Inspiration. A poem. A finished product?


On Friday, April 1, I got to spend the afternoon with a fool for all seasons, Bryan Crandall, of the Connecticut Writing Project. In a day full of Teacher PD, I most looked forward to his afternoon poetry session. He’s creative. He’s different. He’s fun. He’s captivating and captivated. Bryan’s enthusiasm for teaching and learning is inspiring. So here’s a poem I wrote, inspired by the session

Appearance – obsessed New Yorkers
stream as
a robot
customizes wires.
Cutting edge
Wires and brackets
Wires and brackets
The wave of the future
A hunch
They do it a lot.
It’s just easier.

Weird? Sure. What does it mean? You tell me! It came from an activity in which we “deworded” magazine articles, searching for words that seemed poetic.


A deworded article, some notes, and a draft

Another activity had us listing words that began with the same sound. For me, it was hard c. From a list of eight words, I put together what I’m calling a “poetic fragment”.

   Crazy captivates
   Catastrophe coagulates

I think there’s more there, but like Miss Rumphius, I do not yet know what that will be. The first line immediately reflected our culture, particularly politics. The second line had me thinking about how disaster brings us together. On Saturday I ran the 5k for Sandy Hook. In driving rain, about 2,000 of us gathered together to remember those taken in one of our greatest tragedies. Catastrophe coagulates.

Over the last two days, my school was blessed to welcome author Ralph Fletcher. I am continually awed by his ability to catch those moments that pass most of us by and share them with the rest of us. Read Twilight Comes Twice, and you’ll see what I mean.

Ralph talked to staff about using mentor texts to help students see what’s possible. He spoke with students about finding, and often embellishing, moments in their own lives to inspire their writing. These are simple messages, but important ones. They take the mystery and magic out of writing and make it accessible to everyone. Read and write. Open your eyes, your ears, and your heart, and write. Just write.

Tonight, as everyone in my house sleeps, I write. Thanks Bryan and Ralph for the inspiration.


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