Before settling in and getting going on some artwork, I emptied my briefcase from work—mostly files and miscellaneous papers, much of which got trashed. Then I pulled out a blue-covered compilation that one of my students handed me on the last day of school, a Collection of Poetry “put together and written” by her. At the end of the year with all its craziness and high energy, I had totally forgotten about it.
In an “Author’s Note” at the beginning, she explains that she hadn’t written all the poems inside but she wishes she had. She thanks her 5th, 7th, and 8th grade Humanities teachers for helping her writing “grow and blossom” and thanks some of her peers who had inspired her “though they might not know it.” The poems are introduced with a Table of Contents “(Sort of…)” and inside, her own poems are randomly intermingled with Ogden Nash, Shel Silverstein, Emily Dickinson, William Blake, some of her peers, her sister, someone named Dave Smith (found on poems.com). Her poems include several she wrote in response to some of the novels we read and class activities we experienced this year (only one of which was assigned), along with poems she wrote about friendship, adoption, love.
I am in wonderment and awe at the loving care with which she put this book together, hand-bound with a thoughtful and wistful cover. I am touched by the obvious connections in her poetry to the material we explored this year, but also moved by her vitality and spirit and serious drive to understand her world through the feelings and ideas of other poets, as well as through her own creatively managed words.
I am also somewhat confused and bewildered, perhaps a tad melancholy, that somehow I missed the extent and reach of her sensitivities and soulfulness all year… Who knew? How could the depth of her vibrant spirit have traveled so far beneath my radar? How could I have missed all this?
I have just begun to write her a letter. I need to tell her about the amazing person I found inside the blue covers of this very special compilation.