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The amazing Emily Macrae

Emily Macrae is another one of our wonderfully creative Swallowing Clouds facilitators in training. Here’s a little bit about Emily and her experience of the program.

When not creating multilingual wordplay or documenting street art, Emily Macrae is pursuing a Masters of Urban Planning at the University of Toronto. Her research interests include arts events, accessibility and active transportation. You can read more about Emily’s views on all things urban and artistic on her blog:

Poetry Planets at Bloor Gladstone Library

Welcome aboard Flight 25042015.

Today’s flight will service six planets in the Swallowing Clouds solar system. Each planet was discovered by participants in the Swallowing Clouds program at the Bloor Gladstone Library between April 8th and April 25th. The children used movement, music, words and drawings to explore their planets and work on literacy skills.

Your ticket is a copy of Erin Robinsong’s poem “Lie Blurry.” Like you, Swallowing Clouds participants took the poem as their point of departure for an interplanetary adventure. They observed the shape of the poem, found patterns in the text and discussed word play. They read the poem at a whisper and shouted certain words to identify parts of speech such as nouns, verbs and adverbs.

The power of reading aloud is a crucial part of our voyage together. Before we take off, please note that this spaceship has no jet engines. Instead, the journey will be propelled by vocal energy. The flight crew will direct you how to create a canon of sound to achieve lift off. Have no fear, this is not an instrument of violence: by sharing our voices in a round we can raise the confidence of the spaceship high enough to catch a current of solar wind and drift towards our destination.

Our first stop will be the heart-shaped Nature Planet. Next, please refrain from deconstructing souvenirs on your visit to Lego Planet. As its name suggests, Gemstone Planet is covered in “awesome, glowable, shining, glittering” crystals. Cat Planet is a “cat-rich” and “tree-ful” place where felines enjoy “hunting, singing and eating” without the interference of humans. Similarly, Animal Planet is home to owls, foxes, squirrels and other creative creatures. Finally, visitors to The Mind Planet will have the opportunity to enjoy a ride on a “future limo” among cotton candy clouds. As you can see, each planet has been carefully catalogued by Swallowing Clouds participants, who used diamante poems to describe their discoveries.
After travelling to a distant solar system, you may experience some side effects upon returning to Earth. Swallowing Clouds participants report an uncontrollable urge to sing the 1980’s hit “I Want Candy.” Prolonged exposure to poetry also provokes creative thinking and opposites often become the basis of metaphors. For example, on Animal Planet “a tiger is grass” and on Gemstone Planet “the sun is a Printer 5000.” Finally, you may develop an interest in unconventional forms of transportation. Instead of walking or running, Swallowing Clouds participants prefer crawling like a cat, turning cartwheels and doing burpies,

Whatever happens, this trip is only the first step in a lifelong journey of literacy. Thank you for listening to these announcements. Enjoy your flight to Swallowing Clouds solar system and please remember not to stray too far from the Readership.

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