Sunday, July 27, 2008

New Museum's Block Party

The Bowery Poetry Club took part in the New Museum’s “Block Party,” on Saturday, July 19th at Sara Roosevelt Park. The audience was mostly young families and we helped the kids become, “Bowery Poets,” by writing and performing poems with them. We would have each kid write an acrostic poem starting by writing their name with letters going down the page like this


Then each letter would start a description of the kid, or a favorite food, or animal or just a fun word. The first poem was from a one and a half year old named ALI and his mom helped a bit. It came out like this:

All consuming
I did it!

Ali shouted out the last line. We would then perform the poem with the family chanting each line and having the family chant back in a call and response. We worked with about 40 families and it was a lot of fun. My favorite poem was not and acrostic but an sort of oral history as poem, by a woman who said she was not a poet and could never write a poem. As she started to talk and describe her life in the neighborhood, I asked her to slow down so I could write down what she was saying. Here is Mrs. Lee’s poem:

If I’m hungry
I eat.
I go to Katz’s.
I get pastrami.
I get a knish.
For 35 years I’ve lived here.
You can say 40 years, since 1967.
My landlord, 3rd landlord, he’s nice, he fixes it up for everybody.
Sion that’s his name.
There’s 5 of us.
I’m the history of Ludlow street.