April 12, 2016

Friday, December 5, 2008

Poetry Friday: Wrestling The Beast

Two things on my mind these days.
The poet in me is all about teaching ekphrastic poetry for the Maryland Humanities Council. (I did my first -- and the program's first -- workshop yesterday. A photo from my class is up on the MHC home page. So cool!)
As a mom, I’m coping with wrestling season. Holiday shopping will have to wait. Unless you’d like a Vipers Wrestling t-shirt.
Our eleven-year-old son began wrestling in second grade. We signed him up because he needed to do something and it was only $50 for a season of clinic! He fell in love with the sport. You’ll get a sense of why if you check out my article on kids’ contact sports in SI Focus Magazine.
I love using Arnold Adoff’s book “Sports Pages” with 5th grade and older students. The book has a poem for just about every sport kids do. Adoff’s style is sensory and playful.
Here’s the beginning of his wrestling poem:
Wrestling The Beast
This guy is an animal. A pig? Squealing sinus breathing. A bear? Hair on his fat arms. A dog? No, not biting, but his chin digging into my collar Bone. A dragon. Easy. Dragon breath. An anaconda snake. His mistake: Choke hold around my neck.
The poem turns (along with the match) in the last stanza. Check out "Sports Pages" to find out what happens. I'm sure the kid's mom is biting her nails.
DJRobMan is wrestling for a travel team this year. Last weekend was his first competitive tournament. He lost in a single elimination round. It was a major achievement to make it to the end of the match without getting pinned.
As for me, I’ll be recommending “Sports Pages” as an extension for my “Totally Ekphrastic! Picturing America Through Poetry” workshop on Thomas Eakins’ image of an athlete: “John Biglin in a Single Scull.”
Kids love writing about the activities they do, whether it’s riding horses, gymnastics, art classes, or practicing trombone. Eakins’ watercolor is sensory in its own way – I hope it will be a great jumping off point for some active poetry.
I’ll let you know how the lesson goes. Today, I’m off to a much-needed writing retreat with our SCBWI Asst. Regional Adviser, Edie Hemingway & hope to write some poetry of my own.
Speaking of favorite books, this week’s Poetry Friday Round Up is at Mommy’s Favorite Children’s Books.


Anonymous said...

Loved the wrestling poetry. Very visual, while working within all those similes.

jama said...

Interesting post. Never saw wrestling poetry before. Have fun with your Ekphrastic poetry adventures!!

Author Amok said...

Kelly & Jama -- Thanks for the comments. "Sports Pages" is one of my favorite books to use with upper elementary schoolers.

The first Totally Ekphrastic! lesson went very well. I'll post the details soon.