Magic Boxes

One of the poets, working outdoors this morning.

Last night, at the Writers in the Schools (WITS) gala, we celebrated the power of story. Mayor Annise Parker introduced Houston’s first ever Youth Poet Laureate, Andrew White, a senior at HSPVA, who gave a touching and funny speech and talked about how he’d been become a poet at age 12. We heard stories from young students Rukmini Kalamangalam, Lila Mankad (who wrote poetry on demand with a single word prompt), and the adorably articulate third-grader Rafael Pina, who talked about how WITS has already changed his life.

I am so very proud to be a part of this incredible organization, which brings creative innovation, collaboration, and education to Houston’s school and community classrooms. Every Friday, I am given the gift of encountering 42 tiny poets and writers, who inspire me more than I could ever inspire them. It is a joy to witness them–and their words–soar to ever greater heights.

I’d like to share two of my favorite poems from today’s classes. The “Magic Box” lesson is inspired by Kit Wright’s collection, CAT AMONG THE PIGEONS. We use it to discuss many of our writer’s tools–voice, metaphor, alliteration, sensory imagery, etc.–and the students’ work often delves much deeper than one might expect from 8- and 9-year-olds. I hope these two examples will inspire you to consider what you would put into your magic box: