The Power of Poems and Photographs to Inspire Writing – Part 11By Hank Kellner
One possible activity is to divide a class or other group into several smaller groups and distribute photocopies of a few different pages from the book Reflect and Write to each group. Direct the participants to exchange ideas about the themes of the poems, and have them develop a list. Next, ask the participants to develop their own works based on the themes they have cited. As a follow-up activity, participants may share their creations with others by reading them aloud.
Can You Hear Me Now?
A Salesman from Greer
There once was a salesman from Greer
Who drove with his phone to his ear.
While he talked he was struck
By an oncoming truck
Thus ending his call and career.
In The Joy Luck Club Amy Tan wrote: “Fate is shaped half by expectation, half by inattention.” Although this poem is written in a humorous manner, the topic is quite serious. Why not challenge students or workshop participants to write about a serious topic in a humorous fashion?
The Return of the Cookie Monster
“The three-year-old who lies about taking a cookie really isn’t a liar after all.
He simply can’t control his impulses” – Cathy Rindner Templesman
You think I stole the cookies?
You think I climbed onto the
Reached for the cookie jar,
And took it down?
You think I ate the cookies?
That one by one I broke them in
Chewed them up, and swallowed
While no one was looking?
You don’t believe me when I say,
“My sister stole the cookies
And ate them
And didn’t even share with me”?
How could that be?
Why can’t you see
It had to be my sister?
And not me!
After reading and discussing “Not Me!” students and other writers will respond enthusiastically to such questions as: “Has one of your siblings ever accused you of something you didn’t do,” and “If so, has that person ever reported you to your parents?” As a follow-up activity, they may write poems or compositions in which they discuss the event humorously.
Pumpkins Aren’t Just for Thanksgiving
The Pumpkin Sonnet
(With Apologies to Shakespeare)
Some say that cherries are the best to eat,
And some prefer potatoes that are fried,
But I think cherries are by far too sweet,
And fried potatoes I just can’t abide.
Then there are those who claim zucchini’s best
And those who like tomatoes as a treat.
But I don’t think zucchinis pass the test
And ’maters aren’t the best I think to eat.
Still others do prefer a plate of peas
Or plantains fried and salted to their taste.
But peas my palate surely do not please
And plantains I discard with timely haste.
So, pumpkins are the ones that catch my eye
Because I like to eat them in a pie.
A Salesman from Greer by Betty Bowman, Not Me! By Brian Guido and The Pumpkin Sonnet by Cole Kim originally appeared in Reflect and Write: 300 Poems and Photographs to Inspire Writing by Hank Kellner and Elizabeth Guy (Prufrock Press, 2013). See sample pages and buy now at http://www.prufrock.com/Reflect-and-Write-P1752.aspx. Photographs by the author.
About the author
A veteran of the Korean War, Hank Kellner is a retired educator who has served as an English Department chairperson at the high school level and an adjunct Associate Professor of English at the community college level. Born in New York City, Kellner now lives in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Visit his blog at hank-englisheducation.blogspot.com.
Kellner is the creator of many photographs and articles that appeared in publications nationwide; the author of extensive reading comprehension materials for a publisher of educational materials, and a former contributing editor to Darkroom Photography magazine. He is the author of Write What You See: 99 Photos To Inspire Writing (Prufrock Press, 2009) and, with Elizabeth Guy, the co-author of Reflect and Write: 300 Poems and Photographs to Inspire Writing (Prufrock Press, 2013)