Festival of Books: Kids roll the word dice to create poetry

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While many L.A. Times Festival of Books attendees retreated to the shade to listen to readings at the Poetry Stage on Saturday afternoon, others, many of them children, were making their own poetry in a nearby booth hosted by Kaya Press.

“You can roll the dice to make poems,” Michelle Detorie of Eohippus Labs explained to one of the girls who was attracted to the craft table set up in the back of the booth. Detorie showed her dice with words on them and showed her how to play.


Detorie also explained how to make a “poem scape” by using small figurines to create a scene and then translating it into a poem.

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Kaya Press is an independent, not-for-profit publisher of Asian and Pacific Islander diasporic literature that recently relocated to USC. Being new to the campus and the community, Patricia Wakida of Kaya Press said the organization used its booth “to make as many friends as possible.” They invited many local independent publishers, including Eohippus Labs and Les Figues Press, to share their booth space in providing activities at the festival.

Kaya Press also asked them to provide pages of their publications to use in an activity where people can collect the pages they like and take them to the binding station in the back of the tent to make their own anthology. Other publishers represented include Boxcar Poetry Review, Dancing Girls Press, Siglio, Corollary Press and Sur + Press.

The booth’s Smokin’ Hot Indie Lit Lounge is “a space for people not just to buy literature, but where people can make literature” explained Detorie, as another young girl asked if she could use the typewriter setup for an activity.

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The literary activities in the booth also include a pinned-up Los Angeles literary road map, where people can pin see their homes’ proximity to many independent presses; a station to make poetry bracelets; and a station to make poetry paper airplanes.

The children who came by the booth tapped into their own creativity. One girl combined her poetry bracelet with the anthology binding. It seems Kaya won’t be short on new friends during the festival.


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