Two Words: The Blog of the Center for the Art of Translation

Mixing Art and Poetry Makes Kids Feel Like Famous Poets

Posted on November 8, 2013, 06:00:00 AM by John Oliver Simon

For six weeks in September and October, Emerson Elementary School in Oakland (a Poetry Inside Out school site) was a partner in a neighborhood art and poetry installation project that brought a local visual artist together with student poets to make pieces incorporating their words and original art (We wrote about the project kickoff party back in September).

The kids chose verses from poems that they had written and added them to boards that they painted and decorated, creating completely new works of art by combining two disciplines. The idea behind Temescal InSitu was to create public poems and visual art installations to be presented in Oakland’s Temescal district, and to “transform the neighborhood into a book or art gallery”.

The children’s creations were hung on the playground fence for six weeks and are now on display in the hallways of the school. The kids loved working with the artist and thinking about their work in new ways.

Devin, a fifth-grader, says she wrote her “recipe” poem thinking of her mother’s favorite comfort food, “Momma’s Burgers.” “When my poem was mounted on the school fence,” Devin said, “it made me feel like a famous poet. And my name, Devin, means poet in Celtic.”