“poetry is what kids are craving”

WHEN: sunday august 29th
WHERE: mill valley community center’s cascade Room, 2-4 pm
WHAT: the operation backpack fundraiser, an activity for the whole community (young & young-at-heart!) to gather up used backpacks and share some poem-making fun while easing into the writing groove after the long summer break
WHY: to collect backpacks and/or books that will be send to J. Jesus Mancilla Rodriguez Elementary School in Minatlan (a mining town in the mountains south of Puerto Vallarta in Colima, Mexico) & all proceeds from the sale of karen benke’s book “RIP THE PAGE! Adventures in Creative Writing” will go to fund poetry in schools & all sales of poetry store poems will go to the schools too

poetry & do-gooding! what a fantastic combo! and exactly what karen benke, 17 years and counting california poet in the schools, is after. i asked karen a few questions to get to the heart of poetry inside her & the heart of what she does.

Q: What does “poetry” mean to you? Shifting breath, silver expansiveness, maze-like imagination, permission to open to everyone and everything, doorless and windowless, the heart’s secret center…

Q: When did you know you were a poet? As a child I knew. Then I forgot for a while. Then in my early twenties, at college, after my heart broke and light flooded in, I remembered…

Q: Who is your favorite poet & tell us one thing you learned from them? My favorite poet is constantly changing. Right now, I’d have to say Pablo Neruda since his BOOK OF QUESTIONS is the book I keep returning to in order to learn more about risk and play in my writing. (There also a new YA book called The Dreamer by Pam Munox Ryan that uses magical realism and answerless questions to access the depths of the imagination, much the way Neruda does.)

Q: What is your favorite poem & why? The very first poem in the Book of Questions: I love this poem because of where my mind and heart travel when I read it. I love this poem because I never tire of reading it.

Why don’t the immense airplanes
fly around with their children?

Which yellow bird
fills its nest with lemon?

Why don’t they tain helicopters
to suck honey from the sunlight?

Where did the full moon leave
its sack of flour tonight?

–Pablo Neruda

Q: What do you hope is in store for the future of poetry? I hope poetry becomes a permanent part of every school day and is treated with the same importance as math and science. Creative literacy is lagging in the school system. Poetry is what kids are craving and hungering for–way more than junk food and screen games.

to learn more about karen, and her book “RIP THE PAGE! Adventures in Creative Writing” (shambala, 2010) visit her website at: www.karenbenke.com.

we hope to see you in mill valley!


2 Responses to ““poetry is what kids are craving””
  1. Nav says:

    Hi Silvi,
    I am so happy to hear you will be in Mill Valley!!! I lived there for 25 years and taught school there for 15…I am going to tell all my peeps, young and old to come down! I am bummed to be missing you in my home town, but alas, I will be out of town that day…But it’s so wonderful that you will be a part of this…YAY! and I will get to see you in action one of these days, I am sure!
    I am also trying to think of someone to buy a poem for, so my order will be coming your way soon! A fan from afar,

  2. Silvi says:

    hello nav,

    wonderful! i look forward to your order & to meeting your friends. thank you for inviting them the fundraising event!

    yours in poetry,

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