For my elective class on Spoken Word Poetry small groups wrote poems based on Blues music. We studied blues formats, particularly early blues with the repeating first line. This is accessible to students since the repetition means they don’t have to write as much – just repeat the first line and you’re half ways toward a four line stanza. Also almost all middle school students have the blues about something in their life.
First we wrote a group poem. Several first lines were suggested before we settled on “Believe in me who believes in you”. And even though the phrase was appealing, we didn’t what it referred to.
So we constructed a back story. As a group we decided this was the rallying cry of the backup soccer goalie. They were in the championship game and the starter was knocked out. The complete Soccer Blues poem is below. After we finished our class poem, small groups composed their own Blues poems which are posted below also.
The Blues poems stand alone as poetry however the Blues started as a music form. I am extremely fortunate to know a talented Blues pianist, Hurricane Andrew Larsen. Andrew has helped me numerous times on music projects in the classroom. He took these poems and set them to music before performing a special classroom concert for the class. Imagine a classroom of students listening to their poems being performed as legitimate songs. Andrew is absolutely committed to the Blues and education.