What’s Happening, Mendocino County?

With poetry programs in schools state-wide, there is always exciting news here at CPITS. Today let’s take a closer look at Mendocino County‘s amazing accomplishments. Tour through the photos and read the captions below for a celebration of poetry through writing, reading, stretching and chanting!

Students from Dana Gray Elementary join local seniors for a reading to honor Mother’s Day at Cheshire Bookshop, Fort Bragg. click for more photos!

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Love Notes to a Poet-Teacher

If you’ve ever wondered what CPITS students have to say about writing poetry, we’ve got word straight from the source! Perie Longo, poet and long-time CPITS poet-teacher, received “love notes” from her students this year at Summerland School in Santa Barbara County. Check out their sweet and sincere testimonials, including a student poem that expresses a deep love for the act of writing.


The Best Moment of My Life

When I’m doing poetry, I feel…
I feel…What’s the word?…Peaceful,
happy; I feel like the world has escaped
from my grasp. All my worries have flown
to another universe, but they always
come back sometime. My pencil floats
to write all the words it is writing now.
A volcano erupts. I see the lava flowing
down. The world has been shrunk down
to the size of my hand. I fly as high
as the sky will let me. I have confidence
that the poem will be great. Poetry, to me,
is the best moment of my life!
I feel like a starfish at the cool tide pools
in the middle of summer.

-Naomi Buchmiller, Grade 4
Summerland School, Santa Barbara County
Summer Bray, Classroom Teacher
Perie Longo, Poet Teacher

“You are my light. You are my shine. You are the light that I run on.”

-Isabella Robarge, Grade 5
Summerland School

“Thank you for teaching me poetry. Poetry is lovely and makes me feel joyful. I don’t want you to leave us. Please come back soon.”

-Luke Robarge, Grade 2
Summerland School

“You helped me express my feelings and not be scared. I now know how to do things that were hard for me before. You changed my day and brightened my life…”

-Emma Hammond, Grade 4
Monte Vista School, SB County

“Your experience with writing poems have taken me to a whole different level.

-Josh Watkins, Grade 4
Monte Vista School, SB County

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Poem of the Day: I Don’t Belong by Katie Chambers

July 11th is officially Cheer Up the Lonely Day, so today’s poem deals with the subject of loneliness. You’ll notice that the poet uses repetition to express her feelings of being isolated. What effect the repetition of a words or phrase have on a poem? What might you write back to this poet if you were trying to cheer her up?

I Don’t Belong

I’m not who you think I am;
I don’t belong in the crowd or up in the front row,
I belong in the back away from life itself.

I don’t belong with anyone here;
I don’t belong with this crowd or that clique.

I’m a lone wolf,
Striking all who get in my way!

I walk along through the halls
With no one by my side.

I don’t belong.

by Katie Chambers

Seventh Grade, 2009
Grizzly High School, Nevada County
Will Staple, Poet Teacher
from What the World Hears: CPITS 2009 Statewide Anthology

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Poem of the Day: My Heart by Jordan Kost

This week’s poetry theme is Poetry About Me! The poems will express a feeling, share a secret, or celebrate what makes each of us special. We hope you enjoy today’s poem by third grader Jordan Kost from Inyo County. What lives in Jordan’s heart and what does it tell us about him? What lives in your heart? What can we learn about you?

My Heart
A shy bird is in my heart
As the blue sky rounds
my shy bird, thunder
frightens the sky          Rain
hits the ground       tik   tik   tik
The stream makes a
waterfall sound          The
stream makes all the
thunder and clouds and rain
go away             and all that’s
left is that bird of mine.
by Jordan Kost

Third Grade, 2009
Pine Street School, Inyo County
Eva Poole-Gilson, Poet-Teacher
from What the World Hears: CPITS 2009 Statewide Anthology

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Poetry Out Loud & Beyond

About a decade ago, The Poetry Foundation announced it planned to do something on a national scale with an exceptionally generous donation. Many poets hoped that it would be something new, perhaps a program to bring the next generation of poets along. So when the new program turned out to be a program to recite older poems, there was some disappointment.

Perhaps one of the forces that shaped Poetry Out Loud (POL) was Reading at Risk, a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) study that identified an accelerating decline in the reading of literature. Perhaps one of the benefits of a national poem recitation contest with a 20,000 prize was that it would reward students who demonstrated a deep level of understanding about three poems respected as literature (by literature I mean a collection of words that holds significance for a group of people) . Here, for example, is Ocil Herrejon reciting “On Virtue” by Phyllis Wheatley.

Continue reading

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Sleep Soft by Sierra N Carrel

Sleep Soft

I will use my time,
but it will not be like the minutes,
ticking away after you were gone.

I will be loved,
but not like the love
that you gave to me.

I will be cold,
but not like the coldness
that I felt when I pet you the last time.

I loved you,
And you were special,
And I’m glad you were my pet.

Sleep soft, Sugar.
Sleep soft.

By Sierra N Carrel, a 4th grade student

“Sleep Soft” was originally published in My Song is the Light, the California Poets in the Schools 2007 statewide anthology. Buy a California Poets in the Schools anthology to read more poetry from CPITS students and teachers.

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A Poem of Hope by Brian Go

A Poem of Hope

A poem isn’t a rip in the sky

where evil lives

A poem isn’t a hint of darkness

in a peaceful meadow

A poem is a faint light

in a pitch black room

A poem is a familiar seed

in a foreign land

A poem is a forgotten rose

in a field of poison ivy

A poem is life

in a graveyard

By Brian Go, a 5th grade student

“A Poem of Hope” was originally published in What the World Hears, the California Poets in the Schools 2009 statewide anthology. Buy a California Poets in the Schools anthology to read more poetry from CPITS students and teachers.

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