Day 2 / Week 1 Camp

Hello again Al-Bustan community!  Today was an exciting energy-filled day where every last camper was asking for more… at least in poetry!  I was already exhausted after the first day and wishing that I had the campers energy.  Luckily with the help of my amazing camp counselor, Reem, the groups and I pressed forward, collected our energy and put it into our varying poetry projects.

We opened up the classes with some zany writing and coloring that got the campers engaged in the project they began working on today.  For groups A & B, we had them create their own poetry journal in which they decorated with both a free art exercise and with a replicated drawing of the object they brought with them to share.  These objects will come to represent the things we carry with us and the campers, through the use of drawing, interviewing, letter writing, and of course poetry, will begin to see their object a bit differently than they did at the start of camp.

We began to ask ourselves the questions of what is similar to our object, what does it mean to us, what does it mean to describe something without revealing too much, and what is ironic about the object or even what our assumptions are.

This is one of the many great things about poetry, it extends beyond the walls of words and formulaic ideas.  We can make poetry through the use of varying art forms as a way to both understand other mediums better as well as to make our own poetry more meaningful and honest.

With Group C, we practiced a made-up form of poetry called Illot Mollot in which we participated in a free-write exercise and every minute or so, students shouted out a random word that we had to work into our work in progress piece.  The purpose of this exercise is to get students to first, get out of their own way and next to be ready for anything that happens.  A wise person once said to me that it was like being able to receive the best curve ball and at least make contact. When students become accustomed to dealing with unfamiliar things, they become more confident in situations that are unfamiliar to them in the world or even on our beloved standardized tests.

Once we got through the zany writing about sugar, food, floss, abstractions, and cake we were able to focus on what it was about these pieces that are poetic.  How does writing about a floss carrying warrior have to do with an afterlife or end of the world (an actual student piece) or how talking about nothing but Jolly Ranchers lead to the importance of repetition in any literary piece.  Tomorrow we will begin examining pictures of the student’s travels and begin writing travel journals that will be modeled off of Ibn Batutta’s own writing.

Until tomorrow!

Ellie

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