‘Poetry, poetry! Can be found,
In, out, and all around.
But take a look inside your heart
That’s where a poem truly likes to start.’
During her month-long residence at ELC for our Festival of Children’s Literature, Georgia Heard brought such joy and inspiration to our children, teachers, and parents, allowing us all to discover the poetic voice within ourselves. Her words invite us to hold space for, and with, our heart: our experiences and emotions are rendered most clearly and most faithfully, through poetry. Georgia gently de-mystifies the creative process by inviting us to find transcendence all around and within us in a variety of ways: observe the small moments of joy and little pleasures; look to the ‘ordinary’; see beauty in the ugly; try to understand what you don’t know; be curious and filled with wonder.
As T. S. Eliot has aptly observed, poetry can be less about some quasi-mystical ingenuity, and more about ’the disturbance of our quotidian character.’ In this vein, Georgia invited children – and parents alike in a dedicated workshop – to study some loose natural materials and to describe these objects through a scientist’s eye and a poet’s eye. By breaking down our habitual barriers, in this case, our familiarity with naturalistic observation, we can instead let our experiential imagination run free.
Georgia reminds us that poetry is about connection; read poems to your child at bedtime, give a poem to your child as a love and affirmation note, and listen for the poetry in what your child says. Poetry gives voice to children’s feelings about themselves and the world, and inviting poetry into our lives gives opportunity for deep emotional self expression and regulation.