Poetry Friday: Student poetry inspired by mine!

Poetry_Friday logoYou’ve got to love how inspiration breeds inspiration.

Back in February, my friend and fellow Poet’s Garage member Michelle H. Barnes interviewed children’s author/poet David Elliott and shared his poem, “Dear Orangutan” from his book, In the Wild (Candlewick, 2013). Following the interview, David challenged Michelle’s readers to write a “letter poem;” that is, a poem written like a letter to someone (or something).

Several such poems were submitted, including this one by Yours Truly:

Dear Dad,

I’m having trouble fitting in.
I feel unhappy in my skin.
The kids at school all call me names;
they carry torches bright with flames.
Teachers chase me through the rooms
with pitchforks, clubs, and wooden brooms.
When I say, “Hi,” the parents flee.
It’s almost like they’re scared of me.
Sorry, I don’t mean to whine.

your son,
Jack Frankenstein

– © 2015, Matt Forrest Esenwine

Well…imagine my surprise when I received an email from fellow writer/blogger Tabatha Yeatts, who informed me that students at her daughter’s middle school had a National Poetry Month project where kids could “respond” to poems that were posted in the halls (my poem being one of them). She shared with me two of the poems she thought were the best, and so – with parental permission – I’m sharing them here!

Dear Jack
by Emily Sologuren, 8th grade
Dear Jack,
You’re not the only one who knows that feeling
when everyone sees you as unappealing —
I too went through that, you know
Other kids pointing at me wherever I go
Because I was different with an outlandish plan
When they saw my experiment, they just snickered and ran
Yet I continued my experiment, while also being shunned
And created you, Jack, my wonderful son
So be who you are and don’t be so sad.
With all my love, your scientist Dad
Dear Son
by Emily F., 8th grade
Dear Son,
Don’t let those mean kids get you down,
Don’t let them chase you through the town.
The fact that you don’t look the same,
Serves them no right to call you names.
If you just embrace who you really are,
Then trust me kid, you will go far.
There will be someone who loves your persona,
After all, Shrek found his Fiona.
And if kids make fun, I recommend
That they don’t deserve to be your friend.
So if the times get real bad,
And you’re feeling real sad,
Just remember that you are beautiful no matter what they say,
Because baby, you were born that way.
After all, you are my son, and you are mine.
Your creator, your father, your friend,
Dr. Frankenstein

Pretty darned good, I’d say! Wow, these kids have some talent. I’m so honoured and humbled that something I wrote provided inspiration for someone. It is my sincere hope that someone reading these students’ poems will likewise be inspired, and keep the circle intact!

By the way, Poetry Friday is being hosted by Diane Mayr at Random Noodling this week, so make sure you head on over for all the poetry, links and…inspiration, of course!

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24 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Student poetry inspired by mine!

  1. dmayr

    Great poems for sharing, Matt! (And thanks Tabatha!) You have to love a poet who writes:

    There will be someone who loves your persona,
    After all, Shrek found his Fiona.


  2. I love all the 3 poems. The revelation of Frankenstein was indeed a surprise, but the story is something quite close to home. The responses too were so heartfelt. I love that the responses were reassuring and in celebration of difference. That bit about Fiona and Shrek was a fun surprise. Thanks for sharing this. 🙂


    1. I’m glad you liked it! I was one of those kids who always got picked on in school, so I could readily identify with not ‘fitting in’ – but wanted to keep the poem light, hoping readers would see through it to the truth. Looks like they did!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Matt, your poem was absolutely delightful so I can see why students would want to use it as a model. (Loved your last line.) Your work and the students’ texts are great examples of writing for a character education program. Kudos to the students whose poems were chosen by Tabitha for you to post.


  4. What a special treat for you, Matt! Kudos to both Emilys for fun and well written responses. Not sure if it’s because my own kids have a scientist Dad (not of the piecing together body parts variety, mind you), but Emily S’s also tugged at my heart.


  5. Heidi Mordhorst

    The circle of inspiration is a very fun game to play…and puts me in mind of a Poetry Month project for next year hmmm. Both girls did a nice job, but I particularly liked Emily F’s willingness to add her own pop-culture references to your Frankenstein theme: if I’m not mistaken, we had Christina Aguilera

    and Lady Gaga
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xG0wi1m-89o (my favorite version)
    in there as well as Shrek and Fiona, and a very nice use of them too!


    1. Thanks, Heidi! I liked the fact both girls took different roads: Emily S. had some touching lines when referencing the dr.’s ‘experiment’ which begat his son while Emily F. was more direct with her thoughts, like a person-to-person chat.


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