I've signed on to do some Visiting Writer gigs for Stark County's Smart Arts (SmARTS), and today, I womaned a table at the annual arts festival for kids at the Canton Cultural Center-- a free day of art making and performing.

My table was about making the "Cut-Up" poem. The idea is that words are cut out of a text-- in my case today, the The New York Times monthly Kids Section--and put into a container (I used envelopes). Each poet pulls the words out and makes a poem of them. Glue sticks keep them in place, and markers provide extra words and illustrations. Many thanks for Harter School teacher Tina Riley, who assisted.

Aside for adults: The form was inspired by the 1920's Dadaists and especially, Tristan Tzara. (He's a hysterically funny character in Tom Stoppard's Travesties. He put the words into his hat, forgets, puts the hat on and sends words fluttering all over. He's in love with a librarian whom, he fears, "thinks of me as nothing but a belle litterer.")

Below are some of the kids and parents who came by and cut up with me. (I have to say, the parents are the real cut-ups.) This was pitched for fifth graders, but many 1st through 4th grade kids did great, too, and the kindergartners just ran bright markers over the page happily. One of the things I love about this project is that it's writing as messiness. So many kids are afraid to "goof up" on paper. These poems aren't about neatness but wildness. It was a good day. If you are interested in trying an online version of this, here is a tool you can use:

And here is another:

And here are the kids at work and their works:

Playground is fun for familys because it good./The thing that makes you dizzy is a tire swing. - 1st grader and Dad ---->

Butterfly discover dreams/appreciate a good story/fly high/ Are you going to try it?

The hat is different parts inside

Kids interested in sledding & cats. 💖

Happy dogs make best friends

You Smile BIG! 
3 Sisters, 3 Poems

The community has an opinion about everything

Speak what you feel because the world is awesome.

Dad LOVED this word selection: panthers, habitat, etc.

An acrostic for her sister Ava, a swimmer
So you have cheese tomorrow? I said, no cheese..- 1st grade