MEXICO — Robert Pottle turned what he called his short attention span into something positive when he became a poet.

On Monday, Pottle, a poet from Eastbrook in Hancock County, brought his sense of humor and knowledge of writing children’s poetry to youngsters at Meroby Elementary School.

“Poetry is a great fit for what I write. I like working on lots of ideas at the same time. That matches the way I write,” he told the third-graders who attended his “Giggle Poetry” presentation Monday afternoon.

Between Monday and Tuesday, each class in the school will have a chance to learn the tricks to writing poetry and to ask questions. On Monday night, parents also had a chance to listen to poetry and learn what their children are doing in school. Pottle also held a book-signing.

Pottle, a University of Maine at Farmington graduate who grew up in Eastport, taught first grade for many years before launching his poetry in the schools program.

Pottle said he had written more than 80 poems for what turned out to be 18 printed in “I’m Allergic To School.”

Third-grade teacher Kelly Lake said she liked the idea of trying many poems before the final ones are chosen.

“A lot of the time, (the pupils) think it has to be perfect the first time something is written,” she said.

She, along with many of the other teachers in the school, will lead classes on poetry writing. Chances are, they will also use a poetry lesson plan developed by Pottle who outlined a formula for writing children’s poetry.

Use alliteration, but not too much. Try rhyming every other line. Use a structure with a beginning, middle and end, sometimes. Use active verbs and end a poem with a punchline.

“Do as much as you can with the words you are using,” he said.

These, and many other hints, were outlined for youngsters and their teachers.

Third-grader Destiny Young liked listening to Pottle’s presentation, particularly when he spoke about his books.

“I write poems, about family and stuff,” she said.

Tylar Pickering, another third-grader, liked the different kinds of poems, some rhyme, all are funny.

Author/illustrator Cathryn Falwell will visit Rumford Elementary School on Wednesday and Thursday of this week, continuing Authors’ Week in the Rumford area schools. Both visits are made possible through a Literacy Through School Libraries federal grant.

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Children’s poet Robert Pottle brought his works and lessons in writing to Meroby Elementary School pupils Monday. He also held an evening event for parents and students, and will make another presentation at the school Tuesday.


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