After writing poems for a school project, 40 eighth-grade students at Chattanooga School for the Liberal Arts listened to local poet Mary Ellen Ciganovich talk about her life and poetry.
Reading from her book "Healing Words: Life Lessons to Inspire," Ciganovich told the group Thursday how she spent one weekend trip to Atlanta writing poem after poem to clear her mind and understand her life.
She wrote her first poem, "Anger," while in the car with her husband.
"I am angry / with you. / No, with myself. / I am projecting it at you / to save myself."
She said the writing helped her understand that the real reason she had problems with others was because she had problems with herself.
All of CSLA's eighth-graders spent the fall writing 10 poems based on a theme.
Grace Vander Werf wrote her poems on love and happiness, but her poems weren't like Ciganovich's. While Ciganovich's didn't rhyme or follow a specific meter, the students had to try a number of different poetry styles, writing haikus, limericks and rhyming poems.
"She was inspiring," Vander Werf said about Ciganovich. "[Her poems] were different. They were shorter."
Ciganovich was invited to speak to the students by her friend and neighbor Nancy Huston, a French and Spanish teacher at the school.