A Hand Full of Poets – Student Writing from P.S. 457

Alba Delia Hernandez
Writer in Residence, Spring 2019

Introduction

A Hand Full of Poets is an anthology by the second grade students at PS 457X, Sheridan Academy of Young Leaders.The title is a quote from Jemima’s poem, “I Celebrate Myself.” For twenty days, students discussed the poetry of famous writers like Kwame Dawes, Sandra Cisneros, Langston Hughes, Nina Simone, Pablo Neruda, Walt Whitman and others. These poets served as inspiration for students to write their own poems. Students had insightful discussions about the meaning and use of metaphors, the five senses, personification, free writing, imagination, alliteration and hyperbole. 

The young poets in this anthology were excited to talk about and write poems in every single class. They all had important stories to tell in the form of poems. One student personified spring and imagined spring wearing a “tuxedo of roses.” Another student used hyperbole to express how much he likes chicken nuggets, “Dear Chicken Nugget, I would travel to Spain and the past to get you.” Students created metaphors about someone in their family, “My mom who tastes like Oreo ice cream.” Nina Simone’s song, “I Ain’t Got/I Got,” inspired them to sing the blues about the things they don’t have and then to celebrate all the things they do have that can never be taken away from them. Langston Hughes’s poem, “April Rain Song,” inspired their compassion and used the rain to bless people, animals and countries that are in need, “Let the rain kiss my Dadso he can protect me.”  With the help of Kwame Dawes’s poem, “Tornado Child,” students became hurricanes, summer breezes and children of other forces of nature. One student imagined being the sun, “Nacida en el oro de Honduras.”

I am so proud of each of the poets in this anthology. I was so lucky to work with students that found poetry to be so much fun and wanted to share their unique stories. I was so happy to see them proud of themselves as they read their poems out loud. I was equally moved by how they supported one another as they gave each other constructive feedback. 

This anthology could not have been possible without the collaboration of the teachers. Thank you to Ms. Colon, Ms. Keaney and Ms. Vivas for helping the students find words that gave voice to their imaginations and feelings. Thank you for your welcoming smiles as I entered your classrooms. Your excitement sparked the students’ excitement. I am grateful to have been part of this team.

Thank you to Mr. Gonzalez for always being available to provide support and guidance. Your dedication to your students is truly admirable and inspiring. 

Thank you to Ms. Febus for inviting me again to PS 457X again. Thank you for cherishing the arts and making it an integral part of your school community. 

Featured Student Writing

Feels Like a Teddy Bear
by Iris B. R.

My Dad who dreams about sheep at night.
My Dad who smells like chocolate cake.
My Dad who cooks rice and beans
at night.
My Dad
who calls me, “my love.”
My Dad who feels ghosts next to him.
My Dad who feels like a
teddy bear when he hugs me.
My Dad who buys me shoes that I need.
My Dad who buys me things that I really need.
My Dad who buys food for our family to eat.
My Dad who smells like
men’s cologne when I hug him.
My Dad who works hard for our family,
to keep us safe and warm.
My Dad who cooks chicken and rice with
beans in the afternoon.
My Dad who calls me, “Dinner is ready, come down and eat.”
My Dad who feels like a sheep.
My Dad who dreams of being a famous man.

Arroz
by Crisvaldi R.

Querido Arroz,

Tú eres blanco como el azúcar.
Tú tienes la figura de un oval.
Tú tienes el sabor de azúcar.
Cuando yo te mastico, yo siento que estoy entre
Las matas de arroz.
Querido Arroz,
Yo viajaría a
Santo Domingo a buscarte.
También te quiero decir que
Eres rico.

Translation:

Rice
by Crisvaldi R.

Dear Rice,

You are white like sugar
You have the shape of an oval
You taste like sugar
When I chew you, I feel like I’m in
rice fields.
Dear Rice,
I would go to
Santo Domingo to find you.
I also want to say that
You’re delicious.


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