Thursday, June 14, 2012

Guest Blog: Trail of Tears--A Concrete Poem by Katie (Grade 7)

This is an excellent concrete poem that a seventh grader from a pubic school in NJ wrote in response to a unit of study focusing on genocide. Katie's work came to me via her teacher, Rob Cohen (@rcohen54) and is published here with permission from the author and her mother. I was moved when I read it and thought it a fine example of transmediation: the mix in this case of word and image. 

I hope you will take a moment to post a response to Katie.

Katie's Introduction: Nature is a beautiful thing. This beauty is everywhere but it is always forgotten when a tragedy like genocide occurs. While creating a poem for a project on genocide, I wanted to highlight the scenery and the helpless creatures that witnessed the Trail of Tears, but had no understanding of the real actions being taken. The Native Americans also looked to the Spirits and found hope in animals and nature. I found that this was an important part of the genocide, even though it was not actually realized as that. It is an imperative for a culture to retain many of their traditions and lifestyles in spite of the hardships and tragedy of genocide.


  1. Katie, this is beautiful!

    As an activist and a poet, I've always wanted to write poems about unjustice and oppression. But mine never worked; they were flat. I had no ideas what I could say differently.

    You poem makes me think of one by Pablo Neruda. All I remember is 'Central America, Land slim as a whip.' (I searched online, and haven't found the rest.)

  2. That is amazing!

  3. This will be read by my high school students in the fall. I love the form and the words and the passion of the writer in every line. Thank you.

  4. This is Beautiful! Keep it up katie

  5. Katie--Your poem is very moving.
    Your emphasis on nature as a source of beauty, hope and refuge, which is described so well in your introduction, is lovely.
    Thanks for sharing your creative spirit!
    Kira Campo

  6. Katie- your poem is a reminder that everything is connected. Such depth -keep writing.
    Rody O'Rourke

  7. Katie - I love that your response to a context like genocide is so stubbornly innocent and beautiful. It seems impossible to find hope in a situation like this - but you have somehow managed to do it with the help of Mother Nature.

    I am reminded of Ray LaMontagne's song 'Winter Birds' - do you know it? This link features the song and the lyrics After reading your work, I am wondering about the context that he is writing in and what is unsaid.

    I am going to show your poem to my daughter, Sarah - I think she will love it. I also have a daughter, Katie - and I will show it to her too. But I hope that she is still too young to hear what is unsaid :)

    Thank you for sharing - and keep writing!


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