CRESTVIEW — Now that the Cougars' appetites for poetry have been whetted, the Aviators are awaiting their opportunity to experience the genre.
Four Panhandle Poetry Guild members visited Northwood Arts and Science Academy Friday and shared their love of poetry with students.
At the beginning of each class, moderator Esther Hurwitz, a Crestview Public Library aide who organizes monthly poetry and music jams, asked the kids if they liked poetry.
Hunter Branch said he didn't care for it. But by the time he and classmates in Melissa Boyd's fourth grade composed a poem of their own, his viewpoint changed, Hurwitz said.
"He actually wrote me a letter and apologized," she said. "He wrote to say, 'Sorry if I hurt your feelings. Thank you for telling us about poetry. Now I like it more.' I'm really glad he wrote that."
Poets Bill Gent, Andrea Hefner and Rick Sanders joined Hurwitz at Northwood.
Hefner composed a poem about the school on the spot, while Sanders shared "Panhandle Hobo, 1959." Like Gent, he sat on the floor like students to read his poems at their level.
"Poetry should gently slap you upside the head when you spend too much time in front of the computer," Hurwitz said. "Poetry should burst in your mouth like a strawberry."
The students heard poems that rhyme and some that don't. Hurwitz prefers composing the latter. But as Hefner told the students, "There's no rules in poetry. The only rule is to sit down and try."
The poets will visit Antioch Elementary School Friday.