Free Poetry Workshop Nourishes Creativity at Don Mills Library

I’m fresh home from an afternoon devoted to poetry! Facilitated by spoken word artist, Andrea Thompson, the workshop combined a writing exercise, performance, and discussion. Ms. Thompson had a warm, engaging presence that put me at ease, and I appreciated her genuine passion for poetry.

To give us the flavor of her work, Andrea performed three of her pieces, transforming our group of twelve into a fascinated audience. I especially loved the way she sang some of the words when she felt called to sing. She brought a melodic and dramatic quality to her poems that made a big impact on me.

After we introduced ourselves, Andrea invited us to write a four-line poem based on a simple exercise. Each line was to start with the line “I am from” and then fill in the lyrical blanks with the name of a food (line one), a family or cultural tradition (line two), a snapshot of a location (line three), and something about the climate (line four).

I enjoyed listening to the poems that my fellow participants created, and many of their words have stayed with me: sandalwood, honey, dinner at five a.m., stars, land of Buddha, sound of flowers, and the promised land. To our amazement, the writer of a beautiful poem about grief said, “This is the first poem I have ever written.”

When my turn came, I noticed some constriction in my breathing, but I was able to read the following lines to the group:

I am from pecan pie, treacle sweet, tasting of Midwestern corn syrup and warm Southern trees.

I am from total immersion baptism by the old pastor in his Brooks Brothers suit.

I am from Liberty, Missouri, the buckled up Bible belt, green and friendly, with undercurrents of despair.

I am from tornadoes, sirens that shoo us to the cellar, staring at the cold rust on the freezer.

I am from there.

4 thoughts on “Free Poetry Workshop Nourishes Creativity at Don Mills Library”

  1. Thank you Dave! I’m happy it sounds very me! (By the way, your monster icon on your comment is awesome!)

    Do you ever lead poetry workshops? I feel sure you would be a natural.

  2. Hi Catherine, that is a beautiful poem — thank you for sharing it. I love the richness, sensuality, and emotion of all the image, and then the simplicity of the last line.

  3. Hi Ellen, your comment means a lot to me! Thank you so much! I’m glad you liked the images and the last line.

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