I’ve been wanting to show you some of Ken Slesarik’s poetry kids and give you an update on Ken himself.
For one thing, Ken has no sense of humor. All of us at the original poetry workshop in 2011 worked with him and did our best, but the following report filed by Ken testifies that we utterly failed in help bring him along. For example, here’s a picture of us that he clearly photo shopped. The one of me is real but that is simply not Ken’s shirt.
But let Ken tell it.
As one of the first group of poets to attend David’s Poetry Workshop back in 2011 I was delighted to be asked to give a general update since that wonderful time In Honesdale, Pennsylvania. I remember well the cast of characters and the lush, beautiful setting. It reminded me so much of uncle Bill’s farm and the warm feeling I got when sitting down with mom and dad for a shot of gin before heading off to first grade.
WHAT I’VE BEEN UP TO
1. I started a poetry club called “Poetry Rocks” at Esperanza Music Academy in Phoenix, Arizona. We published an eBook and have some exciting things in store for this school year.
2. My work has appeared in THE POETRY FRIDAY ANTHOLOGY SERIES, DEAR TOMATO: AN INTERNATIONAL CROP OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURE POEMS (Coming Soon) an animal collection called CREATURES, CRITTERS, BEASTS AND VARMINTS as well as a few miscellaneous periodicals.
3. I visit as many schools as I can with my “Heroes and Poets” assembly program while still keeping my day job as a special education teacher. The basic message I hope to convey is that we can be strong, brave and kind as we face the world and each other. Walt Disney would have his animators step into a squared “magic box” marked with masking tape. I do a very powerful, modified version of that and children start to realize just how strong, brave and kind they really are. I’ll act silly, bring out a harmonica, and really bring it. Often I will call on shy and reserved kids to assist me in reciting poems and through a series of questions and by teaching them my “hero move” I turn those shy and reserved kids into rock stars.
My program builds to a crescendo and before I’m through every person in the room, from the most gifted to the most challenged is feeling strong, brave and kind. I proceed to expand on the idea beyond poetry to empower and challenge them to be their best before their next classroom test, sports game or when interacting with each other. http://kenslesarik.com/
4. Speaking to civic groups. Like many people public speaking was my biggest fear but I’m living proof if you work hard enough and read the right books good things can happen as I’ve been privileged to speak to groups about children’s poetry and the special education connection.
5. I joined a wonderful critique group (The Poet’s Garage) filled with crazy talented poets much more well rounded than I where I hope I’m contributing as a unique voice.
It truly has been the “Highlight” (pun intended) of my writing career to meet David and the gang. I consider David a friend and mentor and he is just as warm and genuine in person as he is on his blog. I have a confession from that time in Honesdale in the summer of 2011. With little sense of direction and in a mad rush to clean up and rejoin the main group I think I may have inadvertently entered the wrong cabin and used Carol Ann’s toothbrush. Yea, I’m sure of it. http://kenslesarik.com/