Poetry, Art and the Real You

Vicky Edmonds is a writer and an advocate for the power of poetry to bring our deepest truths to the surface of our lives. In 2003 she conducted a writing workshop during the afterschool program at Thorndyke Elementary School called Writes of Passage. Anthony Manago, a third grader at the time, wrote this poem from the prompt “If I was a work of art…”

If I was a work of art
I would be a picture of the wind
blowing fast.
The wind, sort of light blue,
really hard and strong.
I would be blowing away
from hatred,
blowing toward love.
When people see the picture
they would know
I was going the right direction
instead of the wrong one.

Now, ten years later, Anthony is a freshman on an athletic scholarship to Trinity Lutheran College and studying to be an athletic trainer. Though he hasn’t written another poem, he has excelled as a track and field athlete. His coach Matt Koenigs says “He’s been fantastic to have on the team–he brings a great work ethic and a wonderful attitude with him to practice every day.”

Isn’t it cool that a young boy who described himself as a picture of the wind is now actually running as fast as the wind? And it sounds like he is still moving in the right direction.

This prompt is a great tool, and you don’t have to be in a writing workshop to use it. The purpose is to understand and articulate something that has meaning in your life, so why not start your next staff meeting with a quick check-in question that asks, “If you were a work of art, what would you be?” and get to know each other a little better. Or plan ahead and have everyone draw a picture or cut out something that answers the question.