by Kelly Virgin
At Continuity this past weekend we began our thinking by reading and reflecting on poetry. After looking at several poems, we were given a few minutes to write about whatever came to mind. The last stanza of “Famous” by Naomi Shihab Nye instantly inspired me to write. I borrowed her last lines and continued with my own:
I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous, or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular, but because it never forgot what it could do.
I can give first-class belly rubs and meandering, sun-filled walks that bring the wag of a tail and a tongue-filled smile.
I can wake up five minutes first to fill the house with the scent of brewed coffee and to present a steaming mug to my groggy but appreciative partner.
I can help a student believe in herself as a writer by praising her creativity and giving her space for voice and choice in my classroom.
Like the pulley and the buttonhole, my purposes are small and intimate, but in those moments, I become famous.
This brief spurt of inspiration and the thoughtful discussion that followed reminded me how vital poetry is as a writing tool. Since poetry packs so much meaning into so few words, it works well as a seed to spark ideas for personal writing. I have found that even my most hesitant writers find success when writing in response to poetry. Read more