On 21 and 22 March NIST had the tremendous pleasure of hosting the well-known former US Children’s Poet Laureate Kenn Nesbitt. Elementary students from Years 2 through to 6 enjoyed animated performances of his poetry, and collaborated to flex their own comic muscles and creativity in collectively writing a poem or two with Kenn. The NIST theatre echoed with laughter!
The student also learned of Kenn’s history as a poet, a late starter at 32, and his motivations and inspirations. Kenn confided to the students, “If I’d known how easy it is, I would have started at nine instead of 32!” Kenn’s rollicking poems provided his models for showing the students just how simple, and how much fun, writing poetry can be!
Kenn continued to develop this theme of the ease of writing poetry in writer’s workshop sessions the second day of his visit. Interested poets from each class in the year level came together for practical skills-based sessions. Together they inquired a little deeper into the devices used by poets and tried out some easy poetry ideas starters. Kenn had them well on their way to believing that, “Getting a pencil and paper out is the hardest part of writing a poem.”
So just what kind of poetry does Kenn write? Here’s a little gem that the students particularly enjoyed, Kenn’s arms out-stretched and tongue out in the spotlight:
I Tried to Catch a Snowflake
I tried to catch a snowflake.
I opened up my mouth.
Next year I think I’ll wait until
the birds have all flown south.
Kenn also does excellent impressions of Shaggy from Scooby-Doo; Yoda from we-all-know-what; and for long-time Sean Penn fans, Spicoli from Fast Times At Ridgemont High. I think everyone who listened to and enjoyed Kenn’s stand-up talents appreciated his take on life.
In speaking to his motivation for writing funny poems, Kenn simply reasons, “There is not enough silliness in the world.” Thank you for reminding us, Kenn.
Visit Kenn Nesbitt online at Kenn Nesbitt’s Poetry for Kids.