine may have that type of impact. But the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. So today, I will take my first step in spoken word poetry writing.

9 Comments

  1. This sounds amazing! Poetry has always been something that I haven’t been great at, and I think it stems from being a Grade 8 student that had a ton of very negative feedback about my poetry. I haven’t been drawn back to it ever since. I look forward to watching your journey and feel inspired by your work. It sounds creative and very unique. I am excited for you!

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  2. Hi Brenda!
    What a unique and inspiring project. I love that you have chosen to express yourself through the written word. I always admire your willingness to perform and think you will be such an inspiration to your students!!
    How are you envisioning your project? What do you feel you need to learn or seek out to be able to do this?

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    1. First of all. I am an introvert. So this is going to be a challenge for me to perform and make a video record of my poetry. So one thing I will need to do is get comfortable with the idea of show and tell. I know very little about poetry so I am not sure what I need to learn or seek out to write the poems. Poetry.org, poem of the day and You Tube have been my first stops.

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  3. Oh I really like this idea! Poetry is such a unique way to transmit and transcend knowledge and understanding to others. I really enjoy listening to the podcast Radio Lab – https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/radiolab
    They have a few different series on the art of story telling, and some epsiodes feature poetic forms of stories that shed light on rites of passage and different emotional connections to place. I really look forward to hearing more about your project. Are you going to be focusing more on poetic text? Or would there be potential for Oral Poems that could be uploaded to say SoundCloud?

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  4. I’m very much looking forward to this, Brenda. It looks like others have extended some resources for you already, but please let us know if you feel stuck in any way. Also, please start to think about the ways that you can demonstrate your progress in a number of ways as that’s really at the heart of this project!

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