June 22, 2022

The Newtown Poetry Project: “Resilient light”


The Newtown Poetry Project began as a collaboration between two educators brought together by the events of December 14, 2012. Lea Attanasio, the co-founder of the project, was my son’s fourth grade teacher at Hawley School that day. . She knew from her teaching what I knew from my writing class in college: Writing together is a way of strengthening our individual humanity while building on the strength drawn from awareness of others. It was our instinct to look outward at a time of intensely inner reflection, and we looked for a way to strengthen that impulse in others in times of crisis.

Our response: We appealed to Newtown grade two and six students and their parents to join us for six poetry workshops this spring. Five years of spring writing workshops followed between parents and children, teachers and students. Every year, a collection of poems including not only collaborative poems, but also individual praise poems, descriptive sensory puzzles and many more, is released as summer approaches, and students and parents alike find their voices as they stand up to read their poems in a garden. celebration of everyone’s work. The poems shared here are taken from these collections, each one writing collaboratively around the studio table, a poet writing the next sentence, a child ending a parent’s thought, or vice versa. A workshop self-portrait is also shared, in which each participant describes their essential quality using metaphors.

In the leaflet announcing the project the very first spring, in February 2013, Lea and I wrote: “We believe that writing poetry in a workshop setting is a really valuable way for young people to enrich their experience. of language while developing meaningful meaning. of themselves as members of a community. Five years later, we still believe in it.

These poems reflect a measure of resilient light that shines from the children and families of Newtown.



Carol Ann Davis is Associate Professor of English at Fairfield University. She is co-founder, with Lea Attanasio, of the Newtown Poetry Project.


An ordinary day

No one is here and I am alone.

So I play video games and eat a lot of ice cream.

Heaven speaks badly to me when I’m late.

My daughter’s hair is as soft as a Siamese cat.

The black moon at night makes me shiver.

I put the beeper on the booper with soap.

Finally, after all this time, I’m comfortable with a mink stole.

When the phone rang, I muted my ringer and ignored it.

Cats in the sky are like wine in brine.

Peach juice tastes like the root!

May all sentient beings be happy even in their darkest day.

Newtown Poetry Project 2017

Life

From there, I jump to the flowering tree.

The anteater indulges in turquoise peeps.

The fish swim like the bird flies.

One summer I see the moon at night

and it is more beautiful than my pearl necklace.

Playing was all mine, me, all of me.

My favorite food is pasta, Chinese food, and corn dogs.

Who rises to honor the holy telephone?

I like to spread my wings and fly.

Then I dive into my chocolate and peach pool.

I looked into the well. I threw a penny inside.

– Please, I whispered.

Newtown Poetry Project 2017

I am . . .

I am as pretty as a flower.

I am as light as a feather.

I am the fresh green grass.

I am as still as a rock.

I am as happy as a sun.

I am a call to creatures and animals.

I am the queen bee who controls the hive.

I am the pretty flower that moves with the windy meadow.

I am the clover plucked by the child.

I am the pink flower in a purple field.

For more information

The Newtown Poetry Project is supported by the University of Fairfield’s Office of Service Learning, the Connecticut Writing Project, the Department of English, and the Writing Center. It has become a central component of Poetry in Communities, a program providing poetry education to those affected by spontaneous or systemic violence by working in schools and community settings to bring groups of adults and children together. from the workshop table. Any school or community seeking such assistance can contact Carol Ann Davis at [email protected]


I am the call of the loonie.

I am a diamond in a mountain.

I am a screen with a show.

I am the freshness of the snow.

I am as strong as an ox.

I am a smart calculator who thinks all day.

I am a young dragon in the sun.

I am the rain that falls from the sky.

I am a star, hidden behind the clouds.

I am the wet grass you just walked on.

I can’t wait for the phone to ring.

I am a book with endless pages.

I am a feathered bird in a warm nest.

I’m the boring rain pound on your windshield.

I am the lion who will do anything to protect his family.

I am as creative as a paintbrush.

I am the crack in the sidewalk.

I am the lion of the plain.

I am the cat with a ball of yarn.

I am as sweet as a puppy.

I’m broken, like the point of a pencil, in too much of a hurry.

I’m as crazy as a grumpy cat.

