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Fremont kids learn the joy of poetry

January 18, 2008|By by mary o’keefe valley sun

Who knew poetry could be so funny?

Fremont Elementary School students giggled so much that many held their sides as poet/actor David Prather jumped around the stage reciting poetry from 100 years ago. The students didn’t seem to care that these poems had been around for a century; they were completely enthralled by the power of the words and the performance of the actor at the Jan. 11 assembly.

“The best way to enjoy poetry,” Prather told the student audience, “is to hear it out loud.”

Before each poem, he explained the setting, who the author was and the type of poetry. He also related poetry to rhyming and how the kids use it everyday, like the rhymes they say when jumping rope.

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At one point, Prather chose first grader Edan Bash to join him in demonstrating a poem by Lewis Carroll.

“Now you probably know Lewis Carroll. He wrote ‘Alice In Wonderland,’ but he also wrote poetry,” Prather said. “And this one is the ‘Jabberwocky.’”

Edan cautiously made his way to the front of the auditorium and looked at Prather with a wary eye. He was handed a prop sword.

“It is a vorpal sword,” he explained. The toy sword had wavy edges.

Prather then donned a hat, grabbed a cane and transformed into an old man.

“Beware the Jabberwocky, my son!” he began the poem.

In rapid fire, Prather pronounced the poem’s perplexing patter.

All the while Edan waited for his cue to save the day and defeat the Jabberwocky.

“One, two! One, two! And through and through. The vorpal blade went snicker-snack,” Prather cried.

The audience cheered as Edan, the hero, prevailed.

The assembly continued with the poetry of Carl Sandberg’s “Boxes and Bags.”

The students laughed and cheered, never realizing that they were learning to enjoy poetry in a new and unique way.

The poetry assembly was sponsored by the school’s PTA and was part of the Los Angeles Music Center’s educational outreach program.


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