Students in 826DC’s After-School Writing Lab recently wrote and published a poetry chapbook, Lemonish & Mangoish. You can read the wonderful introduction—penned by Eileen Chong, our equally-wonderful Interim After-School Writing Lab Coordinator—below.
I wish our clever young poets would remember my homely definitions of prose and poetry; that is prose; words in their best order;—poetry; the best words in the best order.Samuel Taylor Coleridge
What is a poem?
A poem rhymes, but not all the time. A poem doesn’t use complete sentences, except when it does, and sometimes it is broken up into stanzas, but only sometimes. A poem should, of course, have a deep meaning—except, of course, when it is pure nonsensical fun.
Perhaps we can’t decide on what a poem looks like, but I think we can agree that poetry is unique for celebrating language on a word-by-word basis. Every single word in a poem is placed with careful, loving intention, so that even the smallest and most overlooked of words becomes as powerful as its fanciest neighbors.
It is an important lesson for a child: even the smallest of us carry an incredible power.
In observance of National Poetry Month, students in 826DC’s After-School Writing Lab took their own spin on various poetry prompts. They transported us to their favorite places and transformed themselves into unicorns and soccer balls. They used all five senses to experience a color. They reflected upon the essence of a beloved person and what makes someone irreplaceable. And sometimes they played with words simply for the fun of it, because poems don’t always have to take themselves so seriously.
There is a wonderful moment when a rhyme connects, when a rhythm is found, the final word put down. It is a surprised moment of pride: I made this—and I like it.
We made this, and we hope you like it too.
Lemonish & Mangoish is available for sale at 826DC’s Tivoli’s Astounding Magic Supply Company storefront and here online for $5 each! Buying it supports all of 826DC’s programs, including After-School Writing Lab.