Monday, April 22, 2013

Pop Art Poetry

I like to offer some sort of library program that ties in with National Poetry Month each April. This year, in an attempt to attract more kids to the program, I decided to tie together two creative mediums: poetry and art. What follows are details of the resulting program, Pop Art Poetry.

Pop Art Poetry

When I opened up the program room for the attendees (twice as many as last year--improvement!), the children were able to find themselves places around a big table with all our craft supplies on top. After introducing myself and learning their names, I told them that our program would combine pop art, a brightly visual type of art, and poetry. To introduce some the feel of pop art, I shared 5 images from Roy Lichtenstein, Tom Wesselmann, Wayne Thiebaud, Robert Indiana, and Andy Warhol. We briefly discussed how these artists of the Pop Art movement portrayed everyday items in new, vivid ways.

We then turned to a brief poetry introduction. We talked about adjective poems--choose a noun, then choose adjectives to describe it, and voila, a poem! One girl wanted to write haikus, so we refreshed on haiku 5-7-5 format. And we also talked about onomatopoeia, those wonderful words that make the sound the represent. Armed with these poetical tools, we were ready to spend the remaining 40 minutes on our masterpieces.

Our supplies:
  • mixed media weight paper from the craft store, 11" x 17"
  • paint daubers (perfect for that Lichtenstein aesthetic, and fast-drying)
  • print origami paper (for paper crafting)
  • letter stickers
  • markers
  • scissors
  • glue sticks

I had scrap paper and pencils for the kids to draft their poems before starting on the full "canvas," and they all took a few minutes to craft their poetry. One girl decided to do a series on the seasons; a few opted to write about pets; and one boy wrote a poem about a rainbow. Once they were satisfied with their poems, they got to creating their pop art poems.

One attendee made me a picture
after finishing her poems.
Since this was a school-age program, the kids were very self-directed as far as working with the supplies on hand. As a result, the hands-on creative time was spent in conversation. These children were eager to talk about their favorite artists, what they'd been reading lately... Really, the conversation just flowed naturally, and the kids were able to get to know one another and have a relaxed evening at the library. I worked in some plugs for upcoming programs at the branch, and the kids shared what they were excited about attending.

The final products of the Pop Art Poetry program were brightly colored and lyrical, perfectly blending the visual and linguistic arts I hoped to combine in the program. Most of the children headed home before I had a chance to get pictures of their creations (one did create a picture for me, though), but I'll tell you what--instead of taking my word for it how great their pictures were, why don't you offer this sort of program and see for yourself what your children come up with?

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