Friday, March 10, 2017

Special Triple Feature: Three Poems by First Graders

I recently had the distinct honor and privilege of conducting a half-hour seminar in poetry via Skype for Mrs. Valerie Satterwhite's first grade class of Patsy Sommer Elementary in Austin, Texas.  For details, see my previous post here:  Afterwards, Mrs. Satterwhite held a little poetry contest among the students, and I agreed to publish her top three picks.  So, I invite you to enjoy "What Am I?" by Andrew Karnes, "STEPHEN" by Stephen Brown, and "FOREST" by Ishleen Oza.

What Am I ?

It has ears like a bear
but it’s much more rare.
It’s out under the moon
but it’s not a raccoon.
Do you need another clue?
Or can you guess?
It’s a Red Panda!

--Andrew Karnes

Silly boy,
Totally rock.
Even an amazing
Pizza eater.
Hungry all the time.
Even funny and

--Stephen Brown

Of dark
Rustling trees in the
Ever forest
Scary and black
Torturing me. Help!

--Ishleen Oza

Editor's Notes:  Master Karnes demonstrates an uncanny command of rhyme and meter, as well as the ability to build suspense in a narrative.  I hope I did not spoil the surprise with the graphic--I gambled that not many would know what a red panda looks like, die-hard fans of Kung Fu Panda excepted (Master Shifu is a red panda).  My family and I are big fans of these little guys--we always look forward to seeing them when we visit the Kansas City Zoo.

Master Brown's poem has a certain whimsical quality that really makes me smile.  It is a fine example of an autobiographical acrostic.  I also share his love for pizza and fear my diet may be ruined after reading his poem.

I thought that Mrs. Satterwhite might have composed "FOREST" when I first read it, but she assures me that the piece was written exclusively by Miss Oza, one of her first grade's most gifted students.  Miss Oza creates a palpable feeling of horror in her acrostic that had me sweating.  I've read poems of comparable quality in speculative poetry venues such as Star*Line.  I will certainly follow her poetry career with great interest.   

It is an honor for Songs of Eretz Poetry Review to debut these budding young poets, all of whom will receive five dollar honoraria for their efforts.  I encourage other teachers at all grade levels, from the first grade to the first year of college, to partner with poets in their communities as a way of enriching the educational experiences of their students.

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