Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Found poems from the Los Angeles Times, Kids' Reading Room

Taken at the Metropolitan Museum in New York City in 2007, after a parent in another room called, "You get your brother in here, now!" This photo was published in Caesura.

I found both these writing samples in the Creativity Corner of the LA Times' dedicated kids' page. It takes a certain kind of ambition from someone, not necessarily the child, to submit a kid's writing here. I read them as found poems, requiring nothing from me except presentation.

       I am the smartest in my family. I believe that I am the prettiest in class. I want to be the richest person in the world.

       I feel that I am not the best at sports. I wonder if I am a good friend. I worry about my family when they get hurt. I am the smartest in my family.

       I understand I am not the smartest in my class. I try to be the funniest in my family. I hope to get better in math. I am the smartest in my family.
                                                                          --Stephanie, 8

I suspect that Stephanie's class was given a Sentence-Completion exercise, whether to inspire writing or for some other purpose. For me, her reiteration of "smartest in (her) family gains poignancy each time.

Next, on Yale:

          Yale is old, but not as old as Harvard. Yale has a church. Yale is a fun place. Yale is a university where I want to go. It is hard to get into Yale. I like it because of the challenges it poses. I like Yale because it is a smart school.
                                                                          --Dennes (no age given)

I wish I could achieve the artless juxtaposition of this kid, trying to write about something he doesn't understand. He reminds me of Donald Barthelme. I'm surprised that the teacher didn't catch the 'borrowing' of "challenges it poses." I confess that I completed the sentence stem "Yale is old, but..." with "...not as old as yo mama."

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