Thursday, April 14, 2011

Poetry Cafe

my dear friend jane has a passion for poetry.  she happens to be an elementary school librarian and she loves passing this passion on to her students.  each year she hosts a “poetry café” in her library and yesterday i was an honored guest at this event.   think white tablecloths.  and flowers.  and colorful hanging art.  and bookshelves dressed up with bright carefully-chosen poems at student eye level. 

 but the main activity is the  recitation of the poems.  4-6 students sit at each table with an adult and share their poem with the group.  some are more prepared than others.  some can rattle off a host of poems, some struggle with one.  some need “cheat sheets”.  some love being in the spotlight, others not so much…. some speak with wild abandon and expression and others mutter words that can barely be heard.  some that do not shine in other areas take to poetry and discover a life-long interest (love this!!)

 after the poems are finished, the students get a little gift.  and we chat a bit.  i tried to tell them how little bits of poems can stay in your brain, nesting there for a long time, sometimes for your whole life.  some lines will hide in there and be re-discovered when the time is right.  kind of a hard concept for them to get at this point, but i know it’s true for me and it will be true for them as well, whether or not they realize it. 

Jane and her sweet grand-daughter, Evie

 i can’t post some of the endearing photos of the kids actually sharing their poems, but i hope you can use your imagination and get the idea.  below are some of the many poems that jane has collected for the kids, written out in her own unique, artistic style.  what a gift!!


  1. thank you for sharing this!
    jane is my sister, and i live in bend, oregon and i love seeing her amazing art on display and hearing about how she shares it with her students.
    and i really love seeing her with evie in her library!
    thank you again!

  2. Oh Patty-this is just wonderful! I wish we could have come!!! Jane sent Tara and I the most wonderful gifts in the mail...a poem for Tara and a Tibetan prayer flag for me:)

  3. My Gosh!! I'm overwhelmed with the beauty and sweetness of the poetry. Touched deep in my heart. Your photos are wonderful. Especially fell in love with the little girl and the red beads in her hair. Such a gift to be able to spend a day like this, Patty. Thanks for bringing bits of it to us.

  4. this is so darling....i love what you shared with them about poetry.

    and the photos are precious.

    sending you love and hugs

  5. This is so inspiring. Children are the most creative. What a wonderful opportunity for you to have experienced this. Thank-you for sharing here!

  6. What a beautiful, wonderful post. It almost bropught me to tears. Your friend is such a special person that she brings this kind of joy into the lives of children that they might keep for their entire life. And to think that the state of CA is going to cut so many of those librarian positions makes me even more mad now than before.

  7. Thanks for sharing Jane's passion for poetry and how she created this event for her students. Making mention of how the words and phrases of a poem that inspired reappear upon a certain event or memory is so true! What an enriching experience for the students and volunteers. You made a difference in the future of these students!

  8. You said it beautifully, Patty. I think it's a wonderful thing for the kids and also for the guests. I love to meet the kids, each one unique, and to share poetry with them. This is a real gift that Jane gives them.

  9. Thanks Patty for doing this! It is absolutely beautiful how you displayed the photos and described the event. I was lucky enough to partipate although just for a bit>
    Tina Calabrese

  10. The Deities were smiling in pleasure at Jane's Poetry Cafe. You have captured the essence of it all, Patty.


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