I am a funny mirror: sometimes to the point, but above all crazy …

I am a fox hunting in the wild.

I am a gentle breeze that rustles the curtain.

I am the rising sun!

I am incapable of patience today.

I am the birdsong in the morning, the howl of the coyotes at midnight.

I’m the silent spotting of the bald eagle, the creaming of the howling wind

in storms.

It’s logic defies, yet it makes sense.

I am the gentle fall of snow on a subtle winter’s night.

I am the wind that blows on your face.

I am the morning dew that sparkles on your face.

Newtown Poetry Project 2016

Thoughts from our table

From here I eat a cake.

On King’s Day, the Dutch wear orange.

The moon was visible at noon in the southern sky.

The teachers are very nice at school.

I like pigs and sloths.

The sun was leaning over the table like a waterfall.

The American flag fluttered in the wind.

That the rest of the school year

be filled with joy and learning.

Newtown Poetry Project 2016

thoughts of many minds

From here I sit at my desk and watch my teacher

pass the paper to everyone except me.

From there I’m forced to write this sentence

with an orange pencil.

The sky above the barn is constantly changing.

I quickly retrieved my water bottle.

It’s a short sentence.

You are awesome like nothing.

Pink tablecloths scalloped with doodles

always have room for more.

I wish to see the Northern Lights.

Newtown Poetry Project 2016

Untitled

From here I can see my sister

I wrote it in my green notebook

The sky rocked my head with a soft rain

Then came the long legs of lightning as the storm intensified

I love the pie so much!

I thought, while shopping,

“Why am I torturing myself like this?” “

When I cried my face was as red as a cherry

I used a marker to color the drawing

Long legs of soft sky

Hold me up and beg my curiosity

I don’t have an older or younger sister

I would like to have a horse!

Newtown Poetry Project 2015

Right-handed rainbow

From there I put a book on a shelf.

I see silver sparks shining brightly.

The clouds are beautiful and puffy.

The beautiful rainbows forming in the sky make me happy.

Sing a new song!

I am the stars, the sky and the moon.

I am awesome like Anna.

Always enter through a door with an exit sign.

Coming to this building brings back memories that make me happy.

Coming to the poetry club makes me feel like candy.

When I come to the poetry club I feel like

shines brightly.

I would like to be left-handed.

Newtown Poetry Project 2015

Scattered

From there I want to go to the barn.

The blood red sky caught my eye.

A swollen white cotton ball drifted in the sky.

The xylophone turned out to be a glockenspiel.

But nobody noticed it, nobody cared.

Unfortunately; I am hungry, I am tired and cranky.

I see a cheetah running as fast as lightning.

My camera captures it frame by frame.

It turned out to be a beach ball.

The clock strikes 7:27 a.m. and counts.

The soldiers remained at attention.

My wish for you is peace.

Newtown Poetry Project 2014

Completely ridiculous beautiful nonsense

From here I have a long drive home

and i see the sun through the green pines and i wonder if?

He is now suspended as if time has stood still

all the poems we wrote are lying on the plain white table

the light and windy wind whips my pony’s mane

So I bought and ate, while the money dug a hole in my pocket

Ginger ale touches my lips making them burn like fire

a star is suspended in the sky as if the time is not there

scattered papers, pens and markers, writing fast, fast, fast

the moon sinks in the basement window at home

I wish I could keep all the stars in the universe in a bottle

and give it to my father

Newtown Poetry Project 2014

from here i can go anywhere

from here I can go anywhere.

the flag is red, white and blue.

the sky is pretty.

I want to watch TV to calm myself down but I don’t want to.

so I take a deep breath and smile.

Then I danced and twirled, I was in a good mood.

people put a disco ball on the stage

they dance with as much gratitude as butterflies

the pencils are colored

I wish I could fly.

Newtown Poetry Project 2013

The great unknown

From here I can see the world

We are in the yellow green phase of spring

Birds fly a lot in the sky in spring

Some people like to write in a journal

I love to write about birds in flight

My cat, the fluffiest cat in the world, was purring softly in my lap

I saw the flag in the front of the room shaking like a chained bulldog

The umbrella opened like the wind blew it away

I wish I could wake up with a few less unknowns

Newtown Poetry Project 2013