April 12, 2016

Monday, August 29, 2011

Join the Living Poetry Flash Mob

Credit goes to my fellow MSAC Artist-in-Education Virginia Crawford for noticing that the date of 100 Thousand Poets for Change (Saturday 9/24) coincides with this year's Baltimore Book Festival.

Since Ginny and I both lead poetry workshops for children, we wanted to plan a fun, hands-on activity for families at BBF. How would this connect with 100 TPC? Read my interview with the organizer of this global event, Michael Rothenberg. Playing with poetry gets kids excited about language, eager to share their original poems, and teaches both self-awareness and empathy.

There are three ways you can join our Living Poetry Flash.

1. Show up at the CityLit Tent on Saturday, 9/24, between 12:00 PM and 12:30 PM. You'll see a group of people wearing t-shirts with a word or short phrase on the front and/or back. Line those people up to combine words and create your living poem. Be sure to take a photo. Send it to me or upload it to the 100 TPC Facebook page.

2. So, you want to be part of a Living Poem? Ginny Crawford and I will hand out a limited number of free t-shirts on Saturday morning (CityLit Tent). The words on these shirts will be taken from a Lucille Clifton poem that's in keeping with the "Poets for Change" theme. Come back to the CityLit Tent at 12:00 sharp to get versified. Your poet awaits!

3. If your house is like mine, you have glitter, fabric markers and puffy paint on hand. Or maybe your creativity ends with a black Sharpie. Either way -- grab an old t-shirt or get a new one.
My blank t-shirt.

Pick a word (family-friendly, please) that would inspire a poet. Write that word, or a short phrase, on the back of your shirt. You can use the front, too.

It will look like this:
I wrote my phrase with fabric markers and I'm ready for the Living Poetry Flash Mob.

Remember -- all parts of speech are welcome and needed. Small words carry as much weight as big words in a poem. We love articles, conjunctions, nouns and verbs equally.

With all that craft gear on hand, my middle schooler and I had to add some bling to our tees. Here are our Living Poetry Flash Mob tees-in-progress. The bandanna -- that's for my dog. He wants to be in a poem, too.

Questions? Leave me a comment. I will answer you pronto.

For grown ups, we will follow the Living Poetry Flash with another 100 Thousand Poets for Change event. Little Patuxent Review is sponsoring a panel discussion, "Poets for Social Justice." You'll find the list of panelists at the Baltimore Book Festival website.


Jo said...

This looks fantastic! Would love to talk to you about it - am working on a large scale poetry project in England and would love to incorporate this idea somehow. Do you have an email address I can contact you on? Thanks

Author Amok said...

Hi, Jo.

Thanks for the comment. I'm excited to hear about your projet. Sure -- send me an email at