Mindy Hardwick's Blog

Author Mindy Hardwick Muses about Writing

Powerful and Powerless: Poems on the Denney Blog

on January 25, 2012

Today’s poems on the From Behind Bars Denney Juvenile Justice Center Poetry Blog are  “My Name is Powerless” and “Powerless.”

These poems were inspired by an exercise I did with the kids based on Art With Heart’s book, Chill and Spill. In the exercise, I began by asking the kids to divide a sheet of 8 x 11 blank paper in half.  I passed out magazines and glue. (No scissors in detention). The kids looked through the magazines and found pictures which either represented how they felt when they were Powerful or Powerless.  I gave them about twenty minutes to find the pictures and glue. Too much more time, and everyone gets into the magazines and forgets the assignment!

After they finished the collage, we talked about each one. Then, I read from the book,  The Book of Qualities by J. Ruth Gendler. In this book, Gendler takes various emotions and personifies them to be small, one or two paragraph prose poems. After I finished reading and we discussed some of the poems, the kids wrote their own “Powerful and Powerless” poems.

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