Germantown Academy Fourth Grade Teacher Julia Blumenreich 1760 has written a new poetry book entitled The What of Underfoot in which she explores, through striking painterly images, original forms, and direct address, the effect of grief, loss, world politics and the relationship of nature to our lives and the lives of children
"These poems were mostly written over the last two-and-a-half years," said Blumenreich, who recently read her poems to Upper School students in the Writing Center. "Many of them workshopped in the weekly Osage Poets' Workshop, which I've been a part of for a number of years."
As a writer, Blumenreich is passionate about teaching her students about the foundations of poetry.
"Being a poet informs my teaching in many ways," said Blumenreich. "First, my students sign-up to read poems to the class at our morning meetings. I teach them to do formal readings: they introduce themselves, state the name of the poetry book and author they're reading from, and the title of the poem.
"Second, I have my students involved in writing poetry throughout the year. I believe, and there is data to back this up, that writing poems is not only creatively uplifting, but also assists reluctant readers and writers to find their voice. I also believe that everyone, child to adult is a poet; it's just a matter of creating a safe environment and scaffolding the type of poem we're writing in order for the author in all of us to step forward.
"Third, being a published poet gives me agency in terms of editing. I can show my students a poem or portion of a poem I'm working on with all its scribbles and crossings out. I can share with them how I reach for the "perfect" word or image and how depending on overused words makes the writing less engaging.