California Poets in the Schools

I’m going to end National Poetry Month with voices of children. California Poets in the Schools is just one of many organizations nationally that work hard to put working poets into classrooms to encourage the awareness of poetry as an art form and to give voices to children who are otherwise not offered poetry as a creative art. And, though there are others, in my book, CPitS is the only and the best. Full disclosure: I’ve been a poet/teacher with CPitS since 2001, and now serve as both the Area Coordinator for Santa Clara County and as a board member. I love this organization.

Annually CPitS produces an anthology of poetry from all across the state. These poems, from their Facebook page, is indicative of the delicate observation and emotional complexity that children are capable of.


In my mind, there is a sea full of words.
In patches of light green seaweed
words are like seahorses
swaying with the current.

I dive for words like
tuna, octopus, seabass
because they shimmer with color
in the blazing summer sun.

I clean these words and salt them
to preserve them so that later
I can add them to recipes and sentences.

Ethan A., 4th Grade, San Diego
Celia Sigmon, Poet Teacher
Chris Vasquez, Classroom Teacher


I never felt like
pouring my flesh
my soul
to hell.
At night
I hear gunshots
get up and run
out to the window
see the smoke. I think
they poured their flesh
to hell. I never hear
silence. Silence is like
an hour glass only
it’s stuck. My heart has
a wish bone in it and
it’s wishing for silence.
One night i got silence
and felt like a butterfly
in spring. The next night
I didn’t hear silence.
I was left in gun smoke, and
in confusion.

by Misty Brown-T, Grade 7, 1993, Oakland
Cassandra Sagan Bell, Poet-Teacher
from the collection *Unborn Dreams* published in the aftermath of the Los Angeles riots (after the Rodney King verdict.)

2014 is the 50th anniversary of our organization. Check out our website and join us: as a teacher, a student, a parent, a donor.
As this is also the closing post on the Cupertino Poetry Exchange for April 2014, I thank you for your attention. Keep writing and reading, keep wondering and asking, keep poetry alive in your life. And drop me a line once in a while!

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