Down the hall: Poetry Comes to Life in Montevallo

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 30, 2008

By Nicole Lucas and Ashley Hanson / Guest Columnists

Have you ever been kidnapped by a poet?

If we were poets, we’d kidnap you!

Audra Edwards’ gifted resource students from Montevallo Middle School enjoyed a day of performance and tutoring from two Montevallo High School students on Friday, Jan. 18.

And those students were us: Nicole Lucas and Ashley Hanson.

We are from Erma Hinton’s humanities class, which teaches the “Poetry Alive” method for poetry performance.

From the first time we walked through Mrs. Hinton’s door, we thought that humanities was going to be boring and useless.

We were proved so wrong.

Then, two weeks ago, we got to teach and demonstrate to the sixth, seventh and eighth grade of Montevallo Middle School what we have learned.

We taught them how to stand in confidence stance, in front of an audience, before performing a poem.

As Mrs. Hinton would say, “Stand up straight, feet shoulder-width apart.”

Then we demonstrated how to stage poetry.

The students seemed to really enjoy us.

One of their favorites was “We Real Cool” by Gwendolyn Brooks.

Other poems included: “Phenomenal Woman” by Maya Angelo, “I Am Nobody” by Emily Dickenson, and “Dream Boogie” and “Madam and the Rent Man,” both by Langston Hughes.

Everyone joined in on one of the favorite children’s poems, “Crowded Tub” by Shel Silverstein.

The students all crowded into an invisible tub and pretended to be little kids taking a bath. They acted this out while performing the poetry.

“The collaboration was beneficial for everyone, and everyone had a good time while doing it,” Edwards said.

So, poetry is a little more than it we thought it could be.

Instead of standing straight and stiff as a board, we all have learned to have fun while performing it, adding movement, feelings and gestures.

As the poet Nikki Giovanni so aptly wrote, “Yeah! If I were a poet, I’d kidnap you!”

Nichole Lucas and Ashley Hanson are students at Montevallo High School