Stuck at home, a Hawaii poet takes to YouTube to inspire young artists

Updated: May. 1, 2020 at 4:37 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Poet and published author Laurel Nakanishi has produced a string of videos that teach poetry to children. She calls the clips “Writing With Auntie Laurel.”

"I find that kids write some of the most amazing poems," she said.

Nakanishi teaches poetry in public and charter schools. But since they’ve closed because of coronavirus, she produced her own online lessons.

[Want to try your hand at poetry? You can watch Nakanishi’s lessons clicking here.]

"It's really been a process of trial and error, trying to figure out how to put these videos together, what''s going to work best for the students," she said.

Using her cell phone, gentle teaching style and creativity, she put together 11 videos aimed at students stuck at home during the pandemic.

“That’s one of the reasons I wanted to make these poetry videos is to have an outlet for kids to express their emotions," she said.

“I think all of us as a community we’re dealing with a lot of heavy emotions, and kids are feeling that too.”

Her YouTube videos are simple and entertaining, and she has a faithful following of youngsters.

"They say that it's fun, which is exciting to have writing be fun. They also really love the craft element of it as well," she said.

Nakanishi did the videos with the support of the Pacific Writers’ Connection and the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts. They are aimed at children but they’re can easily be enjoyed by older audiences.

"This is a way to maybe re-enter into poetry and see that it's not as hard as you think," Nakanishi said.

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