Overheard at a View Ridge Elementary School Poetry Reading

Last week, as I sat in the back of the View Ridge Elementary School library, several classes of fourth graders began to file into the room, prompting me to consider the most appropriate attire for an elementary school poetry reading. The available options included: a neon-green Seahawks knit hat (with blue tuft topper); a purple and pink, color-blocked sweater dress; a black sweatshirt overlaid with a sequined skeleton wearing a pink bow; a dapper blue suit with a bow tie. Paralleling this wide range of ensembles the students selected for their moments on the mic were the words they spoke into it—descriptions and repetitions and images they had crafted and erased and reworked with their WITS Writer Kathleen Flenniken, over the past several months. Below are highlights that resounded in my own mind: lines filled with the boldness and brightness that young people wear so well on their sleeves.

—Erin Langner, WITS Program Associate & Sonder Editor

“My heart is shaped like the Ring of Fire (only closed up by blood)”—Quentin C.

“As I peel the refrigerator I start to stir vegetable soup. As I slice the snowman’s nose I melt in the stew.”—Maria K.

“My mind is the color of snowflakes spinning in the wind”—Sam S.

“I’m too old to whine in the store but I’m too young to go bungee-jumping in Mexico.”—Caroline O.

“You can have my room if I can have the basement that creeks”–Charlie S.

“The weirdest day of my life was when I saw zebras playing brass”—Andrew W.

“Why are you so slithery? Why is your tongue so scissor-y?”—Max M.

“My heart is shaped like a football instead of my fist.”–Victoria A.

“From here I can see thousands of other men rising around me. I know I am different, tomorrow I will be different”—Nicholas S.

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