Inventing Autumn

Collaborative Poems from PS188

T&W writer Amina Henry is collaborating with small groups of third- and fourth-graders of PS 188Q The Kingsbury School through lesson plans based on the poetic form renga and designed to deepen the students’ exploration of specific detail and imagery, while also including an introduction to poetic form or “rules.” 

Renga, meaning “linked poem,” began more than 700 years ago in Japan to encourage the collaborative composition of poems. Poets worked in pairs or small groups, taking turns composing the alternating three-line and two-line stanzas. Linked together, renga were often hundreds of lines long, though the favored length was a 36-line form called a kasen. Several centuries after its inception, the opening stanza of renga gave rise to the much shorter haiku.

Here are some poems that our students cooked up!

Inventing Autumn
Mix in acorns and red crunchy
leaves rustling in the wind
Next roast the breeze slicing my
then boil the smell of candy and
pumpkin pie
After that stir in apple cider with
cinnamon rolls
Finally pour in the north wind
Serves: 1 million people (or a big fat witch)

Ms. Garcia’s class
(Enoch, Rachel, Ryan, Nathan, Emerie, Alexandra)

Inventing Autumn
First, rustle some red, yellow, and brown leaves from the leaves. Use a wind whisk and mix the leaves.

Next, gather some candy corn and lollipops into a bowl. Microwave for 5 minutes and then add a pinch of crushed acorns.

Then smash some apples, about 5, and add 3 pumpkin seeds with a sliced pencil and a grinded notebook.

After that, mix some turkey feathers with autumn rain. Add 1 cup of rich soil with a baked sweater.
The sweater must be red and bake for 30 minutes.

Finally use a mixer and mix all the things together. Put it on a plate and add an acorn on top with apple peel shavings. Now it is ready to serve.

Ms. Wingenfeld’s class
(Anita, Selena, Megan)

Inventing Autumn
First, add a handful of leaves to your pot.
Go trick or treating for candy. Then, add it to your pot.
After you do that, go to a cornfield maze,
go through the maze,
then add the corn cobs to your pot.
Then go to Starbucks and get some pumpkin spice latte.
Make some pie with some pumpkins.
Then collect apples from some trees and add to the pot.
Get some candy apples, put in the pot.
Go to Target and put some costumes in your pot.
Serves: Our side of the equator
Lasts 2 1/2 months

Ms. Toth’s class
(Madison, Ethan, Joyce, Sophia, Collin, Michelle, Emily, Chloe)

Inventing Autumn
First, chop up 3 apples
Into the empty bowl they go!
Light a jack-o-lantern (don’t burn it)
Mix pumpkin with apples
Then put in 3 cups of caramel
Rustled leaves go in the blender
Stick leaves in pies
and grind up some fresh corn
Bake it for 60 degrees for 5 minutes
Freeze it in a refrigerator for 2 minutes

Mr. Carneiro’s class
(Victoria, Madison, Jayden, Jeffrey, Louie, Ihsan, Ashley)

T&W is grateful to E.H.A. Foundation for making this program possible.

Amina Henry is a Brooklyn-based playwright and educator. Recent local productions include PS (Ars Nova), Little Rapes (The New Group/Long Island University), and The Johnsons (JACK). Her work has been produced, developed by, and/or presented by: Atlantic Theatre, The New Group, Clubbed Thumb, New Georges, The Flea, Page 73, Project Y Theatre, National Black Theater, Little Theater at Dixon Place, The Brooklyn Generator, The Brick, HERE Arts Center, The Cell: a 21st Century Salon, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in the 2013 Black Swan Lab Series (Ashland, OR), Kitchen Dog Theater (Dallas, TX), and HERO Theatre (Los Angeles, CA), among other organizations. She was a 2017-18 recipient of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Space Residency and is a 2018 recipient of a space residency at Dixon Place. She is a member of the Women's Project 2022-24 Lab and an affiliate artist at New Georges. She is currently an adjunct lecturer at Brooklyn College and SUNY Albany. She is also a teaching artist for Teachers & Writers Collaborative and the Hunts Point Alliance for Children.