Ever heard of a double dactyl? Do you know what a triolet is? Well, if your answer is “no” you’re in luck! Paul Janeczko, poet and author extraordinaire, visited Jonesport Elementary School on November 5th to discuss poetry forms using his acclaimed book A Kick in the Head as a guide. This was Island Readers & Writer’s first trip to Jonesport with more to follow!
Paul, an ALA Notable Book author with more than 40 books under his belt, shared his expertise in a series of enlightening and engaging workshops for kids. Last year, Paul worked with Carol Null and her students at Pemetic Elementary and here’s what she said about the experience:
“Paul’s poetry anthologies validated curiosity as a writing plan to my students. He seems to best understand how readers and writers need to crave the rhythms, quirkiness, and flexibility offered through words, sentences, and images. His warmness embraced my students and they fell in love with poetry in return.”
It was very clear by the end of the day by all the excited waves and bright smiles that Paul got on his way out of the building that the students experienced an inspiring, fun-filled day!
Island Readers & Writers partnered with the Pemetic Elementary School and the Southwest Harbor Public Library to bring author Paul Janeczko to Southwest Harbor on Thursday, April 7th. Janeczko has published more than 40 books, including books of poetry, anthologies, teaching guides, fiction, and non-fiction stories. His April visit featured his illustrated collection of poems, A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms, and celebrate National Poetry Month.
On Thursday morning Janeczko met with grades K-6 in the gymnasium at the Pemetic Elementary School to discuss A Kick in the Head, reading, and writing poetry. Later, he hosted writing workshops and signed books with fourth, fifth, and sixth grade students at the school. Thursday evening at 7:00 p.m. in an event open to the community, Janeczko visited the Southwest Harbor Public Library where he offered a lively read aloud program of selected poems for families and guests. “Seeing an author in-person is a fun and powerful experience for kids… it fosters an unmatched excitement equivalent to meeting a singer or celebrity,” said Carol Null, Pemetic Elementary School librarian. “The evening event is a great way to get the whole family involved,” said Null.
Janeczko, a resident of Hebron, Maine, taught high school English for 22 years before becoming a full-time author. A Kick in the Head is a collection of 29 different forms of poetry, building from the more popular poetic forms, like the couplet and quatrain, to the more complex and exotic ballad, persona poem, and the puzzling pantoum. The book is the second in a trilogy by Janeczko and Caldecott Honor winning illustrator, Chris Raschka, preceded by A Poke in The I: A Collection of Concrete Poems and followed with A Foot in the Mouth: Poems to Speak, Sing, and Shout. Each collection has a unique focus and subsequent lesson while all three maintain a spirited, celebratory approach to learning poetry enriched by Raschka’s whimsical character illustrations.
“Poetry, the way it sounds and flows, gives students a chance to read and reread text, promoting fluency,” said Null, “To see this author as a real person, as model for the power of the written and spoken word, brings reading to life for kids.”
Comments about his visit include – “He was awesome, had all the students participating and kept them right on track. The kids wanted to write more after he left and loved working in small groups. They felt very special.”
“The kids are carrying their books around like highly valued prizes.”