Sharing Our Poems
The publication of our second book, The Place Where Poetry Begins, was celebrated by a poetry reading at the Children's Department of the central Denver Public Library. This event was covered by Colorado Public Radio in an enjoyable segment by Zachary Barr. It aired on the program Colorado Matters.

Our books have been featured in televised reports by the multitalented Kyle Dyer of Channel 9NEWS. In her first report, four students visited the studio. Each read student and discussed his or her poem from Volume Three, The World Is Made Of Thoughts. Here's a photo of Kyle with the students.

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The next year, Kyle reported on Volume Four, Dreams and Directions. She also filed a written piece on the Channel 9NEWS website. Here's a photo from that second report, as well as the text report about her visit with our young poets from Gust Elementary.

DPS Elementary Kids: Published Poets
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DENVER - More than 300 Denver children are making a name for themselves with the release of Dreams and Directions The fourth edition of the district-wide poetry anthology features the works of kindergartners through fifth graders. By the end of the 2010 to 2011 school year, hundreds of blossoming bards and sonneteers submitted their works for consideration.

"Their poems come from over 50 schools as well as every neighborhood in our city," said Steven Replogle, primary editor of this and the previous three anthologies. "The result is a district-wide collaboration, unlike anything else offered in public education," said Replogle, who also teaches fourth grade at Bromwell Elementary.

His enthusiasm is great for the creativity that bursts out of Dreams and Directions. "We also encouraged poets to send in illustrations for their poems, and this was very successful. In each book, most of the poems are illustrated by their authors." Replogle is also proud of the poems written in Spanish. "We want our Spanish-language poems and their translations to faithfully represent the depth and beauty of the Spanish-American language and culture. “

On 9NEWS 7a.m., first graders from Gust Elementary read some of their Christmas-themed poems. Some older elementary students chose to write about much more complex topics like "The Greatest Pencil War Ever," "Some People Are Like Slinkies," and "It's Raining Gumballs."

On Wednesday night, there will be a reception at The Tattered Cover Historic LoDo store from 4:30 to 6:30pm. It will be part-poetry reading, part-publishing party. It is going to be an exceptional night for the young first graders from Gust Elementary. After the reception, they'll enjoy the Christmas decorations at The Oxford Hotel and then dine at the Cheesecake Factory, thanks in part to generous donations. It's a delightful read.

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Most recently, Kyle invited us back again for Volume Five, A Poem Knows. She interviewed three students from the Math and Science Leadership Academy and posted the following report.

Denver Kids Become Published Writers
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DENVER - Imagine the thrill of being recognized as a great poet in first grade, a sonnetist in second grade or perhaps a third grade bard with a byline. You get the idea. It is now the reality of elementary kids in Denver Public Schools.
For the past five years, Steve Replogle has accepted the writings and art work of K-5 students and published them. It's an idea that started with his own fourth-grade students at Bromwell Elementary. Replogle was eager to try it out on a city-wide level with the help of grant funded from DPS. Going through every entry, Replogle has learned that good poetry can be written at any age. "I've learned that a first grader is able to offer important lessons to a fourth grader, just as a fifth grader has much to share about kindergarten life."
The diversity of Denver is reflected in the newly published A Poem Knows, but the pieces fit well together and are connected through themes. "Through their writings, Denver students reveal how much they have in common," Replogle said. "They have become united in this book as a community of poets. What is life like for our elementary students and their families? What are their celebrations, their struggles, their dreams? A poem knows."
Every year, Replogle receives poems from children who have experienced loss. The words of then-third grader Evely Martinez really stood out to him.
My MomMom, I wrote your name in the clouds but the wind blew it awayI wrote your name in the sand but the ocean washed it awayI wrote your name on my test but the teacher took it awayI wrote your name on the snow and the sun melted it awayI wrote your name in my heart and forever it will stayWhen I go to heaven with you, nobody will take it away.Evely Martinez attends the Math and Science Leadership Academy but still makes the time to work on her writing. Orlando Villagrana, who also attends MSLA wrote a poem about a scratchy situation:
Chicken PoxItchy itchy chicken poxJust like a flea jumping on a dogScratch scratch around my bodyI wish I were not sickI wish I could stickthem on my sister's face just like stickers!Benjamin Medina decided to write a clever poem about his poem "disappearing."
I sat down to write a poem but wondered how to feed him.I tried to feed him letters but he made me erase the letters.So I introduced him to rhyme so now he'll listen to me in time!But then my dog ate my poem. Now I have to write my poem all over again!Replogle beams when he thinks of how proud these students are to see their words printed and to read them aloud from a book. "The series has published poems and artwork from 1,500 students. That's a lot of children! Once upon a time, they were happy to find themselves as published poets, applauded at our receptions and celebrated by their communities. Many of those students are now in high school and preparing to go to college. It may not be long until they begin to publish books of their own."


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