A Flower of Your Own Making

The students and I had a tradition in our poetry classes. Before we began reading and writing each day, we made sure to first “turn on our imaginations” by flipping the invisible switch on our heads, or pushing the invisible buttons on our chest, or cranking the invisible lever on our back. Each student had their own special method. I invite you now, before going any further in this collection, to turn on your own imagination. If you are looking for advice on how to do it, perhaps you can ask one of the amazing featured poets.

Click here to read the full anthology!

I only had four weeks to spend at East Village Community School. In that short time, the poets blew me away with their creativity, their playfulness, their wisdom, and their generosity with themselves and with each other.

Poetry should always be an act of generosity and of empathy. By its very nature, it opens us up. It encourages us to consider other perspectives. It demands that we reimagine the world in new and exciting and better ways. And it requires that we grant ourselves permission to play. It was a delight to watch the young poets of EVCS take to these tasks.

I watched them write poems celebrating their friends. I watched them write poems celebrating the world, and the animals and objects, big and small, that fill it. And I watched them celebrate themselves: their hearts, their minds, and their seemingly endless imaginations. Week by week, their confidence grew and their poetic voices blossomed.

It is my sincere hope that they all continue to write poetry after I’ve left, because the world needs more voices like those of the EVCS poets. I’ll turn it over, now, to Isabella C., who, in “Nice Poetry,” summarizes my thoughts on poetry more beautifully than I can:

I am a building of flowers
that never falls down
because I am a building of imagination.

Matthew Brailas
Spring 2018


Featured Poems


by Emmett (2nd grade)

I am a surfboard, taming the ocean.
I ride the waves that have not been ridden.
I am soaring through the sky on a big wave
with the wind behind me,
the land in front of me,
and the water below me.
I am a board crashing into the warm sand.
I am a wave breaking in mid-air
and soaking everything in my path.
I will not sink.
I will crash.
I will not fall,
I will float.

I am Something
by Vera (3rd grade)

I am the sea
glittering in the last light of day.

I am a moon
shining on a silent sea.

I am a fish,
scales shining,
at the first light of day.

I am a blade of grass
blowing in the wind.

I am a name lost
in endless darkness
of a black hole.

I am a world lost
in the beginning of time.

I am a piece of paper
lost in the endless space.

I am a story
lost in history.

Teachers & Writers Magazine

Teachers & Writers Collaborative: www.twc.org