Kids are Poets at the 67th Street Library's Imagination Academy

  • by Rachel Tiemann

    Last week was an exciting one for the young writers of the 67th Street Library! It was poetry week for the Dream Big Imagination Academy, a free writer’s workshop program for 9-12 year olds. All week long, Tuesday through Friday, these budding writers met at the library from 1-4pm and honed their skills learning more about writing poetry and how they can use it to share their big ideas and dreams with the world.

    Each day a prolific writer came in to teach a workshop about various ways to communicate through poetry, and the week culminated in a celebration on Friday when the group made their own homemade poetry books and shared their writing with each other in a final reading — even snapping their fingers at the end of each reading, Beat poet style!

    The week began with local poet Dave Johnson sharing calligrams — poems that use the letters or typeface to physically form a visual image as an added way to express an idea. The group then used selections from Pablo Neruda’s Book of Questions to inspire their own wild, funny and philosophical questions, shaping their poems into pictures that matched the theme. The next day poet and playwright Melanie Maria Goodreaux arrived and helped the writers “see it, say it and work it,” using the poet Langston Hughes and his dream poem “Harlem” as inspiration for their own dream poems.

    Thursday came with local children’s book author and illustrator Roxie Munro teaching the group how to “storyboard,” or draw out ideas to create an entire book of poetry, fiction, or non-fiction. With their notebooks filled with collected works, these young poets put them all together to build handmade poetry anthology books to celebrate on Friday. We cannot wait to see what is ahead for next week, when we dive into the world of graphic novels!

    This program is made possible by a generous donation from Mr. and Mrs. David Freedman.