The Waldorf Book of Poetry Giveaway and a Chat with David Kennedy
**The posts I write might contain affiliate links or be written in collaboration with businesses or brands. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.**
The moment I saw The Waldorf Book of Poetry edited by David Kennedy, I knew “I needed” a copy of my very own. Totally captivating my imagination, I was easily inspired to start creating activities and crafts to go along with each themed verse. This engaging collection of poems is the heart felt gathering of David Kennedy. I asked David to sit down and chat with us awhile as I was so curious to know more about how this collection came into being.
Welcome David to this space and place of avid book lovers.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself, i.e. your family, and the life you share together, hobbies, being a Waldorf teacher.
I started teaching in the mid 80s. I was working as a stained glass artist and a real estate developer (how’s that for a combination!). My father offered to send me to the Rudolf Steiner Institute in Pennsylvania one summer and it was there that I discovered watercolor painting. I moved to Switzerland, studied painting, apprenticed as a natural pigment maker, met my lovely wife and my first son was born there. We headed off to England and I trained at Emerson College as a Waldorf teacher. After twenty years of classroom teaching, I took a leave to write and publish the Waldorf Book of Poetry.
2. How long have you loved poetry? Can you remember the first poem that spoke to you?
I’ve always loved rhyme and music. I’m a lifelong musician and poetry always seemed the perfect way to get into language. My childhood in Tennessee was filled with traditional children’s poetry, nursery rhymes and verses.
3. How has being a Waldorf teacher impacted the way you view poetry and the importance of it in your daily life? One of the greatest things that a teacher can give a child these days is to help her to think in “pictures.” It’s not an easy idea to wrap your head around at first. Thinking in pictures means using your imagination to create living pictures, not just dead concepts. Picture consciousness is the world and the playground of the poet.
4. What inspired the Waldorf Book of Poetry?
I wanted to create a book that any parent or teacher could use to share beautiful poetry with their children. A book that children could learn to love and grow up with. I had so many poetry collections that I collected over the years, some with only one or two poems in them that I used in the classroom. I lived and taught in the UK and the US, so I had exposure to a lot of poems that weren’t so well known in the US and vice versa. I always thought that someday I would publish a collection that would be a family and classroom treasure.
5. What can a child gain from learning poetry? How does it benefit them?
Good poetry in childhood is like good food, fresh air and the love of your friends and family. It can last a lifetime by helping children form a picture of the world that strengthens their imagination. Our language is rapidly changing and poetry helps children keep a connection to their birthright, a beautiful language created over countless generations that helps them express themselves and create their whole life through. Recitation is a great strengthener in childhood. Both the will and the memory are developed in a unique way through learning a poem “by heart.” Training the memory is something that today’s children need more than ever.
6. The poems you’ve chosen for this collection are really alive. They aren’t merely words on a page but immediately engage the reader. How did you go about choosing the poems in this book?
I used the Waldorf curriculum for grades one to eight as a guide. The curriculum is based on the development of consciousness of humanity and all the myriad expressions of that in art, literature and science. I think the reader senses the depth of the collection, as every poem builds on the one before it as our culture builds on what was before. I devoted a lot of energy to finding poems about modern history, the African American experience, the Native Americans, the human being in the Industrial Society, the dilemmas and the tremendous hopes of the Twentieth Century.
7. What are your hopes and dreams for this lovely book?
That every family and teacher has one!
8. What are you working on now and what books, if any are you planning for the future?
I am the Creative Director and Founder of www.waldorftoday.com and publish the Waldorf Today weekly newsletter with over 8,200 subscribers around the world. I’m working on a children’s picture book and a book on the arts in education, as well as fixing up the Tate House, our 140 year-old Victorian home and offices in southwest Wisconsin.
Thank you so much David for stopping by and sharing your journey in creating this incredible book. David has so generously donated a copy of The Waldorf Book of Poetry to give away to one lucky winner. All you need to do is leave a comment and like us on Facebook. For an extra bonus you can tweet about the giveaway once every day until the end. The giveaway runs from today January 6th through January 15th with the winner being announced on January 16th. Have a look here for more information about The Waldorf Book of Poetry.