A note from Laura
Happy summer! I hope everyone is enjoying the bustle of activities that usually accompanies the end of the school year and is looking forward to some relaxation in the summer sun.
This week, I would like to draw your attention to “Two Poems,” by Iris Chalfen. Iris’s first poem, “Springring,” is light and playful, like sunshine itself, while her second, “Sleep,” offers a visceral and sumptuous depiction of giving oneself over to a feeling-sleep, in this case! Despite their brevity, both of Iris’s poems make such effective use of language, drawing on all our senses, so that we know just the feeling she’s describing. Over this past week, I have become quite the expert on sleep! I have Covid (a good reminder that this illness is still very much with us, despite the warmer weather and longer days). Thankfully, being fully vaccinated and boosted, my symptoms are relatively mild. But I know just what Iris is describing when she writes, “We threw ourselves into a lingering feeling. I held that feeling for a moment…”
Both of Iris’s poems do a beautiful job of playing with language in unexpected ways, but ultimately drawing us into something familiar and recognizable. Leticia Cheng’s pastel, “My Dream” provides an evocative and vivid complement to these pieces. To me, it feels both fantastical and familiar.
For this weekend’s activity, I invite you to use Iris’s poems as an example and write a brief piece of writing that draws heavily upon sensory images. Invite your reader to call upon the imagery you hint at in vivid detail by using a few well-chosen words that draw upon the five senses.
As always, if you would like to share your work with an audience of peers, please submit it to us via Submittable!
Refugee Project Half Baked Art Collaboration
This workshop will allow participants to work on a piece of artwork in collaboration with a student living in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya. The dates for this set of two workshops are 6/20/22 (9-11am PT) and 6/22/22 (9-10am PT). Sign up here!
In closing, June 20th is World Refugee Day. I invite you to take some time this month to explore the wealth of material displayed on the Refugee Project web portal. The writing and artwork you’ll find here was all created by your peer artists and writers from refugee backgrounds.
Until next time,
Do you like writing about your life experiences? Would you like to learn some techniques for making your nonfiction writing more compelling and creative? In this class you will learn a method of personal writing, sometimes used by anthropologists, that combines storytelling with writing about the details of your own everyday life. Students will practice a variety of Ethnographic Writing techniques, from self-reflection, to gathered observation, interviews, and investigation. Students will also participate in an artist-led activity to create a piece of illustrated artwork of everyday life, designed to accompany their ethnographic writing.
From Stone Soup
By Iris Chalfen, 8 (Cambridge, United Kingdom)
The calm, warm light filled the room,
Our voices, whispers.
Laughter untangling into a soundless sleep.
We threw ourselves into a lingering feeling.
I held that feeling for a moment,
Then hid it,
Hid it so it could be safe,
Hid it so I could carry on, on,
In my deep, deep sleep.
Stone Soup is published by Children’s Art Foundation-Stone Soup Inc., a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit organization registered
in the United States of America, EIN: 23-7317498.
Stone Soup's advisors: Abby Austin, Mike Axelrod, Annabelle Baird, Jem Burch, Evelyn Chen, Juliet Fraser, Zoe Hall, Montanna Harling, Alicia & Joe Havilland, Lara Katz, Rebecca Kilroy, Christine Leishman, Julie Minnis, Jessica Opolko, Tara Prakash, Denise Prata, Logan Roberts, Emily Tarco, Rebecca Ramos Velasquez, Susan Wilky.